Monday, July 22, 2013

All the Plants of the Bible by Winifred Walker

book cover
All the Plants of the Bible
by Winifred Walker

Hardcover: 244 pages
Publisher: Harper & Row
Released: 1957

Source: Borrowed from the library.

My Review:
All the Plants of the Bible is an illustrated Bible reference book about plants mentioned in the Bible. Each entry has two pages. On the right-hand side, there is a full page drawing of the plant showing its stem, leaves, flowers, and fruit/seed. On the left-hand side, we're told about the plant. This included the plant's name in English, in Hebrew or Greek, the official Latin name for it, and a verse from the Bible referring to the plant. The author also described what the plant looks like, what it was used for (if it was used), and where it grew or was imported from.

I found the information very interesting, but I'm not sure of the accuracy of all the information. For example, the author said that the apple mentioned in the Bible is now thought to be an apricot, but she didn't explain why or even who said that. We're told that some plants, like the aloe, meant one type of plant in the Old Testament and a different type of plant in the New Testament, but then we're given no further explanation was to why she thinks this.

Furthermore, she didn't appear to take the Bible very seriously. According to her, the "Burning Bush" that Moses saw simply had red leaves throughout it. And the Bible's recorded history about the Flood of Noah's time was dismissed as a bit of harmless flooding because it hadn't "spoiled the [olive] trees." But the Bible doesn't say the olive trees weren't spoiled, just that the dove brought back an olive leaf. So some of the plant information and identifications may be inaccurate due to the author's assumptions.

The plants covered in this book are: Algum Tree, Almond, Almug, Aloes (N.T.), Aloes (O.T.), Anise (dill), Apple (apricot), Aspalathus, Balm (balsam), Balm, Barley, Bdellium, Beans, Bitter Herbs, Box Tree, Bramble, Bulrush, Burning Bush, Camphire, Cassia, Cedar, Cedar of Lebanon, Chestnut (plane tree), Cinnamon, Cockle, Coriander, Cotton, Cucumber, Cummin, Cypress, Desire (caper), Dove's Dung (Star of Bethlehem), Ebony, Fig Tree, Fir (Aleppo pine), Fitches, Flax, Frankincense, Galbanum, Gall, Garlek, Goodly Fruit, Gourd, Green Bay Tree, Hemlock, Hyssop (N.T.), Hyssop (O.T.), Ivy, Judas Tree, Juniper, Leeks, Lentiles, Lilies, Lilies of the Field, Lily, Locusts, Mallows, Mandrake, Manna, Mastic Tree, Melon (watermelon), Mint, Mustard, Myrrh (N.T.), Myrrh (O.T.), Myrtle, Nettles, Nuts (walnut), Nuts (pistachio), Oak (holly oak), Oak (Valonia oak), Oil Tree, Olive, Onion, Onycha, Palm, Pannag (millet), Pine, Pomegranate, Popular, Reed, Rie (spelt), Rolling Thing (rose of Jericho), Rose (oleander), Rose, Rose (narcissus), Rose of Sharon, Rue, Rush, Saffron, Scarlet, Shittah Tree, Spices, Spikenard, Stacte (storax), Strange Vine, Sweet Cane (sugar cane), Sycamine (mulberry), Sycomore, Tares (darnel), Thistle, Crown of Thorns, Thorns, Thorns, Thyine Wood, Turpentine Tree (teil tree), Vine (grape), Vine of Sodom, Water Lily, Wheat, Wild Gord, Willow (aspen), Willow, Wormwood.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Unveiling Grace by Lynn K. Wilder

book cover
Unveiling Grace
by Lynn K. Wilder

ISBN-13: 9780310331124
Trade Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Zondervan
Released: August 20, 2013

Source: Review copy from the publisher through Booksneeze.

Book Description, Modified from Booksneeze:
A rare insider’s point of view into what it actually means to live as a Mormon--what the lifestyle is like, what its pressures are, and what its culture is like. This is the gripping story of the Michael and Lynn Wilder family - of how an entire family, deeply enmeshed in Mormonism for 30 years, found faith in Jesus Christ alone and left the Mormon Church.

It started with Lynn's son, Micah, who was challenged by someone he was trying to covert to read the New Testament like a child would. What he found surprised him. He urged his family to also read the New Testament. Eventually, they did, and they discovered grace. As Lynn tells her own story, she shows why the contrasts between Mormonism and Christianity make all the difference in the world.

My Review:
Unveiling Grace is the story of how Lynn Wilder's family joined the Mormon Church and, many years later, left the Mormon Church. It's primarily the story of her life, and it's an easy, interesting read that kept my attention.

She assumed the reader had some familiarity with the Mormon Church and used "Mormon jargon," but she also gave short explanations of the Mormon terms when new terms came up. Later in the book, she gave more details about Mormon beliefs and about what the jargon meant.

This book primarily focused on what life as a dedicated Mormon is like and what caused one family to leave the Mormon Church after years of devoted service. There is a lot of information about Mormon beliefs, but this is not primarily an apologetics book.

I found the book very interesting, and I feel that I better understand some things about my Mormon aunt and uncle. I'd highly recommend this book, especially to those who want to better understand the viewpoint that Mormons are coming from.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.