Last summer, Slate deputy editor David Plotz, a Harvard-educated Reform Jew, found himself bored out of his mind at a cousin's bat mitzvah. Rather than feigning interest, he reached into the back of a pew and started to read an English translation of the Torah.
He opened to the soap opera-like saga of Jacob's sons seeking to avenge the rape of their sister Dinahand found himself utterly engrossed. The experience became his impetus behind a Slate series called "Blogging the Bible." Started in September 2006, the blog records Plotz's progress and comments as he reads through the entire Old Testament, a couple of chapters at a time. The subtitle of the series: "What happens when an ignoramus reads the Good Book?"
Plotz is not a Christianand he has taken heat for his occasionally irreverent tonebut he allows readers to see the Bible anew through the eyes of someone who set out to read it merely because it's so compelling. Plotz talked to Christianity Today in late January about his journey through Scripture.
You started "Blogging the Bible" in part because you realized you didn't know the Bible very well. Do you feel like you have a better handle on it now?
I'm still only half way throughjust starting Ezekielbut I feel like I have a sense of the whole story now: the basic start and finish of God's covenant, the Exodus and how that all goes south for Israel, and also the nature of God's lawswhy they matter.
Increasingly, I sense why particular portions of the Bible have gotten picked out and why other stories that are just as compelling and lovely seem to get missed. I also have a sense of the rhythm of the bookhow to read it, as it were. One reason that people don't read the Bible is its ...1