27 October 2015

Review: The Bible's Cutting Room Floor: The Holy Scriptures Missing from Your Bible (Joel Hoffman)

The Bible's Cutting Room Floor: The Holy Scriptures Missing from Your Bible The Bible's Cutting Room Floor: The Holy Scriptures Missing from Your Bible by Joel M. Hoffman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overall an interesting read, though with some issues. First, the title, while meant to engage and intrigue the reader, is kind of presenting a false assumption. He is assuming that most any biblical sounding writing should have been included in the "Holy Scriptures," regardless of its content or acceptance in culture and history. While he does not push that issue throughout the book, the implication is still there, and the book falls short of making the case for that implication.

Basically, the book examines a handful of extra-biblical historical writings, and how their inclusion in today's accepted biblical books would have added to the biblical narrative. His analysis of such writings as the Book of Adam and Eve, Apocalypse of Abraham, Book of Enoch, and writings of Josephus provided some interesting insights.

He didn't really discuss in any depth the reasons these books were rejected, but seems to just assume their contents to be historically and supernaturally accurate and therefore worthy to be consider biblical canon, so that was a let down. But his examination at least provided some insight into what these writings contain, which is beneficial for those not familiar with these writings.

I especially enjoyed the section on Josephus the most, as it provided information of a more historical aspect. Aside from that, much of the rest was hit or miss for me. While he didn't avoid or totally ignore the supernatural and God aspect, I felt throughout that he was often came across as if he was essentially ignoring God and the supernatural, and leaning more on a naturalist and human empowered approach to some conclusions.

In the end, I do not think he necessarily made a strong enough case for why these books definitely belong in the Bible, but Hoffman simply discusses what they bring to the table in adding to the story. I guess, based on the title, that I was expecting more of a defense for their inclusion, but that is not what we are given here.

I think what we do have is an interesting look into the contents of some of these extra-biblical writings, and how including them may impact today's understanding of some 0aspects of biblical theology.

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