Jewish Fundamentalism

Column by Bishop John Shelby Spong on 21 September 2005 0 Comments
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I attended all of your lectures when you were here in
Birmingham back in March of 2004. I've also read all of your
books. In your lectures and your books, you state how
important daily Bible study is to you. In one of your
lectures you stated that you begin the day with Bible
readings/study and have set "course" to read the entire Bible
with the Apocrypha over a fixed period of time, somewhere in
the 12-18 month range, if I remember correctly. What I
wonder is have you ever considered writing a Bible study book
for liberal/progressive Christians so we could accomplish the
same? I'm thinking of something much deeper than a daily
outline. Something that would include notes and musings from
you on the history behind the day's passages, translation
issues, questions to ponder/answer, etc. The goal here is
for you to provide a format that liberal/progressive
Christians could read the entire Bible with the Apocrypha in
a fixed period and really study what we're reading along the
way. This would be quite a daunting task but many would
welcome such a volume.


Thank you for your letter and for your confidence in my
abilities. The work you describe may be of value but I do
not believe it is a task that I should or would undertake.
Bible study is in some ways like modern medicine. No one can
be an expert on all of it. Just as you have a cardiologist
to deal with heart issues, urologists to deal with the
waterworks of the human body and gastroenterologists to deal
with the entire digestive system, so in Biblical studies you
have Torah scholars, scholars on the prophets, synoptic
(Mark, Matthew and Luke) scholars, Johanine scholars, Pauline
scholars, and early Christian history scholars, just to name
a few. These are people who invest a lifetime in one part of
the whole of biblical literature. That is why there is no
such thing as a competent one-volume biblical commentary. We
do have resources like the Rev. Henry Cook who has done a CD
on the assigned Bible gospel readings for the year in the
common liturgical calendar and offers a very exciting,
insightful, well-informed and scholarly commentary on them
week by week. If you would be interested in that it can be
obtained by writing: Church Publishing Co., 445 Fifth Avenue,
New York, NY 10016. Their website is I do know that Harry is highly
competent and it is a start in the direction you are seeking.

My best,

John Shelby Spong

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