“THE HIDDEN BIBLE”: Paper & Pencil Archaeology—A Puzzle…
Warning: Danger and a bit of madness lie ahead.
It’s no secret that many today are unfamiliar with the 39 “books” in the “library” we call the Tanakh (or Old Testament) and the 27 books in the library we call the B’rit Hadashah (or New Testament) of the 66-volume Bible. So here’s a puzzle to help you get more familiar with their names. To help, open the Complete Jewish Bible to the Contents page, or a regular Christian Bible will serve just as well. (If books of the Apocrypha are also included, don’t consider them here.)
First, Bible books are arranged a bit differently in Bibles, but don’t worry about that. Or that books are titled a bit differently. (For example the second of the two books of Samuel might be listed in one Bible as “2 Samuel” and in another as “II Samuel,” or “ii Samuel”; or “Song of Solomon” might be called “Song of Songs”; and “The Acts of the Apostles” may be called just “Acts.”)
In the nonsense passage below many Bible books are lying in wait for you to discover them. Ignore punctuation, capitalization, spacing, and even paragraph divisions to dig out these books. Consider the entire article a single line of text. For example, on the first line below note the Bible book “EZRA” hiding within “…fEZ RAkishly…” How many of the other 65 books can you find? 15? 25 or more? What are they? Remember, as in the “2 Samuel” above, if a book has a number, it must be included before it (as “2,” “II,” “ii” or “Second”). And if a book has a two-part name, both parts have to be in exact sequence.
Permission is granted to download, copy, and use this with Sabbath, or Sunday School, or other students—so long as it is not sold for profit. I’d love to see who finds the most books (reply on FORUM on this website. Answers will be given in a future article.)
THE HIDDEN BIBLE by John Knapp II
(Sorry, no conceptual lesson whatever is intended!)
Hezekiah Paul Smith, wearing his fez rakishly, would storm out of Syracuse University’s losing games the ruthless, obnoxious way of a classic poor sport. At one loss to Ionia, however, he did revel at Iona’s full-court press. “It’s gotta be the heredity; the pattern of the genes is what determines outcome,” he told us, gesticulating wildly. Old HP, as we called him, judges there that the “very gods of Gotham oscillate in indecision” until they hear his remarks about hoop theory.”
Four of us find HP, whose anger is sometimes upsetting, fascinating. Now “Young HP,” or “Hawaii Pete (really his name! a lemony-haired “real” uke, or ukelele, player if I ever heard one) gazes with amazement; “Injun Joe” looks on vapidly (as if the techno-nerd might trip eternally through the tulips in a quest to, say, format the weird purple disk he once discovered for his “antique” computer); Lisa, (the only girl in our group and, I must confess, sometimes with Lisa I ah…uh lose all composure) always pays attention; and I, John, listen to HP’s strange rambling not missing a word for even a second…
Chronicles about odd Hezekiah occasionally show us things we can’t easily see elsewhere. So when I’m around HP I listen; later I write very carefully on paper what I consider important. To slip on the peel of a literary banana humbles me more than you realize! To say foolish things is embarrassing, like putting a MasterCard in a machine when, for credit, it uses VISA only, or like telling an artist a patch of earth is “brown,” rather than tan, umber, sienna, or some other precise shade.
“Remember, John,” says HP. Turning to the Middle East (another interest), “if to our horror, Oman’s first king slips, if he gets in a jam, especially if he brews a tempest in a teapot so to speak, a second king (sultan, really) should quietly replace him for the sake of peace.”
“Wait!” Hawaii Pete interrupts, bolting upright as if just awaking up. “Your opinions are no help in understanding anything. I…”
“You’re no help! Hi, Lemonhead!” I waved my hand, brushing away my own hair. “Wake up! What we’re saying is not what it first seems. Things here are not as simple as one, two, three.”
“John,” Hawaii Pete interrupts, “you may consider your job to write down all the facts, but mine is to make sense of things, number one, and number two, John, is to put what is consistent with Judeo-Christian values to music…and respond to the lamentations of the poor around us.” But the chord he then strummed was as plaintive as an old Londoner mourning loss of the Raj on a holiday in Calcutta.
“Well,” I replied, “let me make my exodus with a final word: I hope your first million ‘reaps alms for the poor and no qualms for the doer.’ Sounds like a good first line for something, doesn’t it?”
So how many of the 66 books can you find?
Mail me at [email protected] and tell me—and if you’d like your name mentioned if you, or your students, have success worth sharing in your archaeological dig. Or reply on the FORUM. Comments like “This is the clearest thing you’ve written so far!” though perhaps true, will be underappreciated, however. (The latest response on my feature articles on science and the Bible was, “You’re being too simple and easy.”)
I wonder how the Hazor archaeologists would fare here…
Becoming familiar with the books of the Bible is an important step in one’s lifetime study of the most interesting and best-selling book of all time.
By John Knapp II, PhD
(In honor of my youngest son Andrew who’s digging in Hazor, Israel as I write…)