Book reviews

Today, I want to share with you insights on the few books I have been reading in the past month  and to recommend that in case you haven’t read any of them, that you do create time to at least read a few of them if not all. Don’t create excuses for not reading, in a day you have 24 hours and in one of those you are probably bumming or in a train, tram or bus or waiting at the train station; that is the time to read, so no excuses. The books will follow no particular order. I ask you to forgive the brevity of my reviews, I am a minimalist in practice, and ask you to share your thoughts on any of the books that I have listed below if you have read them. I will populate the list as we go along. I have a goal of reading between 30-50 books in the remaining days to the end of the year and to keep this blog up to date.

 

1. Thinks by David Lodge

One of the reviewers, Sunday Times, writes ‘a fizzingly thought-provoking comedy’. If you want to have a good laugh and at the same time to be provoked into thinking this is the book for you. In one of the pages he quotes Descartes ‘I think therefore I am’ then goes ahead to say, ‘to am’ is to not think.

2. The Christ-Myth and its problems by Robert M. Price

In this book, the author looks at the New Testament scholarships on the subject of the historicity of Jesus. It’s a must read for both the believer and especially for the non-believer who still romanticizes about Jesus having been a great moral teacher [if he lived]. His arguments and conclusions are both powerful and convincing. I would want to see a christian who has any proper refutation to any of the claims in the book.

3. Philosophers without Gods by Antony Louis M

This book is a reflection by different philosophers on their journey to atheism, morality, and meaning in a life without Gods.

4. A history of God by Karen Armstrong

As the title suggests, Armstrong follows the evolution of the gods of the three Abrahamic [Christianity, Judaism and Islam] religions and how the faithful have interpreted or understood their god. Of importance is the contribution to philosophic thought to the changing face of god from the ancients to the present.

5. Confession of a Buddhist Atheist

is the journey of faith of a young man from Europe to Asia to the origins of Buddhism who ends up being an atheist. It is well written and engaging. He brings the story of the Buddha seamlessly into his story as he talks of his doubts, difficulties and insights into his journey of faith. He also brings the story of Buddha closer home and tries to remove much of the religious baggage associated with the Buddha.

6. Did Muhammad Exist: An inquiry into Islam’s obscure origins by Robert Spencer,

if after reading the Christ Myth Theory and its problems you find the ground swept under you, this will actually leave you floating in space. Even though the writer asks at the end that we suspend judgement on whether Muhammad existed, he presents evidence that supports the theory that he, Muhammad, is a myth just like any other in religions before him if we leave out Buddha and Confucius. One of the enduring chapters in on the Qur’an and he posits a question why does the writers of the book insist that it is in Arabic if it wasn’t contested? Islam hasn’t received a fair share of criticism as other religions since it’s adherents are too quick to declare fatwas, issue death threats to anyone who questions their religion but this book and many others offer a glimpse into the shaky grounds on which Islam is based.

7. Atheism: The case against God by George Smith

God is not on trial per-se but this book makes a proper case for atheism. There is no need to say more than that!

8. A guide for the godless by Andrew Kernohan,

is a personal journey into the meaning of life without a transcendent being.

 

 

 

 

 

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Genesis 36

Esau Moves

This chapter I must say is not really interesting. It has genealogies of Esau and they have names that for the most part I find hard to even pronounce. We will not dwell in it much for that matter but it is important that we take note of the different names since we will meet them in future having different roles. That aside, Esau has just been baptised to Edom whichI gather from wikipedia has several meanings. Esau takes for himself 3 wives departing a little from his other relatives who had married from the family and had concubines and marries from among the people he is living in their midst.

36 Now these are the records of the generations of Esau (that is, Edom).

Esau took his wives from the daughters of Canaan: Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Oholibamah the daughter of Anah and the granddaughter of Zibeon the Hivite; also Basemath, Ishmael’s daughter, the sister of Nebaioth. Adah bore Eliphaz [in the Legend of the Jews Vol I chapter 6 we are told, Eliphaz was brought up ,under the watchful eye of the old patriarch Isaac, in the ways of god and that he later meets with Job as prophet Eliphaz]   to Esau, and Basemath bore Reuel, and Oholibamah bore Jeush and Jalam and Korah. These are the sons of Esau who were born to him in the land of Canaan.

Then Esau took his wives and his sons and his daughters and all his household, and his livestock and all his cattle and all his goods which he had acquired in the land of Canaan, and went to another land away from his brother Jacob [why does Esau have to move, in my view if anyone is to move then it is Jacob who should find his own niche. He was away for 20 years so when he comes back and the place can’t sustain them both then it is him to move besides he must now be good at being a settler!]. For their property had become too great for them to live together, and the land where they sojourned could not sustain them because of their livestock [could be a narration of one of the migration stories?]. So Esau lived in the hill country of Seir; Esau is Edom.

Descendants of Esau

These then are the records of the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir [I hope you are still with me here, the Edomites are the sons of Esau since his name has been changed to Edom]. 10 These are the names of Esau’s sons: Eliphaz the son of Esau’s wife Adah, Reuel the son of Esau’s wife Basemath. 11 The sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho and Gatam and Kenaz. 12 Timna was a concubine of Esau’s son Eliphaz and she bore Amalek to Eliphaz. These are the sons of Esau’s wife Adah [Adah has one son, Eliphaz] . 13 These are the sons of Reuel: Nahath and Zerah, Shammah and Mizzah. These were the sons of Esau’s wife Basemath [Basemath has one son, Reuel]. 14 These were the sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah , the daughter of Anah and the granddaughter of Zibeon: she bore to Esau, Jeush and Jalam and Korah.

15 These are the chiefs of the sons of Esau. The sons of Eliphaz, the firstborn of Esau, are chief Teman, chief Omar, chief Zepho, chief Kenaz, 16 chief Korah, chief Gatam, chief Amalek. These are the chiefs descended from Eliphaz in the land of Edom; these are the sons of Adah. 17 These are the sons of Reuel, Esau’s son: chief Nahath, chief Zerah, chief Shammah, chief Mizzah. These are the chiefs descended from Reuel in the land of Edom; these are the sons of Esau’s wife Basemath. 18 These are the sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah: chief Jeush, chief Jalam, chief Korah. These are the chiefs descended from Esau’s wife Oholibamah, the daughter of Anah. 19 These are the sons of Esau (that is, Edom), and these are their chiefs [I don’t know how the sons transform to become chiefs and who are they lording it over?].

20 These are the sons of Seir the Horite, the inhabitants of the land: Lotan and Shobal and Zibeon and Anah, 21 and Dishon and Ezer and Dishan. These are the chiefs descended from the Horites, the sons of Seir in the land of Edom. 22 The sons of Lotan were Hori and Hemam; and Lotan’s sister was Timna. 23 These are the sons of Shobal: Alvan and Manahath and Ebal, Shepho and Onam. 24 These are the sons of Zibeon: Aiah and Anah—he is the Anah who found the hot springs in the wilderness when he was pasturing the donkeys of his father Zibeon. 25 These are the children of Anah: Dishon, and Oholibamah, the daughter of Anah. 26 These are the sons of Dishon: Hemdan and Eshban and Ithran and Cheran. 27 These are the sons of Ezer: Bilhan and Zaavan and Akan. 28 These are the sons of Dishan: Uz and Aran. 29 These are the chiefs [descended from the Horites: chief Lotan, chief Shobal, chief Zibeon, chief Anah, 30 chief Dishon, chief Ezer, chief Dishan. These are the chiefs descended from the Horites, according to their various chiefs in the land of Seir [don’t worry, I know these names are kinda confusing, we will identify each when we meet them in future, I promise].

31 Now these are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the sons of Israel. 32 Bela the son of Beor reigned in Edom, and the name of his city was Dinhabah. 33 Then Bela died, and Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah became king in his place. 34 Then Jobab died, and Husham of the land of the Temanites became king in his place. 35 Then Husham died, and Hadad the son of Bedad, who defeated Midian in the field of Moab, became king in his place; and the name of his city was Avith. 36 Then Hadad died, and Samlah of Masrekah became king in his place. 37 Then Samlah died, and Shaul of Rehoboth on the Euphrates River became king in his place. 38 Then Shaul died, and Baal-hanan the son of Achbor became king in his place. 39 Then Baal-hanan the son of Achbor died, and Hadar became king in his place; and the name of his city was Pau; and his wife’s name was Mehetabel, the daughter of Matred, daughter of Mezahab.

40 Now these are the names of the chiefs descended from Esau, according to their families and their localities, by their names: chief Timna, chief Alvah, chief Jetheth, 41 chief Oholibamah, chief Elah, chief Pinon, 42 chief Kenaz, chief Teman, chief Mibzar, 43 chief Magdiel, chief Iram. These are the chiefs of Edom (that is, Esau, the father of the Edomites), according to their habitations in the land of their possession [Since this are just stories of who fathered who, we will continue later and refer to this chapter whenever we meet a character already mentioned here].