Be Your Own Bible Scholar

All you have to do is think like a Bible character.

BY: Interview by Laura Sheahen


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So you're saying contemporary Bible scholars are either not paying enough attention or not giving the author enough credit.

Right. I think both of those things.

What advice do you have for Americans who are not scholars, and won't be learning Hebrew any time soon, but want to understand the Bible?

My advice is to choose your translation very carefully. I prefer the King James Version.

You're going to be very popular with some Beliefnet members.

And unpopular with others (laughs). The Jewish Publication Society came out fairly recently (1985) with a new version that gets rid of all the repetition, and I don't like it at all. But the old JPS version, which was printed in 1917, is almost exactly like the KJV. It's not 100% perfect, but so much better than any other. Every translation is an interpretation, but this one doesn't overinterpret the Bible. My book talks about the supposed rape of Tamar--that story has been very poorly translated.

Anything else Bible readers should keep in mind?

Read slowly. Really slowly. It's hard to notice what's


there if you're zipping through. If you read slowly, over and over, you notice little tiny changes. Different things pop out at you. It's like reading a poem: the most possible meaning in the fewest possible words. Every word is packed and important.

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