As the title implies, I am looking to buy a study Bible. I used to have a copy of the Catholic Bible, but it was lost somewhere in the seventeen times that I have moved in the past few years. (I exaggerate, but still...I feel like a migratory bird sometimes.) I want something that has detailed sidenotes with historical references, preferably with wide margins for taking notes. Also, I am hoping for something off of Amazon because objective religious material does not exist in local bookstores.
your best bet is to go with The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries. these are scholarly works, one book per book of the bible at least but sometimes a commentary on one book of the bible is split into two parts. they are not inexpensive by any stretch but you might find them at big university libraries or on ebay
they cover the text line by line discussing current textual, form, literary, and redaction criticism as well as linguistics/translation notes plus notes on the dating of the text and authorship.
anything in the genre of "study bibles" will only offer study in the devotional sense and won't be helpful unless you're interested in what mainstream Christianity faithfully finds in the text as opposed to what scholars know it says according to the tools of their trade.
Hmm, I think that I may have understood what a "study bible" is. I am definitely looking for objective scholarly works, not faith-based interpretations. Thanks for the clarification; this explains why I was only getting "devotional manuals" when I would query "study bible," lol.
That Yale set looks great; I'll have to do some hunting on ebay.
I wonder what 'critically study bible' would turn up.
Well, with the exception of an out-of-print book (Programs of the Texas State Federation of Women's Clubs on the Old Bible: A study of Old Testament literature, critically and comparatively), it looks to be all devotional manuals, with a verse is Saul being used to match 'critically'. (and when the archers overtook him, they wounded him critically.) That and 'critically examining the claims of false apostles'.
Haha, I would love to get my hands on a copy of that out-of-print book; I would love to see what was considered to be studying scripture "critically and comparatively" in 1930s Texas. (I went searching on GoogleBooks hoping to find a copy uploaded, lol.)
Great recommendation! I just read a few reviews of it on Amazon. From a cursory glance it definitely seems to get at the historical references I was looking for, describing the social, economic, and political climate in which the Bible was written. Thanks! :)
if you'd like some more in depth, and certainly more recent (Asimov's books on the bible are good but, as Jeff said, they're somewhat dated), historical context stuff i'd recommend Shaye Cohen's The Beginnings of Jewishness and his From the Maccabees to the Mishnah, Sean Freyne's Galilee: From Alexander to Hadrian, and Emil Schurer's A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus, plus E.P. Sanders' Judaism: Practice and Belief.
these will help you to understand the socio-religio-political milieu in which the books of the bible were written, read, and interpreted. it is an egregious error to try to understand and interpret the books in the context of our modern cultural milieu. the books were written for contemporary readers, not for us.
also it's extremely helpful to understand what the authors understood about the nature of historiography and biography. it is an equal error to understand the intent of their writings, vis a vis historiography and biography, the way we do today; did they think they were writing an exact faithful recreation of events the way we view authors of history and biography today? NO! accordingly you should check out Michael Grant's Greek and Roman Historians: Information and Misinformation, Charles Fornara's The Nature of History in Ancient Greece and Rome, John Marincola's Authority and Tradition in Ancient Historiography, Averil Cameron's (ed.) History As Text: The Writing of Ancient Historiography, and Bruno Gentili & Giovanni Cerri's History and Biography in Ancient Thought.
Definitely! Thanks for all the recommendations. As merely a novice history buff, it was overwhelming for me to to sift through the pages upon pages of history books on Amazon. It is difficult to ascertain which books provide the most objective, scholarly historical approach. This list is perfect for me, thanks again. :D
I am reading an, um, "interesting" book at the moment; I picked it up on sale at my local Border's this fall. I was intrigued by the title alone, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization. From just a cursory glance at the back cover, I could already tell that it was going to be an incredibly slanted view of history. Nonetheless, I picked it up anyways because I wanted to see just how opinionated it truly was. I was not disappointed, lol. The entire book is a blatant promotion of Christianity; it belongs with the religious apologetics and not in the history section where I found it. The author is literally using the Bible as a historical reference, citing incidents in the Exodus as valid arguments for his point. I was under the impression that most historians agree that the Israelites never even went to Egypt as linguistical evidence does not support the claim. Either way, Esolen fails to use corroborating historical sources for his Biblical claims.
It's an amusing book, and I am sure that I could find many more inaccuracies if I were better schooled in history. Sometimes I even wonder if it is really just conservative satire, and I am falling prey to a giant Poe.
actually far more damning to any argument from Exodus is the fact that archaeology proves it never happened. there's not only no evidence that's ever been found for the existence of the patriarchs but also none for a slavery in Egypt, none for the exodus, none for a 40 year wandering in the desert, and none for the conquest of Canaan but there's plenty of evidence to the contrary.
archaeology's a whole 'nother ball of wax though! nevertheless, if you want a couple of recommendations for study in that area i'd be happy to oblige. just lemme know! :)