I received a number of cash gifts for Christmas a part of which I used to pay for another year of the Mystical Geek’s web presence. What remained was used to purchase two books which I consider to be
must-haves for professional teachers of religion: Biblica and the Harper Collins Study Bible (Students’ Edition).
“Biblica” is a huge reference book for Bible readers and enthusiasts. It bears the sub-title “Bible Atlas” but it is more than that. A Bible atlas is a book containing maps and articles on bible geography. “Biblica” however contains not only maps but other kinds of illustrations and articles intended for deepening one’s biblical culture. Articles are easy to read and the graphical data are well chosen. I used it for the article I wrote for Epiphany Sunday. Though I found that the article on Matthew 2:1-12 contained some errors in citation, still I think that these were not so serious as to detract from the general usefulness of the volume.
The Harper Collins Study Bible is not just another English translation of the Bible. Anyone who has used the Oxford edition of the Revised Standard Version with Deutero-canonicals will appreciate it. For one thing it uses the text of the NRSV which is claimed to be the most accurate English translation of the Bible. But even if one would not agree with such a claim, still one would find the notes, explanations and essays contained in this study edition informative. It is ecumenical in intent and contains not only the deutero-canonical books but also Apocryphal books that were included in the old Latin Vulgate. Annotations
are provided by the Society of Biblical Literature and subsidia are authored by the likes of John Barton (Strategies for Reading Scripture) and David Aune (The Graeco-Roman Context of the New Testament).
To those who gave me gifts this Christmas — you know who you are — thank you so much. You not only gave the Mystical Geek another year on the web, you also provided me with tools for my ongoing education on the Bible. Once more, thank you!
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