Thursday, November 6, 2014

History Corner/ Book Review: The Bible's Cutting Room Floor by Joel M. Hoffman

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this ebook, free of charge, from St Martin's Press vie netgalley, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it

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Dad was really interested in this one and this is his review!

The Bible's Cutting Room Floor  cover


The Bible you usually read is not the complete story. Some holy writings were left out for political or theological reasons, others simply because of the physical restrictions of ancient bookmaking technology. At times, the compilers of the Bible skipped information that they assumed everyone knew. Some passages were even omitted by accident.

In The Bible’s Cutting Room Floor, acclaimed author and translator Dr. Joel M. Hoffman gives us the stories and other texts that didn’t make it into the Bible even though they offer penetrating insight into the Bible and its teachings.

The Book of Genesis tells us about Adam and Eve’s time in the Garden of Eden, but not their saga after they get kicked out or the lessons they have for us about good and evil. The Bible introduces us to Abraham, but it doesn’t include the troubling story of his early life, which explains how he came to reject idolatry to become the father of monotheism. And while there are only 150 Psalms in today’s Bible, there used to be many more.

Dr. Hoffman deftly brings these and other ancient scriptural texts to life, exploring how they offer new answers to some of the most fundamental and universal questions people ask about their lives. An impressive blend of history, linguistics, and religious scholarship, The Bible’s Cutting Room Floor reveals what’s missing from your Bible, who left it out, and why it is so important.


having done much bible history study I was aware of how much was actually left OUT of what we see as the modern bible. Hoffman does a great job in sharing the history of the Christian world and how the stories from the bible were originally written and spread around the greater region, and later onto the world. How the 'modern historians' of the time like Joshepuhus, may not have had all knowledge at their finegrtips, and what they got wrong (later proven by manusript discoveries). If you have never delved into the Dead Sea Scrolls or the Nag Hammadi scrolls, then the first part of this book will be very interesting to you! The author does a wonderful job in breaking down the core readings and topics of all the scrolls and writings for the reader. You don't need to do additional research to have a firm understanding of what was left out of the modern bible.

Hoffman then explains how the Greek translation (the Septuagint) may have erred in many of it's translations of the incredibly hard Aramaic original texts. And how this then lead to problems with the Vulgate and King James versions later. He helps to explain what was left out of the modern bible and why. This is the section most readers will want to delve into first, but you should read the first part of the book, to understand the history of the region and how that helped to affect how the modern bible was laid out. There are 3 chapters that deal with what was actually missing- The Life of Adam and Eve, The Apocalypse of Abraham, and The Book of Enoch. It is that last chapter that was the most interesting to me. with it's different look at the end of times. 

The author ends the book with the readings you need to fill out what the bible should excompass. Many of the recommended readings I had read, I he has included some very good resources. If you, or someone you know, is really into understanding the bible and it's history, they will love reading this book! 

About the Author:

JOEL M. HOFFMAN, Ph.D., is the author of In the Beginning and And God Said. He is the chief translator for the series My People’s Prayer Book (winner of the National Jewish Book Award) and for My People’s Passover Haggadah. He is an occasional contributor to The Jerusalem Postand The Huffington Post and has held faculty appointments at Brandeis University and at Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion. He lives in New York.

1 comment:

  1. This sound like a great book to read that could broaden your understanding of the Bible.


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