I know a bit about history. . .
Know a little biology
I get my facts from 'dem science books
Je me rappelle de le français que je étudié. . .
I was just thumbing through a paperback copy of one of the Keneth C. Davis' "Don't Know Much About . . ." series. I had previously read his "Don't Know Much About History" and found it to be a pretty good introductory outline of the players and events of American history. This one is called "Don't Know Much About the Bible". It's not bad. It pretty fairly presents the basic outline of the texts and some of the more explicit absurdities and controversial verses in a humorous way. Seems a pretty good synopsis (pardon the pun) for an "idiot's guide" type book ( it's the same genre, ¿non?).
Unfortunately, any such comprehensive condensation is bound to miss (or misrepresent) a thing or two.
For instance, this is the book's only mention of Q:
"Early Christians believed Matthew was written first and placed it first, but modern scholars now consider Mark the earlier book. Relying on literary and chronological clues, they believe the author of Matthew had read Mark, as well as the theoretical collection of Jesus' sayings called "Q." Some scholars believe Matthew was written in Palestine; others favor another early Christian center, such as Antioch in Syria sometime between 70 and 85 C.E."
This seems a huge oversimplification to me. Not only does it say essentially nothing about what Q is or why we would need a "theoretical" gospel (out of context, "Q" is but a meaningless letter), this might confuse the reader who is new to the synoptic problem, who would naturally ask, "What theoretical collection?"
Such limitations aside, it's a fun book to flip through.