Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New Thrills in the Bible

The Sunday School class I lead is currently reading through the Apocrypha. We had all heard of the collection of writings found in some Bibles; however, none of us had ever read them. So far we have covered the first two books and I am enthralled!

My greatest thrill so far has been in talking to seminary graduates who have never read the Apocrypha. Universally, they have responded, "Oh, yeah. I've heard of that." And yet in all their studies of Old Testament, New Testament, and Bible History, they know nothing more than that it exists.

And what a shame.

Two books down and the writing has captivated me with Hebrew storytelling and the culture of their pre-Roman world. The first two books are now known to be religious fictions written to preserve Jewish history and theology to the Diaspora following the fall of Israel. The foundations of Jewish faith are so well represented in the stories, there can be no doubt about what the Jews in that time found central in God's expectations for them.

I am excited about the next months as we examine purged verses and chapters as well as additional history in these "hidden" books.
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