Wednesday, March 22, 2006

So You'd Like to... Become a Religious Scholar

Here's another guide I wrote for recently. I have found these titles to be useful aids in seeking to learn more about religion.

The Holy Bible (King James Version) with Apocrypha
The Holy Bible is the Book of Books. It contains the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of mankind, and the words of his prophets and apostles from the creation of the world through the first century A.D.

This edition also contains the Apocrypha, several books that are accepted as canonical by the Catholic Church and other churches, although much of the Christian world excludes them from the canon. At the least, these additional books are interesting to read and enhance the historical background of the Bible, and they are worth reviewing. 'The Bible: Authorized King James Version with Apocrypha'

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
Bible scholars can benefit greatly from Strong's Exhaustive Concordance with Greek and Hebrew dictionaries. This book is a reference volume that lists every instance of each word from the King James Bible. Each instance of each word refers the reader to the book's Hebrew or Greek dictionary, making it easy to find alternate translations of the original words 'Nelson's Super Value Series : New Strong's Exhautive Concordance'

Religions of the World: A Latter-day Saint View
This book delivers a fair, in-depth, and very well-researched look at the world's major religions, including several faiths I had never heard of previously. A must-read volume for those interested in learning more about other religions. 'Religions of the World: A Latter-Day Saint View'

Jesus the Christ
In this book, author James E. Talmage gives an excellent, carefully-researched biography of the Savior. It is filled with brilliant insights into the life and teachings of Jesus and the sociopolitical atmosphere surrounding his life. Unlike other biographies of Jesus, this book covers not only his mortal life but also his premortal and postmortal acts. All those who study the New Testament and the life of Jesus can learn something from this book. 'Jesus the Christ'

The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ
Latter-day Saints ("Mormons") regard The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ as a canonical book of scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of ancient inhabitants of the Americas, including the writings of their prophets and an account of Christ's ministry there after his resurrection. Mormon prophet Joseph Smith taught that the book is "the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book." You can get a free paperback edition of The Book of Mormon from, or you can buy the hardcover Doubleday edition from Amazon. 'The Book of Mormon : Another Testament of Jesus Christ'

The Qur'an (Koran)
Contains the writings of Mohammed, whom Muslims (adherents of the Islamic faith) believe to be a prophet of Allah (God). This particular edition of the Qur'an contains the original Arabic side-by-side with an English translation, as well as a useful topical index in the back, making it an excellent resource for learning about Islam. 'The Holy Quran'

Also look for "Understanding Islam: An LDS Perspective," an audio lecture by Daniel C. Peterson, to learn about some of the parallels between Islam and Mormonism (this title is not currently listed on, but you can order it from Deseret Book).

The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation
The Dead Sea Scrolls are religious texts that date back to the first century A.D. Some of the scrolls contain copies of Biblical writings, and some are copies of extrabiblical and pseudepigraphal writings that claim to have been written by prophets including Enoch.

A few of the authors' commentaries in this book seem a bit questionable or sensational, but the scroll text itself is presented nicely. 'The Dead Sea Scrolls : A New Translation'

The Works of Josephus, Complete and Unabridged
Flavius Josephus, a first-century A.D. Jewish historian, wrote these several works that are useful for learning about Jewish history and beliefs during his lifetime. 'The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged, New Updated Edition'

Free Books
You can get a paperback edition of the Holy Bible (King James Version) or The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ for FREE from

Read any of the "standard works" (canonical scriptures) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (which includes the Old and New Testaments, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price) at

Download free MP3 audio versions of these scriptures from,5393,48,00.html

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