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Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism: A Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of Scripture

de John Shelby Spong

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By popular demand--study guides to two of Bishop John Shelby Spong's bestselling and controversial works, including questions, reflections, and summaries for group and individual use.
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A bit confusing as to what exactly the bishop DOES believe! After I read this, I wasn't sure why the bishop was even a bishop. ( )
  Chica3000 | Dec 11, 2020 |
Dreadful stuff. I don't even know where to start on how this book has very little to do with good biblical scholarship and more to do with Spong's self-promoting agenda to sell books and hawk the emaciated corpse of "liberal Christianity." Glad I read this as a new Christian almost two decades ago and moved on to many more decent books on the subject. ( )
  gthurman | Jul 12, 2020 |
Reprinted 1992. Do Quakers need to take part in the battle between the Liberal and Conservative mainstream church? Quakerism encompasses many views of Christ.
  PAFM | Oct 19, 2019 |
John Selby Spong was the Episcopal Bishop of Newark before retiring to an academic career. He has written many popular books. His writing is authoritative and very clear. He tells it like it is..
For those of us brought up in a Christian atmosphere this book is refreshing in that it casts new light upon lots of myths/stories in the Old and the New Testaments - based on research of when, why and by whom the books were written.
The Bible is a mish-mash of writing from a variety of people, writers who often had an agenda and pursued their agenda through their writing.
Thus I learnt that
- the order of the books seems arbitrary and was not at all chronological
- King David is depicted as a key figure in Jewish history, a very successful military man who could play the harp, wrote psalms and was keen to do God's will. However, given that very few people were literate, stories about David and most other characters were hardly accurate and probably written to document the continuity of Jewish history. (I was interested in this because I was fresh from reading "the Secret Chord" by Geraldine Brookes, about the life of David - she borrows very heavily from the Bible)
- I noticed that there are parts of Kings and Chronicles that report exactly the same events.
In the New Testament,
- the writings of Paul precede the Gospels, and Paul doesn't mention many of the details about Jesus life, eg the Virgin birth, the parables, the miracles, the crucifixion or the resurrection. Why? We have very little evidence that they happened at all.
- these details in the Gospels were written more than 40 years after Jesus death and many of the stories of his life appear to have been borrowed from the Old Testament and kept alive within the synagogue all that time, before Christianity had a separate existence.
So I was surprised - again - to read of the lack of evidence for the Christian stories which I and many others were told as children and which are kept alive in the churches today.
The Quakers' emphasis on experience is more valuable to me than reliance on this story. However for me the Bible is an important source of inspiration and reassurance. It has much to say about hope and love, dealing with loss and desolation, speaking directly to God, compassion and community.
This book by Spong is full of interesting perspectives on the books of the Bible. He writes so well and I recommend that you at least dip into it.

Bruce Henry, VRM (Australia)
1 vote VicRML | Jul 20, 2016 |
Spong was the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark. A liberal thinker, he believes that right-wing fundamentalists have hijacked the Bible, and Christianity in general. This book, like his others, tries to enlighten the reader about the true history of the Bible and how to read it as it was meant to be read. Anon, 2007.
1 vote DevizesQuakers | Nov 22, 2015 |
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