This page describes the main resources I am using in my quixotic quest to understand the Bible in my spare time.
- The New English Bible with Apocrypha, Oxford Study Edition (1976)
I admitedly haven’t done a great deal of translation comparison, but this is the most readable translation I’ve come across. It includes copious footnotes and the annotation is generally scholarly- there is very little apologetics.
Unfortunately, the New English Bible was too scholarly for theists, and after two decades it was scrapped in favor of the Revised English Bible, to bring it in line with “tradition”.
- Who Wrote the Bible? (by Richard Elliott Friedman, 1987)
The seminal modern popular work on the Documentary Hypothesis, this book was my first introduction to the DH and still a major source of information. Available as a free ebook!
- The Bible with Sources Revealed (by Richard Elliot Friedman, 2003)
A translation of the Torah color-coded by JEPD source. You can quibble over the details, but this is a magnificent resource.
- The Oxford History of the Biblical World (1998)
I only recently picked this up, but it’s been bewilderingly informative. It’s a little dry, but it is as secular as can be expected. It contains decent coverage of the documentary hypothesis (it’s nice to learn about it from different perspectives) and the historical information is really helpful.
A hard-to-navigate but rewarding labyrinth of Biblical knowledge, focused mainly on the New Testament.
A Christian (duh) website that is nonetheless a decent introduction to Biblical Hebrew. Tread carefully.
The Hebrew Bible plus English translation, along with transliteration of the Hebrew and word-by-word glosses. The Interlinear Scripture Analyser software is a very useful searchable database of Bible goodness.