Now I'm getting the chance to read books I didn't have time for before. Think of me whenever you see the slogan "So many books, so little time!" Now I've got the time.  Cheers, Fred.

Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World

Book Number: 
Date Fred Read: 
October 2018
Fred's Rating: 
John Shelby Spong
Total Pages: 
Harper One

John Shelby Spong, former Episcopal Bishop of Newark, has been a visiting lecturer at Harvard and at universities and churches throughout the world. A leading spokesperson for liberal Christianity for decades, this book is one of four of his books he mentions in his book Biblical Literalism. (To see his books I’ve read, click on his name.)

Here are the four books he mentioned in book Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy (book 758, 2017) with this important comment: “Some of my best books have been written in these twilight years of my life.” The other three are this book (778, 2011), Eternal Life: A New Vision – Beyond Theism, Beyond Heaven and Hell (book 693, 2009), and The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic (book 698, 2013). To these four, I add his earlier Here I Stand: My Struggle for a Christianity of Integrity, Love, and Equality (book 759, 2000), his autobiography. These five summarize well his active life in being a progressive Christian.

I bought the paperback edition but give here the website for the Kindle edition which has no gaps:

[None of the ISBN-10, ISBN-13, or ASIN numbers on Amazon’s websites for the three editions (Kindle, hardcover, or paperback) are recognized by Amazon, thus the ‘no image Circle' appears. I think this new change by Amazon is not good. However, you can see the images of this book's covers at the website above.]

I recommend reading the following in the Kindle website: the 4-pp Contents (12 Parts and 59 Chapters), the 8-pp Preface (last 2 pages are acknowledgments), and the 15-pp Part I – Setting the Stage: Posing the Problem. Then you’ll be primed for the remaining 58 chapters, most of which are only 4-7 pages long, making this book very hard for me to put down.

The home page has good reviews in the ‘Top customer reviews. Among these reviews I recommend the following, using the name the reviewer gave Amazon: Michael Elmore, Shaman, James D. Held, and Greg Smith. These reviewers rate this book at five stars. The 5-star review by Bob Pr. is quite long (if you click on ‘Read more.’)

I add here my comment that I found the brevity used here by John Shelby Spong to be remarkably great – he gives the time period of the Bible chapter in the context of the time period in which the chapter was written as well as the mindset of the author(s) and the reason the author(s) wrote what they did. To do so in only 4-7 (usually 5) pages is a remarkable skill that John Shelby Spong has. It results in an insightful and thought-provoking explanation of each chapter of the Bible. I have found this ability in very few other books that interpret, or try to explain, the books of the Bible. The other books about the whole Bible were not explained as well in their much longer chapters as John Shelby Spong has done here.

I rate this book at five stars, but add my comment ‘to think six stars.’