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  • The Atheist Handbook to the Old Testament, Volume 1

  • By: Joshua Bowen
  • Narrated by: Seth Andrews
  • Length: 11 hrs and 39 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (35 ratings)

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The Atheist Handbook to the Old Testament, Volume 1 cover art

The Atheist Handbook to the Old Testament, Volume 1

By: Joshua Bowen
Narrated by: Seth Andrews
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Summary

The Old Testament is a fierce battleground for atheists and Christian apologists, with each side accusing the other of taking challenging and troubling passages out of context. In this handbook, Joshua Bowen not only provides the background to the Old Testament and the ancient Near East, but engages with hotly contested topics like slavery, failed prophecy, and the authorship of debated Old Testament books. 

This book provides: 

  • clear and straightforward explanations to complex topics 
  • direct engagement with hot-button Old Testament issues 
  • specific arguments to help you in a debate or discussion

Whether you are looking to debate problematic Old Testament issues on social media or have a relaxed, meaningful discussion with a family member over coffee, The Atheist Handbook to the Old Testament is an indispensable resource for you.

©2021 Joshua Aaron Bowen (P)2021 Joshua Aaron Bowen

Critic reviews

"Exhibiting an enviable depth of knowledge across a wide range of texts and topics – and with more than a dollop of humor spread throughout – Bowen has written a useful and much-needed overview to some of the most significant topics in the study of the Hebrew Bible. You don’t bring a knife to a gunfight, and you shouldn’t go into a debate about the Bible without your copy of this book handy." (Dr. Joel Baden, Professor of Hebrew Bible, Yale Divinity School)  

"This is more than a book about the Hebrew Bible. And it’s more than a book for atheists. It’s a masterclass in how to read and understand the Hebrew Bible on its own terms - and not those imposed by modern-day believers. An Atheist’s Handbook to the Old Testament digs down deep into those biblical texts so often used by fundamentalist Christians to render the Hebrew Bible a prophetic guidebook to their God - and turns their own arguments on their head. This book is essential reading for anyone who’d like the tools to excavate the Hebrew Bible for themselves with precision, skill and intellectual integrity." (Dr. Francesca Stavrakopoulou, Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Religion, University of Exeter)   

"Bowen's book reminds us that the Hebrew Bible is not precise, and the evidence is overwhelming that it wasn't written by Moses. This assembled compilation of works from unknown authors, editors and redactors promotes barbaric cruelty, and it contains failed prophecies and irreconcilable contradictions, such that a literal interpretation of all of it is untenable." (Aron Ra, Host of the Ra-Men Podcast, Board of Directors for American Atheists)

What listeners say about The Atheist Handbook to the Old Testament, Volume 1

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Balanced and informative

Dr Joshua Bowen here provides an excellent overview of the Old Testament and despite the name I think Christians would benefit from this book just as much (though may find it deeply challenging)

Highlights for me were the detailed but very understandable explanation of ancient Near Eastern history - a topic I had never explored in much depth formerly as a Christian but which provide essential context to understanding the text.

The slavery chapter stands out most though. far from an aggressive polemic Dr Josh sets out a factual compelling argument: We should not compare the ‘acts’ of the Transatlantic Slave Trade with the ‘laws’ of the Old Testament. We must compare like for like, law with law. When we do there are very similar patterns of legal rationale. The argument shows just how indefensible it is to defend the bible’s view on slavery.

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A brilliant listen.

A fantastic in-depth look into the bible and it’s issues.
Give great talking point if you enjoy debating with theists.
I’d recommend this to anyone who’s interested in understanding the bible and it’s issues.

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Educational and entertaining

An excellent listen that weighs facts against claims .You are taken through the first half of the new testament in an interesting way , introduced to the archaeological method and emphasis is put on the idea that the endgame of the pursuit of truth is not to undermine belief but instead to establish fact methodologically.

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Does not do what it says on the tin!!!

I didn’t need to finish this book to realise that it doesn’t help an atheist in the least: what it does do is to support scholarship and exegetical insights many of which are centuries old, plus a bit of more recent stuff that confirms what everyone except the brain-dead already understands.
I suspect that the author is probably a Christian himself and is trying to demonstrate that a true atheist would not go about rubbishing the Bible thus way: it’s really quite shallow despite the many scholastic references. As a liberal Christian myself - a very liberal one - I could probably have done a better job although I don’t have the author’s breadth of reading.
A good atheist can find enough wrong in the church and it’s doctrine and attitudes without the boredom and frustration of reading a lame effort like this.
All he does is to disprove stuff that only a literalist or a dogmatic fideistic would worry about: what this actually is is a Bible commentary masquerading under a name that is obviously intended to sell the project.
Let a real atheist haves go then I can begin to take him seriously!

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Dry and boring

While the information presented is solid, this is coma-inducingly boring.

If you are listening for academic reasons this might be useful. If you want something engaging and interesting look elsewhere.

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I have enjoyed listening to this audio book

Seth Andrews has done a great narration. And Dr. Bowen presents very detailed research on the topic. I look forward to volume 2. In the meantime, I will keep replaying the audio. Lol.

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