From time to time, I offer free books. This time, I'm giving away a copy of "The Deuteronomy Project" by Richard R. Couser. I mentioned this book on the blog a little while back.
This book offers the most unique method for studying a book of the Bible that I have ever seen. Couser has taken the entire book of Deuteronomy and explained it by using dialogue between two main characters and several other characters within the book. Much of it is a conversation between Hal, a retired pastor, and Chris, a lawyer who persuades Hal to be his mentor.
Narrated by Chris, the book isn't a dry commentary on a book of the Bible, even though the entire book of Deuteronomy is quoted in the text. Instead, it's a creative way of teaching the reader about scripture without lecturing. There is enough dialogue and description to make the book read like a work of fiction and all of the interaction between the characters is fiction. However, there is no doubt that what Hal teaches to Chris is pure truth. Hal gives Chris reading assignments and then they discuss those passages in their next encounter. The reader participates as an observer of every discussion and every scripture that Chris reads with Hal. It's easy to imagine how beneficial it would be if we each had our own Hal, a mature Christian to explain difficult passages of scripture! For the reader who doesn't have a spiritual mentor, Hal will become one through Couser's work. The reader will walk away understanding use of repetition in scripture, carefully constructed patterns in the text, and the cultural backgrounds that flow throughout the passages.
The reader who is looking for a deeper understanding of Deuteronomy minus the sermon or dry theological commentary will love this book. It's long, and it's an in-depth analysis, so it isn't for the reader who has just ten minutes to read before bed each night. It's a work to be tackled by the brave reader who is up for a good thought-provoking read. The author obviously studied and knew scripture well. This review is a tribute to Couser's life, a life cut short by cancer, but a life that continues to bless many others through words that live on.
To enter the drawing, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org along with your name and mailing address. Winner will be drawn on April 22, 2009. (Names and addresses will not be used for purposes other than this drawing and will not be distributed in any way).