The Hebrew Bible and historical novels of that period.

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.
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DennisK
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The Hebrew Bible and historical novels of that period.

Post by DennisK » 11 Nov 2017, 14:21

I've never read the Bible from cover to cover. My only exposure has been in bits and pieces recited by people attempting to substantiate an opinion or to make a point. To remedy this hole in my faith, I started out with Genesis, and by the time I progressed to the book of Psalms, I had to admit that I really wasn't getting much from this effort. I was starting to glaze over each progressive passage. I think the people in this book just didn't seem real to me – just names and whether or not they followed the laws with which Moses descended Mount Sinai. What were these people thinking? Why did they make the decisions that they made? I am looking for something the Bible doesn't address.

I remember reading Michener's The Source which dealt with that biblical period, but that reading was a few decades ago. I couldn't remember much about it, so I loaded it into my reader and that progressed through the consumption of, so far, thirteen other historical novels. I understand that the Bible is a chronicle, yet I am studying it through the lens of fictional writers. This may seem counterproductive as far as any search for “truth”, but I feel that I am gaining quite a bit using this approach. Historical novelists research the history of their period and then postulate what their characters may have experienced. I find that many of these writers impose their own modern sensitivities on the characters of ancient times which I don't think captures an accurate picture of the period's environment, but despite those obvious flaws, the writer breaths life into those characters and they become more real to me; I can empathize with them. I can construct my own sense of motive. Once I gain a bond with the characters of that time, I would like to return to the Bible's beginning and see if I can gain a greater depth of understanding. I do now realize that my reading of the Bible isn't an attempt to understand the center of all things: the truth, the reality, the Higgs boson – God. My motive is to better understand who, or even what, we human beings are.

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Post by Frenjie » 27 Dec 2017, 21:49

Having been taught in school and at church that the Holy Bible is the source of all knowledge and wisdom in world, I have attempted reading it in full when I was still a student. I can't recall though which particular book I've reached but definitely, I did not finish the Old Testament. Unfortunately, for some reasons, I was not able to continue my reading. After reading your post, I'm glad you've found your own sense of motive in understanding the Bible through those historical events' characters. I hope to find mine too.
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Post by DennisK » 28 Dec 2017, 12:28

Thanks for your response to this post, Frenjie. I wish you well while on your own personal journey.
What motivated me to make this effort, was the recent Al Qaeda/Isis events which resulted in so many innocent deaths. What motivates us humans to such madness; all in the name of some theological view? God is used as a pretext for some other reason, I suspect. For me, it all seems like recent events, but in truth, this sort of thing has been going on since recorded history – beyond even that. But this is leading into areas beyond the scope of this forum.
I have been reading a lot of Lynn Austin's works covering the period between the Jewish fist king, Saul, to the resurrection of Jerusalem after the second exodus from Babylon. She is a prolific writer and a pretty good story teller. I count more than 40 kings and about 10 profits who's stories I would like to know before returning to the Bible which I intend to start, once more, from Genesis. I would have liked to read about these characters in a chronological order, but my discovery of these books do not allow that. I'll just read all that I can and then review them in their proper order.

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Post by Tbunde5 » 17 May 2018, 22:00

The Old TestMent is difficult to read in order for anyone, even those of us who have spent years studying it. I recommend reading The Story by Max Lucado and Randy Frazee. It is an excellent chronological summary of the entire Bible. Many OT books are out of order in the Bible or are repetitive (Kings and Chronicles are the same history from two different perspectives). I find it easier to set aside the poetry (Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon) and focus on the history. Hope this helps.

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Post by DennisK » 18 May 2018, 00:20

Tbunde5 wrote:
17 May 2018, 22:00
The Old TestMent is difficult to read in order for anyone, even those of us who have spent years studying it. I recommend reading The Story by Max Lucado and Randy Frazee. It is an excellent chronological summary of the entire Bible. Many OT books are out of order in the Bible or are repetitive (Kings and Chronicles are the same history from two different perspectives). I find it easier to set aside the poetry (Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon) and focus on the history. Hope this helps.
Thanks for the recommendation, Tbunde5. Like you, I am more interested in the Bible from a historical perspective. I am looking forward to progressing to the second testament, but first, I need a solid grasp of the first.

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