I found this book by skimming through Davis’s Don’t Know Much About Mythology, which I picked up at one of the book sales I frequent. When I saw the title, I figured it would be a perfect easy-reader overview to supply me with things to think about as I continue my journey through the Bible.
I think that it would make for a good introduction for someone who is steeped in Bible culture but hasn’t actually read the text for themselves (such as the very numerous North American “cultural Christians”). It provides an overview of each book in the Bible with a little summary of the content and, for many of the books, a more detailed discussion of the issues, themes, and scholarly thoughts. Davis also introduces some bible basics, such as the Document Hypothesis.
I found it to be a perfect little primer for anyone who is curious about the Bible but lacks the patience to slog through the actual text (I can sympathize!). I also think that it could work as a reference book for someone who talks or thinks about the Bible often enough to need a reference, but not often enough to have memorized the contents.
I found the information to be well presented and the writing style to be accessible. That being said, I did notice a few issues. Most notably, Davis seems rather intent on calling women in the bible prostitutes, such as Rahab (which is a little iffy). Worse, he presents their professions as if they were undisputed facts, stated explicitly in the text. I suppose he should get some credit for dispelling the myth about Mary of Magdala being a prostitute – though that correction is nearly more famous than the original myth by now.