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3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated”  —  book review
Today’s review is for “3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated” (1991©) written by Donald E. Knuth.  Back in 2011, I read another book by Knuth, titled: “Things A Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About“. (Review here.)  That book, was a discussion about the author’s faith and his prior book, which is being reviewed in this post.  When I retired (in 2017), I was presented with an Amazon gift voucher, which I promised to “waste” on books, music or technology.  In this case, part of it was used to buy this book (along with a number of other Knuth books).
To save everyone the time of reading my earlier review, basically, Knuth wanted to know if one can learn anything unique or unusual about the Bible by doing a stratified (but random) sampling / review of a particular Bible verse.  In theory, if you have a sufficiently large sample to draw from, you can gain “some” knowledge about any topic by analyzing a random sample of the topic’s data.
Because Knuth was not sure this type of investigation would work for literature, Knuth chose a verse he knew would have at least one interesting data point: “Chapter 3 Verse 16”.  The chapter and verse he was confident about was John Chapter 3: Verse 16 – “Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only child, so that all people with faith in him can escape destruction, and live forever.
The first problem Knuth encounters is that not all of the books of the Bible have 13 verses in their chapter 3.  To get around this, he simply carried the sample forward the same number (count) of verses and take up wherever that left him.  There were, however, a number of books which were simply to short to use even this method.  In those instances, he simply chooses to drop the book. Knuth ends up with a sampling size of 59 verses.
The second issue was Knuth found scholars did not always (rarely, in fact) agree on what exactly was meant by the writings in the various Bible sources.  Not only were the scholars interpretations differing, so were the texts across the various Bible versions.  There was (is) even disagreement on if some source material is valid and / or should be included in the Bible.
In order to determine why this was happening, Knuth determined to read the Bibles in their original Hebrew / Aramaic and Greek / Latin.  He could then present his own translations as he felt they should be interpreted.  In addition, he felt he needed to translate the verses immediately before and after the target verse to ensure he was accurately relating context as well as the literal meaning.
The method of describing each of the 59 verses itself is interesting.  Each verse is covered in four pages.  Page one provides overall historic, geographic and character background information.  The second page is devoted to a calligraphic representation of the verse.  The final two pages are a word by word breakdown of the verse.  In order to do this in a manner which makes sense, Knuth sometimes adds an analysis of the preceding or following verse(s).  Just a word on the calligraphy.  Knuth approached a friend who happened to be a world renowned typeface designer to assist with the book cover illustration.  The friend (Hermann Zapf), in turn commissioned calligraphers from over 20 countries to provide the “illustration” pages.  This calligraphy, in turn, became part of a formal exhibit which I believe is currently “owned” by the San Francisco Library.  I don’t know if it (the entire exhibit) is ever shown publicly.  I know it was back in 2011, but I was not able to go view it back then.  My loss, I am sure.
So, is this book interesting?  Is it entertaining?  Is it enlightening?  Yes.  Yes, and Yes!  I am a life-long Roman Catholic, but I have never read the Bible through cover to cover.  I tried to a few years back, but had limited knowledge of the names and places and found it rather boring.  I attempted to co-read Isaac Asimov’s “Guide To The Bible“, but even this was of limited value.  I now think I just gave up too soon.  Mea culpa.
Almost every chapter of this book explained something I didn’t know or fully appreciate about the book being covered in that chapter.  Some were simple “interesting”.  Some were “that never occurred to me”.  And, some (a few) were “Wow! I’ve got to go back and read that!”  Anytime I read a book which prompts me to read more or more in-depth, I am grateful to the author.  (I’m still not sure if I’m weird that way…)  In any case, I’m now more determined than ever to read more of Knuth’s books.
In this case: final recommendation – very highly recommended!!  Even if you are not a Biblical scholar or particularly religious, this book will provide insight into one of the greatest books in all of literature.  At less than 270 pages, this is a fast read and the calligraphy is truly beautiful.  Two final notes: 1) in the afterward, Knuth wonders if his selection of “3:16” was not “influenced” and therefor not entirely random.  His conclusion was, with further analysis, it may have been, but was not intentional.  He adds, however, that he enjoyed the process so much he intends to use the methodology for further future study of other verses.  And, 2) I’ve seen in various places this book was copyright in 1990.  My version says 1991 and that’s the year I’m using above.
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On This Day In:
2018 Happy 34th Anniversary, Hil!!
2017 Happy 33rd Anniversary, Hil!!
2016 Happy 32nd Anniversary, Hil!!
2015 Happy Anniversary Hil!!
2014 30th Wedding Anniversary
2013 Number 29 (And Counting)
2012 Hammer ‘N Roses
Happy Anniversary
2011 I Can Hear It Now

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…The onus is always on us, we the oppressed, to challenge a system that wants to conserve its traditions and traditional values.  We come to understand that if we want to be included in the American conversation, we have to work twice as hard while being told that we’re lazy, or that the government gives us money, and then told that we’re angry if we bring up the problem of racism in public spaces or when it doesn’t feel like the right time.  So we keep putting off these conversations, or we’re having them on the Internet, where it’s too easy to be anonymous and therefore cruel and selfish.  It’s like car drivers behaving dangerously on the road, simply because they’re hidden behind metal, glass and distance.  In our more personal online spaces we fill our feeds exclusively with people we agree with.  If there is conflict below a post or tweet it never feels like a conversation – only like road rage.
So if we can’t seem to find ways to talk in person, or online, when and where and how do we talk?  I think a novel is a kind of conversation.  Both the writer and the reader bring their experience to the page.  The reader’s experiences and ideas can be reshaped, challenged, changed.  I know, I’m a writer, so of course I think the answer is books, but I think reading books is a good place to start thinking about and understanding people’s stories you aren’t familiar with, outside your comfort zone and experience.  A novel will ask you to walk in a character’s shoes, and this can build empathy.  Without empathy we are lost.  I tend to read mostly novels and have come to understand the world better through the lens of novels.  When someone else’s world is different from our own, we see how we are the same.  We not only become more empathetic to their experience but we see how we are equal.  We also see how much upper-middle-class white male writing has been the only thing taught in schools, the only experience for so long – most of the time anyway.  I think institutional change can come by teaching women, teaching writers of color.  We will all be better for it.  I like that novels ask us without seeming to ask us to think about other people, to understand the many-storied landscape of this country we live and die in – with or without truly knowing or understanding them.
  —  Tommy Orange
Excerpt from his editorial / opinion piece: “What Novels Can Teach Us
Appearing in: Time Magazine, dtd: 5 November 2018
Online at:  https://time.com/5434396/tommy-orange-novels-conversations/
Online the article is titled: “How to Talk To Each Other When There’s Little Common Ground
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On This Day In:
2018 And Pay In Full
2017 If Only
2016 Equal Justice
2015 Not Enough
2014 Are You Even Listening?
2013 Namaste
2012 Looking Up
2011 Et Tu Brute?

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I find television very educating.  Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.
  ―  Groucho Marx
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On This Day In:
2018 Used To Rejection
Day 16: Looking Ahead (Just A Little)
2017 Tonight
I Rejoice
2016 Conscientious Courage
Speaking Of Which…
2015 The Beautiful Snow
2014 Nurtured By The Voices
2013 Précis
2012 Fear And Understanding
2011 Just Being Human

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The best students come from homes where education is revered: where there are books, and children see their parents reading them.
  —  Leo Buscaglia
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On This Day In:
2018 Is #45 STILL Losing America
2017 We Sleep To Remember And We Sleep To Forget
2016 Useful Gift
2015 Who’s The Boss?
2014 What Counts In The Future
2013 Improper Sequence?
2012 Two Gems
2011 A True Test

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A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end.  You live several lives while reading.
  ––  William Styron
[In life, a great partner / soulmate / spouse should share their life and deepen yours.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2018 Dead Red
You Ain’t Done Yet
2017 Just Because
2016 As Close As They Can Get
2015 And So I Blog
2014 Take Flight
2013 Contributing Joy
2012 More Than A Race
2011 Institutionalized Leadership

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This book review is for: “Loving Each Other” (1984©), written by Dr. Leo Buscaglia.  (The “Dr.” is for PhD, not Medical Doctor.)  Dr. Buscaglia was half-known as “Dr. Love”, and was pretty much world famous as an author and motivational / relationship speaker back in the 1980’s / 1990’s.  He was also a lecturing professor at the University of Southern California.  He has since passed away (1998), but you can view some of his lectures and interviews on YouTube.
This is a book I’ve been carrying around for decades and just never got around to reading.  Back in the 1980’s, my wife and I used to watch Buscaglia’s lectures on Public Television (KQED) during “pledge week”, and this book (my copy) is marked as being from KQED and “Not For Sale”.   Which is okay, because I’m probably not going to sell it.  It has too many quotes for me to use as future posts on my blog (LoL).
The book is sub-titled: “The Challenge of Human Relationships” and that’s pretty much what the book is all about.  It seems as part of his academic work researching “successful” relationships, Dr. Buscaglia sent out a survey to 1,000 folks and received back an over 60% response rate.  Dr. Leo analyzed the responses and this book is his summary of what the respondents opinions were of why relationships succeed (and fail).  The book has ten chapters: an intro / definition of a “loving relationship”, three ending chapters – kind of a two-headed summary of the book, a chapter quoting some of the advise from the survey / questionnaire, and it has six chapters dealing with (what the Dr. believes) are the key components of  a successful, long-term relationship.  The components are: Communication, Honesty, Forgiveness, Joy, Letting go of jealousy, and Intimacy.  The chapter with the advise quotes is really just filler to get the book up to the 200 page minimum for this type of relationship / self-help book.  (IMHO)
So, is the book interesting and any good?  Yes and yes.  The Doctor is a terrific public speaker and the book completely mimics his style.  There are absolutely no “airs” about him or his family / up-bringing and this makes for a true family history story-telling.  At just 208 pages (including notes and bibliography / further reading), the book will be a fast read for most.  The book took me a couple of weeks to get through, because I was using it as a prompt to my imagination of future conversations I could have with my wife.  I started the book while she was away visiting her family in Liverpool this month.  Even a slow reader (like myself) could get through this book in three days of a couple of hours each day.  The author’s conversational style of writing makes for a pleasant break in an otherwise hectic / “normal” day.  I found myself intentionally pacing myself so I could enjoy the book longer.  Reading it was like catching up with an old friend you haven’t seen in awhile and wanting to stay just a few minutes longer.
Final recommendation:  Very Highly Recommended!  I have actually gone online to try to find a copy of the survey Dr. Buscaglia sent out, but have not located it.  I am tempted to re-create a portion of the survey to post on this blog to see what results I might get.  Given I have so few followers, it might be possible for me to offer up the results “raw” and / or if I did happen to get sufficient responses, I might analyze them and compare / contrast the results with those from the book.  It just sounds like it might be an interesting project for the future…
There is a saying in the martial arts that when a student is ready a master will appear.  I guess the time was ripe for me to finally read this book.  Again, if you can’t afford to buy Dr. Buscaglia’s books, several of his lectures are available online (on YouTube).  I highly recommend those, too!
You will, of course, see multiple quotes from this book appearing in the future.
Love, Hugs and Smiles to all…
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On This Day In:
2018 No Pride There
London To The Hague
2017 At Least Twenty To Go
2016 A Sweet Smelling Blog Post
Pre-Reacher
2015 Getting The Story Right
2014 Like Shells On The Shore
2013 More And Why
2012 How To Gain Effective Fire
2011 Patriot Act

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Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world.
  ―  Napoléon Bonaparte
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On This Day In:
2018 We Can Only Pray
2017 Heavier At That End
2016 The Difference Is Craftsmanship
2015 However Vast The Darkness
2014 The Omnipresent Teacher
2013 Don’t Waste
2012 Earning Thanks
2011 Fuzzy Vision
2010 Movies and Book

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