The Bible RevisitedA self-proclaimed “student of the human condition,” author George Clark has fashioned a novel examining and dissecting a book that many hold dear and many more take as the literal word of God: The Bible. While Clark himself may consider his writings slightly heretical and envelope-pushing, only the most devout evangelicals will find anything controversial in this 250 page diatribe that wavers between slight questioning and outright denial of the verifiable historical truth of Biblical tales.

Though Clark does raise many a worthwhile point (Why does no one in the Bible have a last name? Was Jesus even a real person? Why does God say “we” in Genesis?), his responses are repeatedly hindered by his lack of organization and inability to commit to an answer. In fact, Clark seems surprisingly hesitant to completely disavow even the most outlandish stories in the Bible. For example, when questioning how Noah and his sons could have constructed the Ark he never comes out and fully proclaims his disbelief in the story. In fact, he goes so far as to state that he’s “inclined to believe that a boat was built, but God had more to do with it than Noah and his sons.” This sort of statement not only cripples Clark’s further examination of the Ark story, but manages to set him at odds with his own demands for hard evidence.

More than once Clark makes the broad declaration that since no one living was present 10 million years ago (or even 2000 years ago), then we can never know for sure whether scientisits, archaeologists, or theologions are on the right track. This rather agnostic statement is seemingly intended to place Clark squarely in between evangelicals and scientists as a middle man of sorts, disavowing both sides and trusting no one like a real life Agent Mulder. But if it is evidence he seeks, and he seems adamant that it is, then more research is warranted. Clark openly admits in the first pages of the book that he has not read the Bible in its entirety, that most of his research has been done over the internet, and that he personally believes modern day humans descended from a superior alien race. In short, before readers can begin to search Clark’s text for information, he’s discredited himself as a writer on the very topic he’s written about.

That’s not to say that Clark doesn’t possess some skill as an author. His style is engaging and often sincerely comical, though the scattershot, stream-of-consciousness style of his writing can be a bit offputting. Occasionally Clark comes across a moment of engaging brilliance, such as his breakdown of many popular Christian leaders, or the few humorous fictional sketches between Biblical characters, but other sections come off as little more than ill-informed rants. Proclamations like “The world has changed a thousand times over since God gave Moses the stone Tablets containing the Ten Commandments and it will only end with Armageddon!” (pg.105) and “Women love sex as much as men (sometimes even more), but you’re never going to get them to come right out and admit it…” (pg. 10) only serve to detract from Clark’s more concerted efforts at legitimacy.

Overall, The Bible Revisited is an interesting attempt at picking apart a fairly easy target (listen to a few stand-up bits by George Carlin, David Cross, or Joe Rogan and you’ll have plenty of material to work with). Unfortunately, Clark misses his mark a few times too often and ends up with a slightly confusing and unremarkable condemnation of evangelicals. Clark hopes to easily document what other authors have spent years of diligent research and dedication to accomplish, and while it’s admirable that he spent the time to gather 250 pages worth of information, it’s also clear that a good deal more research and organization would have greatly benefitted Clark’s presentation.

Zach’s Rating: D+
Perfect For: The devout Christian beginning to question his/her faith for the first time
Stay Away if: You’ve ever read a book dissecting the Bible

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