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BIBLE STORIES FOR ALL WITHOUT THE DOGMA

A PART OF CULTURAL LITERACY

An informative but sometimes-superficial survey of Old Testament stories.

A retired teacher offers an introduction to the major stories and themes of the Old Testament geared toward non-Christians.

As an Old Testament teacher at a tuition-free Jesuit school that had a surprisingly large non-Roman Catholic and Muslim population, debut author Walsh developed lesson plans that “all of the students could identify with regardless of their religious background.” Now retired, he has compiled his lessons into a concise overview of the Bible that targets nonreligious readers interested in better understanding the book. In the author’s view, even among the nonreligious, one must have basic biblical literacy to fully understand Western society. Biblical references, for example, abound in Western literature, art, and music, from Handel’s Messiah to the Byrds’ “Turn, Turn, Turn.” The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s powerful speech “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” takes an even more poignant turn when readers understand the story of Moses’ mountaintop experience in Deuteronomy. The bulk of Walsh’s work walks readers through the major stories of the Old Testament in a straightforward, non-dogmatic way while providing brief historical and literary commentary for context. He also highlights important concepts and themes that run throughout the Old Testament that could be easily overlooked by those new to the Bible. For example, his reflections on the story of Cain and Abel introduce novices to the origins of the quote “Am I my brother’s keeper?” And the author emphasizes the biblical pattern of God favoring the younger son over the older in his discussion of Abraham. But while much of Walsh’s commentary will be useful to those unfamiliar with the Bible, some of it is trivia that doesn’t advance a deeper understanding of the work, such as an entire page of famous quotations about friendship by Aesop, Ben Franklin, and others. Surprisingly, given Walsh’s Jesuit school background, he does not include the Catholic and Orthodox books removed from the Bible by Protestants. A more thorough discussion of canonization history—and how Christians selectively picked which books to include in the Bible and which to leave out—would have been extremely valuable in this introduction.

An informative but sometimes-superficial survey of Old Testament stories.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Summit Crossroads Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 30, 2020

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Awards & Accolades

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


  • New York Times Bestseller


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  • National Book Award Finalist

Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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