Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Month 2 - Exodus

This month's Through the Bible in Five and a Half Years is looking at Exodus. The session is actually going to run twice with the first presentation Monday 30th April being repeated on Wednesday 2nd May. Both will take place at at 5 Meadow Lane and start at 7:30pm.

In addition to the book of Exodus itself and the general recommended reading (see side panel), here are a few resources you might like to check out:

There are numerous commentaries on Exodus, but one book that really challenged my thinking was Jonathan Kirsch's Moses: A Life. Tyler Williams' Codex site lots of useful information about commentaries on Exodus.

Last month I mentioned the Bible Dudes website, and it's relevant once again. Bible Dudes is a fantastic site, funny and light-hearted, whilst giving a solid introduction to certain aspects of the bible. The Biblical Studies pages will be particularly relevant for "Through the Bible in Five and a Half Years". Picture Bill and Ted doing Biblical Studies rather than basic history, and then imagine someone parodying that but making the information reliable and informative and you're about there. Easily the most interesting and readable introduction ever crafted.

In terms of film resources, there are a number on the subject that are worth getting hold of. The classic is Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 classic The Ten Commandments starring Charlton Heston. At least half of it is pure fiction, but, strangely, it still informs how most of us think about these stories even if we haven't seen it. There's an amusing film at YouTube which turns footage from this film into a spoof trailer for a high school drama - Ten Things I Hate About Commandments.

The story has also been revisited three times in the last decade or so. The Bible collection kicked it all off in 1996 in Moses starring Ben Kingsley. Two years later Dreamworks released the animated The Prince of Egypt, and then last year a US TV mini-series was released also called The Ten Commandments. For an alternative approach, each of Kieslowski's ten Dekalog films deals with a different one of the commandments. There are two articles about Moses in film at the Journal of Religion and Film.

Monday, 23 April 2007

Recommended Reading - Print.

I've finally put some recommended books in the sidebar, so I thought I'd add a few notes on them.

Books for the Whole Course

How to Read the Bible Book by Book - Fee and Stuart
Takes a chapter on each book, giving a brief overview, tips on interpretation and a guide to each section. As such it's more of a reference work than anything else, but a very useful way to get familiar with the different books in the bible.

The Language and Imagery of the Bible - Caird
Probably the most difficult book on the list, but one of the best I've read, and very influential on me personally. As the title suggests it looks at how the bible uses language, rather than trying to tell you what it is saying.

How to Read the Bible For All it's Worth - Fee and Stuart
The popular and original book by Fee and Stuart looking at how to interpret the different writing styles we find in scripture. Some find it a bit of a slog, but it's well written and very persuasive.

Books for the Old Testament

Genesis to Jesus
- Burke
The easiest to read book on the list, but brilliant at giving an overview of the story of the Old Testament and fitting it all together. If what happens between Moses and David, and then David and Jesus is a blur this is the book for you.

A Critical Introduction to the Old Testament - Anderson
There are numerous introductions to the Old Testament, but I've always found this a useful single volume covering the kind of material you would find in the introduction to an individual commentary.

Introducing the Old Testament - John Drane
Another good introduction to the Old Testament. Drane's book is one of the most popular, no doubt due to it's objective style. Cutting back on some of his lecturing to pioneer evangelism to spiritual seekers.

I'll cover online resources at a later date.