Edited reading list

In the right sidebar (you can’t see it if you click directly on a post, but it’s visible when looking at the blog as a whole, I’ve no idea why), I’ve begun to list the books we’re reading together, or that I’m reading myself.

Just finished previewing Song of Abraham by Ellen Gunderson Traylor, which is on our Gileskirk reading list. In some ways it’s a great read, filled with word-pictures of the Middle Eastern landscape as it would have been seen by one walking the long miles, and sprinkled with snippets about ancient cultures that put the reader into the picture.

Actually, that’s one of the problems with the book. Though carefully and sensitively written, it brings the depravities of the cultures too much to life for those who have not become seared, hardened, and calloused by watching much of modern television and movies. Yes, our students have an intellectual understanding of the evils of men — sometimes a little more than intellectual, hearing details on the news, but they haven’t seen a lot of graphic violence played out in front of their eyes, and so they still have the capacity to be disturbed by it.

I also have a problem with novelizations of Biblical events. Of necessity, the author is putting words in the mouths of historical figures, thoughts in their heads that they might or might not have entertained. Sometimes, as in this book, it seems a bit of a stretch to me. Yes, it might make for a more entertaining story, or a way to ratchet up the conflict and tension, but… not sure “the Bible as entertainment” is quite the way I want to go. If it helps me get a clearer picture of the times and culture, yes, but if it puts words and thoughts in the mouths of people of the Bible that aren’t in the Original, that are only speculations, and debatable speculations at that, it gives me pause.

Anyhow, Song of Abraham was a riveting read, seemed to be plausible for the most part, but it won’t be something I’ll recommend to our girls until they’re older.


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