Telling It Simply by H.S. Higgins
There are already a great many excellent modern Bible translations, paraphrase, Biblical background books and story books on the market - I don’t feel that this fills any gap in the present market
Telling It Simply - the stories of the Bible
By H.S. Higgins
The Choir Press
ISBN No: 978 1 78963 089 3
Reviewed by Moira Kleissner
This thick book states that it is a simple and fun re-telling of the stories of the Bible, enabling those adults who find the Bible “too big,” to understand it.
In her biography, H.S. Higgins is stated as a "classical homeopathist” and “ecologist” who works part-time at her local Christian bookshop, spending a “lifetime studying the Bible through a varied academic career” and reaching across the age range. The book was conceived 40 years ago, in response to her uncle who found the Bible too difficult to read. The author had “a dream to write something that would help people of all ages access the Scriptures …”
It was self-published last year by The Choir Society. In the acknowledgements H.S. Higgins thanks “The Blue Bible,” an American Bible study website for help, also stating she used of a “range of commentaries.” Unfortunately, there is no index as to which these are. There are some Bible quotes included within the text but there is no reference to source, nor any copyright permission cited to any quotes or tables.
The type is clear and very readable and throughout there are helpful headings at the beginning of each story. The Old Testament section has some useful tables clarifying lists of kings and genealogies. An index is included with names and places used in the book and page numbers. The lack of reference to chapters within the Biblical books themselves impedes easy reference back to the Bible.
Like the Bible, the book starts with Genesis, picking out narratives in the Old Testament that the author classifies as important. The New Testament section, which is much shorter, covers the Gospels and Acts.
The story telling technique is somewhat prosaic, lacking life and description. There is very little in the way of scene setting, cultural or historical background. There are one or two glosses, but a reader without Bible knowledge would find much of the action and locations very unfamiliar. There are no maps, locating the stories in a geographical/historical context.
Although the author states that the purpose of the book is to make the Bible more intelligible through story, the language is unimaginative, plodding along with occasional jarring idiomatic slang, and some Americanisms which sound out of place. There are sections where the author can’t seem to resist a bit of a preach, which disrupts the narrative. This volume is basically another personal paraphrase of author-selected Biblical stories. It is expensive at £15.99.
There are already a great many excellent modern Bible translations, paraphrase, Biblical background books and story books on the market already, to enhance adult reading the Bible. So, although this volume has been published to fulfil a promise made 40 years ago, I don’t feel that it fills any gap in the present market.
Moira Kleissner – retired teacher, storyteller & minister’s wife