Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bible!

Johnathan Goldstein, Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bible! (New York: Riverhead Books), 2009.

There is a long-standing tradition of telling stories using Biblical characters and adding details that are not included in the Biblical narrative. After all, many of the stories in the Bible are told for specific meanings and not for narrative content. There are a lot of things about Biblical characters that are unknown. We don't know the details of dialogue between specific characters. We don't know what kind of relationships they had with their parents. Goldstein tells very familiar Bible stories with lots of details added and lots of humor. This book is a very light read, but an entertaining way to think about some of the characters in the Bible.

In a way the strongest stories are at the beginning of the book. He tells only one story from the New Testament and that is his version of the birth narrative, which uses a very traditional interpretation of Luke's story. My hunch is that Goldstein isn't really a Greek Scholar and doesn't know much about the New Testament, but added the Jesus birth story to the book to increase its appeal to Christian readers. This might even have been a suggestion from an editor.

At any rate the book is fun and light and just enough to keep readers engaged.