Garrison Keillor and Dan Johnson both grew up in the bosom of fundamentalism. Their shared love of the Bible and its stories led to this collaboration, which blends details from all the gospels into a single book-length story.
Keillor narrates the biography of this amazing man, Jesus, from the slum of Nazareth in the province of Galilee, who confounded dignitaries, healed the sick, and taught those who would listen. He claimed to be God, and that through his death God would graciously forgive the offenses of all who accept this. His story is the foundation from which Christianity has developed, stumbled, and evolved.
Centuries ago, early Christians listened as the Bible was read to them. This new recording continues that tradition with a conversational translation performed by America's favorite storyteller.
©1996 Tyndale Charitable Trust (P)2006 HighBridge Company
"It's hard to imagine a more perfect match than Garrison Keillor reading the New Testament's Gospels....Listeners will invariably discover that upon hearing the New Testament read aloud-as it was intended to be-they will encounter familiar stories in fresh ways and less familiar stories for what feels like the first time. They couldn't hope to have a more gifted and companionable guide than Keillor." (Publishers Weekly)
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I love hearing Garrison Keillor tell stories, so I figured that the master storyteller and "the greatest story ever told" would be a perfect match.
I was wrong.
GK sounds as if he's simply reading this story, and not telling it. In fact, I've heard people read the lessons at church on a Sunday morning with more feeling and excitement than he seems to be putting in here.
To be fair, he may have approached this as he would to reading one of the Sunday morning lessons, and not as if he were telling one of his Lake Wobegon stories; but reading a short passage in church is much different than reading something where you expect to hold the listener's attention for over an hour. The only reason I didn't fall asleep as I was listening was because I've been listening during my daily half-hour walks.
And this brings us to another problem: the chapters are too long. They average over an hour each. As I said earlier, with chapters that long, the reader needs to be more dynamic, and I was disappointed with GK in that regard. But the other problem is that there are no natural breaks before the end of the chapter at which one could pause the book and come back to it later on.
I started this audiobook after Ash Wednesday, thinking it would be a great thing to listen to during Lent. Now I'm starting to think of it as my Lenten sacrifice.
"Simple Reading of the Greatest Story Ever Told"
The audio book is exactly what I was looking for - the gospels blended into a single story and in a conversational translation that still follows more literal translations as closely as possible. This book is easy to listen to. Garrison Keillor's simple reading is not distracting and allows the words to stand on their own. I find the reading excellent in allowing for contemplation and reflection on the words of Jesus, which is exactly what I was looking for, as opposed to a more dramatic reading. Listen to the sample: What you hear is what you get.
"A Simple Reading"
Jesus never wrote down his teachings--no that we know of. There's no account of it, if he did. His teachings and the stories told about him, scholars agree, almost certainly had an oral history before being put down in writing. So, it's good to experience vocal Gospels.But what you don't want--at least I don't--is a dramatic reading. When the Gospels are read in a high church (Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, sometimes Lutheran), readers are instructed to read the simply, plainly. The idea is that you trust the word to do it's work and you don't manifest trust if you are trying to prop up the verses with some sort of performance. There is spiritual wisdom in this instruction. Thankfully, that is just how Garrison Keillor does it.
Mr. Keillor has a beautiful deep voice, a ponderous vibrancy that touches the marrow of those who listen. There's no need for eruption, speed changes, dramatic pauses. He just reads it allows the words, the lines, the teachings and the stories to do their own work.I have more than a few audible Bibles, none of them approach the spirituality I experience in this simple reading.
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