David Plotz read every word of the Hebrew Bible because he wanted to “find out what happens when an ignorant person actually reads the book on which his religion is based.” While arguably every reader who’s opened a Bible has started with such a blank slate, Plotz’s mission has some genuinely novel elements. He started his project as a blog experiment at Slate (where he’s editor-in-chief) and called it “Blogging the Bible.” A Jew, Plotz approached his task with nothing but his Hebrew-school and Christian-high-school educations as preparation—though the wide-eyed way he writes about his subsequent discoveries suggests that neither experience gave him much of a head start. He also decided to interpret what he read with little outside help, foregoing criticism and other forms of Biblical CliffsNotes except for fascinating reader e-mails. That project became Good Book: The Bizarre, Hilarious, Disturbing, Marvelous, and Inspiring Things I Learned When I Read Every Single Word of the Bible, a more structured chronicle of Plotz’s amusing journey through Genesis (“The Lord—not so good at follow-through”), Isaiah (“That God—He’s so Postmodern about gender!”), and the rest of the gang.
DAVID PLOTZ READS AT 6 P.M. AT POLITICS & PROSE BOOKSTORE, 5015 CONNECTICUT AVE. NW. FREE. (202) 364-1919.