Biblical Archaeology Review 41:5, September/October 2015

Strata: In Their Own Words

Although it is the best-selling book of all time, the Bible is not an easy read. In the introduction to his new book How the Bible Became Holy, Michael L. Satlow, Professor of Religious Studies and Judaic Studies at Brown University, describes his own confrontations with the Good Book.1 BAR readers may find comforting this short account from a now-great scholar.

The first time I tried to read the Bible I was thirteen. I had received a two-volume set of the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament, for my bar mitzvah, and it was the first Bible that my family possessed. The print was small and the English translation stiff, but I was excited to finally have the opportunity to read it. The first three and a half chapters, with their dramatic accounts of creation, sin, sex and murder, were great. That’s as far as I got. The mind-numbing list of names, of who begat whom, was jarring; it was simply too boring and weird. I put the book down and turned to other, more interesting pursuits.

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