Reading holy books for fun

  1. Greg Bernhardt

    Staff: Admin

    I don't adhere to any religion nor have I been conviced there is a God. However I have recently decided that in order to better understand human history and current world affairs it would be very benefical to read the major holy books. My GF is currently reading the Bible and I am about 100 pages into the Qur'an. I also picked up the Upanishads and would like to get a Torah. Now, finishing all these will likely take me a couple years (with the Qur'an I can only handle reading maybe 15 pages at a time!). Does anyone else read holy books for "fun"?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. turbo

    turbo 7,365
    Gold Member

    My faves in college were translations of the writings of Eastern philosophy/religion, especially Zen Buddhism. And yes, I did read them for insight/entertainment, though I had a double major in Philosophy and English Lit, and they did have some bearing on my course-work. Most interesting to me was the progression from the Indian "wheel of life" to the Buddhist concept of progressive enlightenment to the Zen concept of "awakening" in a real "aha" moment. If you want to come full circle and read about Zen-like concepts being applied to Indian mysticism, I highly recommend "Be Here Now" by Baba Ram Dass (Richard Alpert).
     
  4. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    Since I was raised Catholic, I had never read or owned a Bible. My youger daughter was given one, so I started reading it. It's frightening and interesting what was considered acceptable back then, I'm reading it as a form of history.
     
  5. mgb_phys

    mgb_phys 8,952
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Or like W.C. fields you could read them looking for loopholes
     
  6. Greg Bernhardt

    Staff: Admin

    Yeah my GF tells me there is alot of animal sacrifice early in the Bible.
     
  7. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    :frown: Yes, a lot.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2008
  8. Greg Bernhardt

    Staff: Admin

    Which surprised me because I thought animal sacrifice was Pagan and frowned on by the Church.

    Also back to the Qu'ran. I was very surprised to see many "Biblical" characters in the text. I wonder what the relationship between the two books are and why they share characters.
     
  9. turbo

    turbo 7,365
    Gold Member

    God said to Abraham "Kill me a son" and Abe said "Man, you gotta be putting me on." God said "No." Abe said "What?" God said "You can do what you want, Abe, but...next time you see me coming you'd better run." Abe said "Where do you want this killing done?" and God said "Out on Highway 61."

    Wait til' you read about God's bet with the devil about Job, and the horrors that God visited on Job to win the bet and prove his point. There is not a lot of love and kumbaya in the old testament.
     
  10. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    Mohammed believed he was a prophet of the same God as in the Old testament. I'll let someone more knowledgeable flesh that out.
     
  11. Are they not both abrahamic religions?


    Give some of this a read. I know it is wikipedia and religion so there could be some bias but alot of it is goo dstuff as far as I have read.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abrahamic_religion
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2008
  12. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    The Bible even goes into what the priests were to wear, relly elaborate stuff, colorful, purple, with pomegranites embroidered on the hems, God was quite the fashion designer.
     
  13. turbo

    turbo 7,365
    Gold Member

    The old testament predated the Church, and ritual sacrifices were performed by observant Jews well past the time of Jesus. Also, the Bible and Qu'ran came from a common religious tradition - Jesus is just another in a long line of prophets in the latter, though.
     
  14. Greg Bernhardt

    Staff: Admin

    No idea, I have really no background in any relgion or as a historical concept. Unfortunately the Qu'ran doesn't give background information or any history (yet). So when a character is mentioned, it feels very arbitrary.
     
  15. turbo

    turbo 7,365
    Gold Member

    Reading translations of original texts is a bit dicey at times, because these (the Torah and Qu'ran especially) were passed down orally (rote memorization) for countless generations, and there was a social context that those adherents had that we lack today. For instance, if you read Leviticus, it was a grave offense for Jews to wear clothing woven of more than one type of fiber. In other words, all-cotton was OK, all-wool was OK, but a blend forbidden. Slavery was permitted, though releasing slaves was encouraged in Jubilee years. There were also some interesting social arrangements permissible if one's male relatives died, leaving their spouses widowed. If you can take a course locally that focuses on the historical placement of these texts in the context of nomadic tribes with oral traditions, who eventually settled and transitioned to agriculture, I think you'll get a lot more out of your readings.
     
  16. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    It would be fun to read the books together on here. I'm willing to buy the Quran, I have a bible and would be interested in reading the Torah as well. We'd all have to have the same versions though.
     
  17. Math Is Hard

    Math Is Hard 4,915
    Staff Emeritus
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  18. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    Good suggestions Turbo. We do have some people here with quite an historical background. I believe Arildno is one.
     
  19. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    Funny, I know someone that read the Bhagavad Gita and although he is an atheist, he'd pray for the spiders he'd have to kill for research and he's the world's top authority on spiders. We're talking MANY dead spiders.
     
  20. Greg Bernhardt

    Staff: Admin

    That would be awesome. This is one one I bought. It's a simple paperback and the translation is fairly modern.
    http://www.amazon.com/Quran-Transla...=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1202507384&sr=8-3

    Maybe there is a better one, I don't know.
     
  21. turbo

    turbo 7,365
    Gold Member

    Very important! The Jesuits released a translation of the Bible back in the '60s (the New Jerusalem Bible) in which they attempted to translate the earliest-known examples of each section of text. If you have a book that is written in Hebrew, translated to Aramaic, then to Greek, then to Latin, then to German, then to English there are many opportunities for error, unintentional or intentional. In their version of the Bible, Mary is a "maiden" and not a "virgin", and it appears that the word virgin crept into the Bible's Latin translations because of the Romans' long tradition of virginity cults.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2008
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