Someone once told me that the Bible is full of interesting stories. Having learned some of the stories of the Bible in primary school, I have vague recollections of there being adventures across deserts etc. I’m wondering if there are any sections that other learners would suggest to potential athiest readers. I’m not looking for spiritual guidance from the Bible, just wondering if there are sections in there that are worth reading purely for the story-telling value. Any thoughts?
I have read the Bible many times (I used to be quite religious but that was a long time ago). To be honest, the Bible (together with other “holy scriptures” I have read) is about the last thing I’d recommend to any language learner unless he or she is a believer. There are so many books out there where you can read about adventurous stories without the (in my opinion) disturbing content of the Bible (genocide, sexism etc.).
Besides, if you were to study German for example the language used in the Bible would not really help you with understanding the language as it is spoken today. The expressions you will find there have mostly fallen out of use and some of them require a deeper understanding of the underlying religious insinuations to make any “sense” at all.
So, in a nutshell, I don’t think any language learner would benefit from reading the Bible from a linguistic point of view. If you are interested in learning more about why people still kill each other over their Gods and what makes them go crazy if you don’t agree with them, the Bible may provide you with some insightful answers. Just don’t try to use the same language in your daily life or you might be taken for some sort of reincarnation
@Robert: “…I don’t think any language learner would benefit from reading the Bible from a linguistic point of view”
I would tend to agree - the language used in most translations is outmoded.
@Robert: “…if you are interested in learning more about why people still kill each other over their Gods and what makes them go crazy if you don’t agree with them, the Bible may provide you with some insightful answers.”
Robert, I’m amazed to hear you (of all people) sprouting such utter bigoted tosh!
It is this type of crude prejudice which led people to hate the Jews in central Europe in the 19th and early 20th century. (And BTW it is a broadly similar prejudice which leads the Far-Right in many European countries to hate Muslims en masse today…)
ad JayB:(…) Robert, I’m amazed to hear you (of all people) sprouting such utter bigoted tosh! (…)
Dear Jay, I’m amazed to see you don’t come up with any valid argument to prove my point of view to be wrong but simply resort to rather rude language calling me a bigot and what I said “tosh”. I do reckon though that you don’t agree with me
(…) It is this type of crude prejudice which led people to hate the Jews in central Europe in the late 19th and early 20th century. (And BTW it is a broadly similar prejudice which leads the Far-Right in many European countries to hate Muslims en masse today…) (…)
I totally and utterly disagree with your reasoning here. People hated and still hate Jews (or any other minority for that matter) because they don’t care to think for themselves and are more than happy to put the blame for their own mistakes or all the bad things happening to them on some scapegoat.
I don’t know what kind of prejudice you are talking about anyway when you make the connection with the far-right movements in Europe and their hatred against muslims (by the way, muslims are “well hated” by lots of Christians as well, there is ample proof of that if you care to read some religious pamphlets).
Are you trying to tell me people don’t kill each other justifying their deeds with what is written in the Bible? Come on, you can’t be that naive!
And yes, the Old Testament does incite people to kill and hate. I’m not going to discuss this specific point with you in detail here because we obviously have totally different opinons on that and our discussions would not lead to anything but probably further misunderstandings. I’ll let everybody else decide what they think about the “holy scriptures”. Only a couple of weeks ago a catholic priest in Austria said that gay people ought to be happy “the law of the Old Testament” is no longer applied (and he seemed to regret this judging by the way he said it) to them for otherwise they would be stoned to death. Well, this man seems to think of himself as speaking in the name of the Church and he has not been removed from his post (though the bishop has told him to refrain from such “harsh words” in the future). He is not a “bigot” like me but a prominent member of the Church who has spent decades of his life studying the Bible and preaching it to the members of his parish. Now, what makes you think I’m bigotted then just because I refer to what you and anybody else can easily read in the Bible?
What about groups like Opus Dei? Their way of interpreting the Bible certainly does not lend itself to a peaceful co-habitation of believers of different faiths and/or non-believers. You call me a bigot simply because I was referring to the horrendous stories in the Bible and their more than questionable interpretation by many religious groups yet you do seem to confirm my conviction that religious people are getting rather aggressive (in your case just verbally) once they feel their belief is under attack.
You and anybody else may believe whatever you want if it makes you happy. I have no problem with that whatsoever but I will never allow anybody to infringe upon my civil rights no matter how “divine” their reasoning may be. If God(s) is (are) so powerful as religious people want us to believe why don’t they leave it up to him to condemn and punish those not following “his” rules? Do they really think a being as powerful and mighty as God needs some earthlings to wield the sword in his name?
There is enough evidence of religiously motivated violence out there and many of the people committing these crimes refer to “holy scriptures”. So, please, next time you call me a bigot try to be a bit more precise as to what supposedly makes me one.
And, just for the record, I don’t consider you to be one of those narrow-minded religious people making the life of so many people really hard out there. I do realize we disagree on quite a few issues but as long as we manage to talk to each other we should be fine. But next time, please give me some more food for thought than this rather lame accusation of me being a bigot
I did not call you a bigot. (I know that you are not a bigot - that is the reason why I was somewhat amazed to see what you wrote!)
It may be different in Germany and Austria, but here in the UK there are plenty of people from the Far Right who do indeed point to passages in the Koran and say, “Oh look at this, these Muslims are all evil psychopaths - so it’s quite okay for everyone to hate them.”
Likewise one can point to some isolated passages in the Old Testament, and say: “Oh look, all Jews (and Christians) must be evil violent people, etc.” Of course, the people doing this ALWAYS take the passages out of context, they never want to understand the literature as a whole. (I wonder if they would apply this crude standard to secular literature, too? But I digress.)
Now you wrote:
“…if you are interested in learning more about why people still kill each other over their Gods and what makes them go crazy if you don’t agree with them, the Bible may provide you with some insightful answers…”
I just find this fundamentally wrong. “People” do not kill each other - it is individual criminals who do that.
So that is really my problem with what you wrote - you seem to be implying that all religious believers are likely to “go crazy and kill”. This is just simply not true! You can’t generalize in this way.
@IMY - I think it all depends on what Robert meant by “they” in “… because they don’t care to think for themselves and…”
@lovelanguagesII - Regarding the topic at hand, thanks for your input. I’ll certainly keep that in mind, and I think I’ll wait to hear a few more opinions before I make up my mind. Thanks again!
"If you are interested in learning more about why people still kill each other over their Gods and what makes them go crazy if you don’t agree with them, the Bible may provide you with some insightful answers. "
I think looking at the families people were raised in will bear greater fruits as to why people grow up with relegion 2.0 installed in their brains, which book( the bible, koran etc)is installed in there is irrelevant…
The bible could be good as a text all the same as you should follow your interests…
@Peter: “just wondering if there are sections in there that are worth reading purely for the story-telling value. Any thoughts?”
The Book of Job is sometimes taught as literature in classes here in the US.
The Book of Ruth might make for worth-while reading, too.
Some interesting things turn up in Proverbs, Psalms and the Song of Solomon, though they are not, strictly speaking, stories.
The language in the German translation of the Bible is somewhat old-fashioned. You’ll learn words and phrases that are no longer used and you’ll miss a lot of words and phrases that are quite common and important now. Sometimes even the grammar is old-fashioned and no longer used.
I can definitely think of much more interesting content than the Bible. But if you really like the Bible you should definitely try to get one of the newer and more modern translations.
I don’t know about anyone else and if they bother to notice… but I gotta tell ya, your command of the written English language is phenomenal. Your arguments are well laid out and articulated perfectly on paper, which should not be surprising to me because I’ve seen and been inspired by your videos, but nevertheless… I don’t know how much work you’re putting in when arguing on these forums, but hot damn! Well done.
Totally agree RickyRuffcutt, but it doesn’t end there. I think he’s a rare breed in that he seems to be able to write freely in many languages without any “accent”. I’m very envious!
If a person is interested in reading the Bible, then they would benefit from reading the Bible in the language they are learning, it seems to me. The language of the Bible in English, for example, may be outdated, but it is beautiful. Much of the bible is wonderfully written. As to the content, it is from another age, and that is part of its attraction. Most people wanting to read the Bible are probably already familiar with the contents from their own language.
@RickyRuffcutt: “…Robert, I don’t know about anyone else and if they bother to notice… but I gotta tell ya, your command of the written English language is phenomenal.”
I certainly agree 100% with that.
Robert’s level in English (spoken and written) is of the very highest order. His level in French, Spanish and Italian is also absolutely outstanding.
We kind of disagree over the Bible (as one or two people might just have noticed! :-D) Nevertheless I have enormous respect for him both as a person and as a polyglot - and I’d like to make that clear.
I have always wondered whether the owner of the HTLAL forum may be on to something with his “No Religion or Politics” rule…?
Yes Robert’s written English as above the level of many if not most native speakers.
As one of the more agressive commenters at our forum, JayB, why would you suggest we censor this forum for content? This looks like an interesting thread.
C’mon Steve - you know I’m all against censorship!
I think Mr Micheloud regards “No Religion or Politics” as a kind of house rule - i.e. Jews and Muslims and Athiests, etc are free to scream at each other and turn over the tables - just as long as they don’t do it in HIS bar!
for more info.
have a look at this forum post.
@JayB, it’s admirable that you can look at religions and religious texts as the potential source for good that they could be, but you can’t deny that they are too often invoked as justification for hatred, bigotry, discrimination, etc., as Robert pointed out. I, like him, find it hard to look past that. It find it hypocrit that anyone could claim to do good because of a book, when other parts of that same book dictate who should be killed and how, the worst type of crime that could exist.
@Peter – Considering all the well-written novels available, I can’t imagine you’d want to resort to a text that is, in its worst parts, boring, incomprehensible and incoherent, and in its best parts, written in intricate and ancient language. I’m not even sure what beautiful parts Steve is talking about (if he was serious).
I love the bible (I believe it’s true) and I love languages, so for me the Bible is a fantastic source to learn languages. I can read and understand even modern material much better because of it.
I often go online and copy and paste the New International Version into Google Translate (GT) and learn some modern words that way. GT’s not the most reliable always, but it helps. At least with English to another language - it doesn’t seem to work as well vice versa - at least for French and Spanish.
But even if some of the words are outdated, you can still learn a good number of words from the Bible that aren’t. And it’s no different than a person who is learning English reading Shakespeare. Just be sure to read a lot of modern material as well.
Some great Books in the Bible are:
The first 5 books/Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy: Stories of the Patriarchs and the Hebrew Israelites in Egypt and making their way to Canaan/Israel.
Book of Psalms: No adventures really, but beautifully written.
The Books of 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings and 2 Kings (these books tell the stories of King David and King Solomon mostly, as well as other Kings. I find both David and Solomon fascinating - and David inspiring, despite some of his short comings. Lots of war and adventures in these books. (The Kings of Israel and Judah - and other regions - were, often times, a mad bunch!)
The Book of Judges, I especially like the stories of Deborah and Samson. More war stories in this book.
The Book of Jonah, short but interesting. The famous fish/whale story is written here.
The Books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John: The story of Christ is in them. Not sure you’d find it adventurous enough though.
The Book of Acts: Tells, in depth, the story of Paul. Really fascinating. He traveled a lot preaching Christ and there are plenty of great stories and adventures as a result.
The Books of Ezekiel, Isaiah, Daniel & Revelation : Intense prophetic stories!
Hope this helps,
@Alexandre. I am not religious but I enjoy the language of the Bible. The Bible is, to me, a fascinating document, from another age. For religious people it is much more than that. People learn best from content they enjoy. If that is the Bible, then it would be ideal learning material. You can tell us what you like to read, but you cannot tell people what to read.