Friday, 15 March 2019

#bookreview: Written to Be Heard: Recovering the Messages of the Gospels

A couple of days late because I was waylaid by the London Book Fair!

Written to Be Heard: Recovering the Messages of the GospelsWritten to Be Heard: Recovering the Messages of the Gospels by Paul Borgman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This took me longer to finish than expected, mainly because it requires a lot of thought (I tend to speed-read my way through a lot of things, which isn't really optimal, but is what works for me). Written to be Heard, however, is the kind of book that you want to mull over and read with your Bible open at the same time, not because you don't trust what Borgman and Clark are expounding on in the text, but because you want to see with your own eyes the patterns that are being pulled out for you--and maybe read aloud to yourself.

Part Bible exposition, part literary study, the writers cover each of the Gospels in great detail, teasing out the biases, aims and structure of each writer, or in this case, storyteller of the Good News. Rather than cross-referencing the Gospels to each other and arguing about their differences, as we tend to do, they suggest that we consider each Gospel as individual stories, and as a transcription of an oral heritage. Variations, repetitions, and the way each book is structured then becomes understood as less of haphazard and poorly-constructed narrative--they are instead cues for listeners to pick up the points and themes of each Gospel.

Written to Be Heard: Recovering the Messages of the Gospels gives modern Christians a lot to chew on. As society moves from heavy reliance on text and the written word back to a preference for audio-visual forms, maybe the church should also reconsider what it means to read the Bible aloud.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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