There was a Fox news reporter who was nicely highlighted on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart for saying that the movie Noah was completely untrue to the bible, because the story was so much grittier than she remembered from her illustrated kiddy bible back in Sunday school. So, clearly she’s an idiot, first for thinking a kid version of any piece of literature is going to be the same as the original, and second for admitting to that on national television. However, it was something of a reminder to me that I actually hadn’t read much more than a quote or two from the bible since high school, and have certainly never read the whole thing.
Given how many people base their opinions on what they think is or is not in that book, I figured I had better go ahead and read it. If I can read Atlas Shrugged, then I can certainly read the Bible.
Awesomely, there are multiple standard schedules for people who want to read the whole bible without bogging down too badly in the (gosh darned) “begat” sections.*
Anyway, after mulling over some of my options, I decided that I was going to read the English Standard Version** chronologically by events. And to keep me honest, I’m going to live blog the whole thing. I’m not actually planning on sticking to the schedule though (you shouldn’t have to put up with this for a whole year), but it will keep me going in the correct order and make sure I don’t fall behind the set schedule.
Anyway, I thus start my first post on reading the Bible:
Genesis 1 – 11
This section is both plot intensive and pretty familiar to me (from Sunday school some large number of years ago.)
It also covers a lot of ground extremely quickly. In Genesis 1 – 5, we’ve got creation, the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and a geneology that goes down to Noah. Then the writing slows down a bit, because Gensis 6 – 10 is Noah’s story.
What was rather stunning however, were the parts that I didn’t remember, and even more so the parts that I hadn’t really given much thought to before.
I’d never really thought about it before, but you know how the creationist theory is that we’re all descended from Adam and Eve? Well, according to this, we are more specifically all descended from Adam’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandkid Noah*** and Noah’s unnamed wife.
And each of those nine ancestors of Noah also fathered other sons and daughters, who went off to live their lives and start whole family trees of their own which were all apparently too corrupt to live because they all get wiped out in the flood and aren’t even named in the geneology, beyond the reference to “other sons and daughters.”
Anyway, what I hadn’t remembered at all, however, was Genesis 1:6-8, in which God created an expanse that divided the waters below the expanse from the waters above the expanse, and he called the expanse heaven. The rest of the creation story continues in the waters below the expanse. So, inquiring minds want to know: what happened with the waters above the heaven???
* The (gosh darned) “begat” sections are why I never managed to read the whole thing through before.
** Free on Kindle. And I was kind of stunned to discover, or rather, to fail to discover any free King James translations, which is my preferred version for excellent quotes.
*** Adam fathered Seth, who fathered Enosh, who fathered Kenan, who fathered Mahalalel, who fathered Jared, who fathered Enoch****, who fathered Methuselah, who fathered Lamech, who fathered Noah.
**** I really want to know more about Enoch. There’s really nothing about the rest of the characters beyond their names, but Enoch apparently walked with God and was so loved that rather than have him die, God just took him away directly. Just… what?
Job. Apparently the entire book of Job is set chronologically between Genesis 11 and 12. Curious.
I am way impressed that you are doing this! It feels like the sort of thing that one should do, and like something that will really help with literary references. But what a project! How long do you expect this to take?
The more I read it, the more I realize how different it is from what I remember as a kid. It’s quite the project, but I’m glad I’m doing it. I don’t really have a sense of how long it will take, though. Hopefully significantly less than a year.