My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Review: Godbreathed: What It Really Means for the Bible to be Divinely Inspired

Godbreathed: What It Really Means for the Bible to be Divinely Inspired Godbreathed: What It Really Means for the Bible to be Divinely Inspired by Zack Hunt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The principle concept presented by Godbreathed is the idea that the literal interpretation of the Bible, largely attributed to fundamentalists, has been toxic to the christian faith and the author is calling for a return to complex and rich exegesis that mines the spiritual truth of the stories that doesn’t depend on the inerrant historical facts there in. This is pitched as a return to Hebrew scriptural tradition … presumable something like a midrash … and may make the Protestant doctrine of Sola Scriptura problematic. If the reader subscribes to a tradition that mandates a literal reading of an inerrant Holy Bible, this book is not for you and is unlikely to change your mind. However, if the reading is struggling with resolving all of the apparent discrepancies and contradictions that a literal interpretation creates, this book provides some cover for the idea that such is actually okay and perhaps even intentional.

The first chapter advances that idea of treating the Bible and God as interchangeable (bible idolatry) and why that is dangerous to the inspired interpretation that comes from “wrestling” with the scripture. The next chapter covers how and when the Bible actually became canon and points to the fact that tradition actually came first. While there was an interesting hint about the conflation of masoretic disciple and the Christian belief of inerrancy, but I think much of that was poorly supported. That said, I thought the problem of using prooftext to weaponize scripture and such being counter productive was a solid observation in the next chapter. Chapter 4 highlights some of the common objections to literal exegesis and how such became the norm (faith vs science). While the title for chapter 5 was wierdly provocative, it also covers the unfortunately need for certitude that warps a lot of biblical interpretation (instead of allowing for the possibility of admitting that we don’t know). Finally the last three (3) chapters harken back to two early church fathers (Origen and Augustine) to examine their approach to scripture to eventually come up with a simple heuristic for Biblical interpretation … if your interpretation doesn’t not end with love … you got it wrong. Ultimately that is a sentiment I can get behind.

A Word About Words
1. Stop Worshiping This Book!
2. Richard Kiley Wrote The Bible
3. Born Again On The Boardwalk
4. Icarus
5. Cussin’ For Jesus
6. What If The Bible Is Wrong
7. The Bull Stamp
8. Can These Bones Live?

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#Godbreathed #NetGalley

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.