General Assembly 2021
The key Bible stories are presented concisely without a religious pitch

Product Code: 5848
ISBN: 9780999156568
Format: Paperback / softback
Publisher: Kenneth E. Walsh
Pages: 226
Published Date: 02/17/2020
Availability:In stock
Price: $18.95

The key Bible stories are presented concisely without a religious pitch. The background, 32 key stories, themes, and universal life issues are described simply along with the evolution of humans, the impact of farming on religion, and topics such as travel, trade, slavery, concubines, law, government, taxes, weapons, warfare, tribute, and the culinary and cultural practices in the ancient Near East. The book covers what happened before the events in the Bible stories and what was happening in the nearby civilizations to provide a context for the stories.

With the United States, Canada, and Europe increasingly becoming a population of "Nones" (unchurched adults who identify with no religion), a growing number of people seek to understand the Biblical stories and their influence in Western culture without subjecting themselves to religious dogma. A 2015 Pew Research Center poll found 34% of millennials (those born after 1980) identified themselves as religious nones.

Bible illiteracy was recently underscored in a major, nationwide newspaper. Perhaps more, well-informed writers might avoid the embarrassment of the Wall Street Journal. On March 29, 2018 the Journal incorrectly quoted Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, saying Moses brought water from Iraq. He had actually noted that Moses brought water from a rock. Netanyahu was referring to the story of Moses striking a rock with his staff to draw water from a rock for the Israelites who were wandering in the Sinai Desert. Moses was nowhere near today's Iraq and never was. The published story had passed three staffers uncorrected.

The author taught the Old Testament for 14 years in a tuition-free, Jesuit, inner-city middle school for boys from low-income families. Typically, fewer than five percent of the students were Catholic; and, while most claimed to be Christian, fewer than half attended church. Some practiced no religion. Some attended a mosque. While he initially taught the Old Testament stories from a historical perspective so as not to offend anyone, he gradually added universal lessons. Upon hisretirement he decided to write a Bible stories book for all based on his classroom experience and additional research.

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"...invites readers to engage with some of the foundational texts of Judaism and Christianity. Clear, inviting narrative, with helpful background information and thoughtful processing questions, helps us enter the worlds of such well-known biblical figures as Abraham and Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon, and to understand why these stories have been shared for millennia." Gail Forsyth-Vail, retired Director of Lifespan Faith Engagement, Unitarian Universalist Association

"An absolutely absorbing, engagingly articulate, impressively informative, expertly written, organized and presented study... is unique and an extraordinarily 'reader friendly' in tone, commentary, and style." Midwest Book Review

"...even among the nonreligious, one must have basic biblical literacy to fully understand Western society. Biblical references...abound in Western literature, art, and music... The bulk of Walsh's work walks readers through the major stories of the Old Testament in a straightforward, non-dogmatic way while providing brief historical and literary commentary for context. He also highlights important concepts and themes that run throughout the Old Testament that could be easily overlooked by those new to the Bible." Kirkus Reviews

"...presents all that it promises with unusual clarity and rich but not overwhelming context. The straightforward descriptions, thoughtful questions, and helpful panoramic views of human life in these regions and times should prove of great value to educators and facilitators, as well as anyone seeking intellectual support in their journeys of faith." Tara Hart, Ph.D.; Professor and Chair of Humanities; Howard Community College, Columbia, MD

"...richly informative text, aided by insights, notes, commentary and chapter references, aimed at helping believers and non-believers alike learn more fully about the Bible and its significant impact on our Western culture. It truly is a work worthy of engaging those who want to explore the place and influence of the Old Testament stories on the world we live in." Rev. Bill Watters, SJ, founder and past president of St. Ignatius Loyola Academy and Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Baltimore, MD

"Allusions to Bible stories are ubiquitous in our American culture, and yet many of us are ignorant of the stories themselves. Walsh's dogma-free book is a welcome introduction to these time-tested stories that are relevant to persons of any faith or of none!" Rev. Paige Getty, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, MD

"What a great, accessible resource for parents, students, and culturally curious adults alike, a most readable introduction to Old Testament stories, which continue to be a font of Western literature, culture, and values! ...filled with biblical excerpts, thoughtful notes, maps, and questions for reflection. Ken's Bible Stories is an indispensable reference for anyone curious about the Bible." Jeff Sindler, Head of School, Burgundy Farm Country Day School, Alexandria, VA

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