Jewish Journal

Putting the Bible’s stories, not books, in order

by Brad A. Greenberg

September 3, 2008 | 10:39 am

When did bloggers—the proverbial man on the cyberstreet—become expert sources that an entire story can hinge one? Case in point is this article from the Christian Post that discusses a new chronological bible coming out next month. The story begins:

A new Bible that arranges Scripture according to when the events occurred – as opposed to when it was written – has re-opened debate in the Christian blogosphere over whether chronological ordering leads to clarity or confusion.

Bible publishing giant Thomas Nelson is set to debut the Chronological Study Bible next month, marketing the book as the “only study Bible that presents the text of the New King James Version in chronological order”.

In the edition, well-known books in the Bible like the Gospels, Psalms and the Epistles of Apostle Paul are chopped up and re-woven with other texts to fit the historical timeline.

Yes, the phrase Christian blogosphere actually appears in the first sentence. It is later complimented by this marvelous transition to controversy:

But some Christians see a dead end to this journey.

“It bothers me when bad historical criticism trumps narrative structure,” writes one blogger by the name of Drew. “It’s primarily a set of theological texts that have historical significance, not a set of historical texts that have theological significance.”

Since it apparently matters what bloggers think, and I am a blogger, I’d be fascinated to read this new Bible version. On my bookshelves, I already have “The Narrated Bible,” which places the book, though not the stories themselves, in chronological order. Sure, this won’t be the traditional canon Christians are familiar with—and let’s remember, there are three different “traditional” Christian Bibles—but it will offer a beneficial additional perspective, like the Skycam at football games: You rarely are shown footage from this behind the quarterback angle, but when it is used, it reveals something new.

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Since launching the blog in 2007, I’ve referred to myself as “a God-fearing Christian with devilishly good Jewish looks.” The description, I’d say, is an accurate one,...

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