Regular visitors to this blog will remember that during Lent we made our way through the Gospel of Mark. Well, Slate is going us one better with a new feature called Blogging the Bible: What happens when an ignoramus reads the Good Book.
The author, David Plotz, writes:
"My goal is pretty simple. I want to find out what happens when an ignorant person actually reads the book on which his religion is based. I think I'm in the same position as many other lazy but faithful people (Christians, Jews, Moslems, Hindus). I love Judaism; I love (most of) the lessons it has taught me about how to live in the world; and yet I realized I am fundamentally ignorant about its foundation, its essential document. So, what will happen if I approach my Bible empty, unmediated by teachers or rabbis or parents? What will delight and horrify me? How will the Bible relate to the religion I practice, and the lessons I thought I learned in synagogue and Hebrew School?
I'll spend the next few weeks (or months) finding out. I'll begin with "in the beginning" and see how far I get. My wife, struck by my new Biblical obsession, gave me a wonderful Torah translation and commentary for Hannukah, the Etz Hayim, which was prepared by conservative Jewish scholars. I'll read that and dip into the King James and other translations on occasion. (But I'll avoid most commentary, since the whole point is to read the Bible fresh.) I'm sure I'll repeat obvious points made by thousands of Biblical commentators before; I'll misunderstand some passages and distort others—hey, that'll be part of the fun. I hope you'll tell me how I've screwed up by e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org."
I encourage you to join in the conversation if you are so moved.