Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pocket Guide to the Bible: A Little Book About the Big Book by Jason Boyett

Boyett has written a series of religious yet humorous pocket guides about the Bible, the saints, the apocalypse, and the afterlife. I have several of them, and we'll get to another one shortly.

In this book, Boyett offers a Cliffs Notes of the most widely read book in history. He starts out with a glossary, a "cast of characters", and "what happens" in each book from Genesis to Revelation. Then he goes through the history of the creation and translation of the Bible, followed by a comparison of several passages in different translations. Finally, he runs through a bunch of lists such as "Seven Lesser-Known Bible Stories that Probably Shouldn't Be Told to Children" (which includes one of my personal favorites, the story about David giving King Saul 200 Philistine foreskins in order to marry the king's daughter—I pity the poor intern who had to verify the count!).

I couldn't find a nihil obstat anywhere, but the Pocket Guide is fun to read. Boyett incorporates jokes and sarcasm without crossing the line into irreverence. The chapters chronicling and comparing the translations drag on a bit though, even more so because I was reading this book aloud to my wife.

I suppose it says something terrible about me that I've read several books derived from the Bible over the past few years without reading the Bible itself.*

* As I've mentioned before, I did try to read the whole Bible once about 15 years ago, but I got bogged down somewhere in Isaiah. So most Christians would say I quit before I got to the important part. In my defense, reading the Bible isn't nearly as important to most Catholics as it is to Protestants.

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