100 books like Adam, Eve, and the Serpent

By Elaine Pagels,

Here are 100 books that Adam, Eve, and the Serpent fans have personally recommended if you like Adam, Eve, and the Serpent. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now

Michael L. Satlow Author Of How the Bible Became Holy

From my list on how to read the Bible.

Why am I passionate about this?

No matter how you read it, the Bible is a strange book. It weaves together beautiful narratives and deadly-dull genealogies; uplifting messages with passages that many today find ethically repulsive. Yet it gained an extraordinary authority, in a predominantly pre-literate society. The question of how this happened has been an intellectual and scholarly preoccupation of mine for decades, and as a professor at Brown University I seek to bring my students and readers into this very foreign world in order to open their eyes to new possibilities in the present.

Michael's book list on how to read the Bible

Michael L. Satlow Why did Michael love this book?

James Kugel, a professor at Harvard and then Bar Ilan University in Israel, has been writing for years on how the Hebrew Bible was read and understood in antiquity. How to Read the Bible will bring you on a remarkable journey through time. Kugel selectively goes through the Hebrew Bible, contrasting how those in antiquity read, understood, and interpreted biblical stories with how modern scholars do. The book is long, and can be read in sections. Kugel’s discussions of both the academic study of the Bible and the way he understands the Bible as both a critic and an Orthodox Jew, are outstanding.

By James L. Kugel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Read the Bible as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

James Kugel’s essential introduction and companion to the Bible combines modern scholarship with the wisdom of ancient interpreters for the entire Hebrew Bible.

As soon as it appeared, How to Read the Bible was recognized as a masterwork, “awesome, thrilling” (The New York Times), “wonderfully interesting, extremely well presented” (The Washington Post), and “a tour de force...a stunning narrative” (Publishers Weekly). Now, this classic remains the clearest, most inviting and readable guide to the Hebrew Bible around—and a profound meditation on the effect that modern biblical scholarship has had on traditional belief.

Moving chapter by chapter, Harvard professor James Kugel…


Book cover of Who Wrote the Bible?

Michael L. Satlow Author Of How the Bible Became Holy

From my list on how to read the Bible.

Why am I passionate about this?

No matter how you read it, the Bible is a strange book. It weaves together beautiful narratives and deadly-dull genealogies; uplifting messages with passages that many today find ethically repulsive. Yet it gained an extraordinary authority, in a predominantly pre-literate society. The question of how this happened has been an intellectual and scholarly preoccupation of mine for decades, and as a professor at Brown University I seek to bring my students and readers into this very foreign world in order to open their eyes to new possibilities in the present.

Michael's book list on how to read the Bible

Michael L. Satlow Why did Michael love this book?

Who Wrote the Bible? is my go-to book for explaining to undergraduates the classic Documentary Hypothesis, that is, the theory that describes how humans wrote and edited the Bible. Friedman’s style is clear and engaging, and he frames his explanation as an academic mystery. I (with other scholars) don’t always agree with his conclusions, but they responsible and worth considering. My students regularly note that this was their favorite book of the semester.

By Richard Elliott Friedman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Who Wrote the Bible? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A much anticipated reissue of Who Wrote the Bible?—the contemporary classic the New York Times Book Review called “a thought-provoking [and] perceptive guide” that identifies the individual writers of the Pentateuch and explains what they can teach us about the origins of the Bible.

For thousands of years, the prophet Moses was regarded as the sole author of the first five books of the Bible, known as the Pentateuch. According to tradition, Moses was divinely directed to write down foundational events in the history of the world: the creation of humans, the worldwide flood, the laws as they were handed…


Book cover of The Jewish Study Bible

Michael L. Satlow Author Of How the Bible Became Holy

From my list on how to read the Bible.

Why am I passionate about this?

No matter how you read it, the Bible is a strange book. It weaves together beautiful narratives and deadly-dull genealogies; uplifting messages with passages that many today find ethically repulsive. Yet it gained an extraordinary authority, in a predominantly pre-literate society. The question of how this happened has been an intellectual and scholarly preoccupation of mine for decades, and as a professor at Brown University I seek to bring my students and readers into this very foreign world in order to open their eyes to new possibilities in the present.

Michael's book list on how to read the Bible

Michael L. Satlow Why did Michael love this book?

I’m going to cheat here and put this book together with two others, The Jewish Annotated New Testament and The Jewish Annotated Apocrypha. Each of these three books has the biblical text; explanatory notes that include scholarly perspectives; and a lengthy set of essays by well-noted scholars. All of these parts of the Bible were written (primarily) by and for Jews in antiquity—including much of the New Testament—and these books seek to recover how they were read and functioned in antiquity.

By Adele Berlin (editor), Marc Zvi Brettler (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Jewish Study Bible as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First published in 2004, The Jewish Study Bible is a landmark, one-volume resource tailored especially for the needs of students of the Hebrew Bible. It has won acclaim from readers in all religious traditions.

The Jewish Study Bible combines the entire Hebrew Bible-in the celebrated Jewish Publication Society TANAKH Translation-with explanatory notes, introductory materials, and essays by leading biblical scholars on virtually every aspect of the text, the world in which it was written, its interpretation, and its role in Jewish life. The quality of scholarship, easy-to-navigate format, and vibrant supplementary features bring the ancient text to life.

This second…


Book cover of A Guide for the Perplexed

Michael L. Satlow Author Of How the Bible Became Holy

From my list on how to read the Bible.

Why am I passionate about this?

No matter how you read it, the Bible is a strange book. It weaves together beautiful narratives and deadly-dull genealogies; uplifting messages with passages that many today find ethically repulsive. Yet it gained an extraordinary authority, in a predominantly pre-literate society. The question of how this happened has been an intellectual and scholarly preoccupation of mine for decades, and as a professor at Brown University I seek to bring my students and readers into this very foreign world in order to open their eyes to new possibilities in the present.

Michael's book list on how to read the Bible

Michael L. Satlow Why did Michael love this book?

Although this is my fun pick, it is also a serious book that I use in the classroom. There have been countless attempts by modern authors to retell biblical stories. Horn’s book creatively transfers the biblical story of Joseph and his brothers to the modern period, with a feminist twist. This book is engaging and coherent enough that it can be read and enjoyed without any knowledge of the Bible or Jewish history, although such knowledge makes it all the better!

By Dara Horn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Guide for the Perplexed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Software prodigy Josie Ashkenazi has invented an application that records everything its users do. When she visits the Library of Alexandria as a tech consultant, she is abducted in Egypt's postrevolutionary chaos with only a copy of the philosopher Maimonides' famous work to anchor her-leaving her jealous sister Judith free to take over her life. A century earlier, Cambridge professor Solomon Schechter arrives in Egypt, hunting for a medieval archive hidden in a Cairo synagogue. Their stories intertwine in this spellbinding novel of how technology changes memory and how memory shapes the soul.


Book cover of The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge

Dawn Baumann Brunke Author Of Awakening the Ancient Power of Snake: Transformation, Healing, and Enlightenment

From my list on the history, mystery, and healing power of snakes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an animal communicator and author of many books about our deeper connections with the animal world. A powerful dream featuring an archetypal Snake ignited my curiosity about snakes and inspired me to learn more. I immersed myself into the history, biology, and incredible diversity of snakes as well as their role in art, myth, medicine, and dreams. I also lived with two rescue snakes: a shy ball python named Carl and lively corn snake named Chloe. What I found was not only fascinating but life-changing. This book celebrates the mystery of Snake and the undeniable wisdom and healing that it offers our world.  

Dawn's book list on the history, mystery, and healing power of snakes

Dawn Baumann Brunke Why did Dawn love this book?

Tracing Snake back to ancient times in its role as creator god, anthropologist Jeremy Narby follows both a scientific and shamanic approach to understanding our connection with Snake in its role as healer and mentor.

Why do life-creating, knowledge-imparting snakes appear in the visions, myths, and dreams of countless humans, Narby asks. Could this mythical serpent that created life be another way of perceiving the DNA molecule, which holds the organizing principle inherent in all life?

Highly recommended for a fascinating journey into the nature of reality and ourselves!  

By Jeremy Narby,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Cosmic Serpent as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This adventure in science and imagination, which the Medical Tribune said might herald "a Copernican revolution for the life sciences," leads the reader through unexplored jungles and uncharted aspects of mind to the heart of knowledge.In a first-person narrative of scientific discovery that opens new perspectives on biology, anthropology, and the limits of rationalism, The Cosmic Serpent reveals how startlingly different the world around us appears when we open our minds to it.


Book cover of Snakes: The Evolution of Mystery in Nature

Dawn Baumann Brunke Author Of Awakening the Ancient Power of Snake: Transformation, Healing, and Enlightenment

From my list on the history, mystery, and healing power of snakes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an animal communicator and author of many books about our deeper connections with the animal world. A powerful dream featuring an archetypal Snake ignited my curiosity about snakes and inspired me to learn more. I immersed myself into the history, biology, and incredible diversity of snakes as well as their role in art, myth, medicine, and dreams. I also lived with two rescue snakes: a shy ball python named Carl and lively corn snake named Chloe. What I found was not only fascinating but life-changing. This book celebrates the mystery of Snake and the undeniable wisdom and healing that it offers our world.  

Dawn's book list on the history, mystery, and healing power of snakes

Dawn Baumann Brunke Why did Dawn love this book?

This very engaging, well-written (and weighty!) book shares Harry Green’s personal experiences with snakes, along with an overview of the history, biology, and wide range of snakes—from their unique lifestyles and diet to their behavior and amazing adaptations to living in so many different environments on land, under the earth, in the seas and water, and even gliding through the air.

The text is complemented by color images of many different snake species by internationally-known nature photographers Michael and Patricia Fogden. Overall, an excellent resource for all things Snake!  

By Harry W. Greene, Michael Fogden (photographer), Patricia Fogden (photographer)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Snakes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a book about some of nature's most alluring and forbidding creatures, written by a man with an abiding passion for snakes, as well as for science, the fate of the planet, and the wonder of life. Harry Greene presents every facet of the natural history of snakes--their diversity, evolution, and conservation--and at the same time makes a personal statement of why these animals are so compelling. This book provides an up-to-date summary of the biology of snakes on a global basis. Eight chapters are devoted to general biology topics, including anatomy, feeding, venoms, predation and defense, social behavior,…


Book cover of Insights Into the Consciousness of Snake Remedies

Dawn Baumann Brunke Author Of Awakening the Ancient Power of Snake: Transformation, Healing, and Enlightenment

From my list on the history, mystery, and healing power of snakes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an animal communicator and author of many books about our deeper connections with the animal world. A powerful dream featuring an archetypal Snake ignited my curiosity about snakes and inspired me to learn more. I immersed myself into the history, biology, and incredible diversity of snakes as well as their role in art, myth, medicine, and dreams. I also lived with two rescue snakes: a shy ball python named Carl and lively corn snake named Chloe. What I found was not only fascinating but life-changing. This book celebrates the mystery of Snake and the undeniable wisdom and healing that it offers our world.  

Dawn's book list on the history, mystery, and healing power of snakes

Dawn Baumann Brunke Why did Dawn love this book?

Homeopath Sadhana Thakkar helps to dispel the negative image of snakes by revealing how profoundly snake remedies can help humans heal and awaken.

The author offers an introduction to the physiology, temperament, lifestyle, and survival strategies of many snakes, and reveals how homeopaths match these patterns to effective venom-based remedies.

Homeopathy itself is a fascinating study, and Thakkar does an excellent job of deepening our understanding of how and why it works through her many stories of humans successfully treated with snake remedies. I found this book super informative and fascinating to read!  

Book cover of The Lizard King: The True Crimes and Passions of the World's Greatest Reptile Smugglers

Dawn Baumann Brunke Author Of Awakening the Ancient Power of Snake: Transformation, Healing, and Enlightenment

From my list on the history, mystery, and healing power of snakes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an animal communicator and author of many books about our deeper connections with the animal world. A powerful dream featuring an archetypal Snake ignited my curiosity about snakes and inspired me to learn more. I immersed myself into the history, biology, and incredible diversity of snakes as well as their role in art, myth, medicine, and dreams. I also lived with two rescue snakes: a shy ball python named Carl and lively corn snake named Chloe. What I found was not only fascinating but life-changing. This book celebrates the mystery of Snake and the undeniable wisdom and healing that it offers our world.  

Dawn's book list on the history, mystery, and healing power of snakes

Dawn Baumann Brunke Why did Dawn love this book?

While this book is less about snakes and more about the people who are obsessed with snakes, I recommend it for a fascinating perspective on the dark intrigue and alluring mystery inherent in our relationship with snakes.

Why are some individuals (and institutions!) willing to pay exorbitant amounts of money to possess a rare snake? Why do wildlife traffickers go to incredibly dangerous lengths to find, capture and smuggle snakes on trucks, trains, and planes across international borders? And why do others make it their personal mission to stop these illegal activities?

An engaging book that is difficult to put down! 

By Bryan Christy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lizard King as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Bryan Christy began to investigate the world of reptile smuggling, he had no idea what he would be in for. In the course of his research, he was bitten between the eyes by a blood python, chased by a mother alligator, and sprayed by a bird-eating tarantula. But perhaps more dangerous was coming face to face with Michael J. Van Nostrand, owner of Strictly Reptiles, a thriving family business in Hollywood, Florida. Van Nostrand imports as many as 300,000 iguanas each year (over half the total of America's most popular imported reptile), as well as hundreds of thousands of…


Book cover of Augustine of Hippo: A Biography

Sara Lipton Author Of Dark Mirror: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Jewish Iconography

From my list on medieval religious history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was raised in a Jewish but completely secular family, with no religious traditions or affiliations. Perhaps because religion was so exotic, I have always found it fascinating. In college, I gravitated toward topics in medieval religion, which crystallized the strangeness of an era both earthy and intensely devout. I wanted to understand why an Anglo-Saxon monk sitting in a cold monastery in northern England cared so much about biblical history. Or how Saint Bernard could so relentlessly hound a fellow monk over a scholarly treatise, yet also work energetically to protect Jews from violence. I can't say I'll ever fully comprehend the force of religion, but I love trying.

Sara's book list on medieval religious history

Sara Lipton Why did Sara love this book?

Augustine's Confessions is an extraordinary book, but it is not always an easy one! Readers looking for help in understanding its brilliant author can do no better than to turn to Peter Brown's biography, first published in 1967. It is a beautifully written, lucid, and illuminating study of Augustine's life and thought, the best possible guide to both the man and his world. In an Epilogue added for the forty-fifth-anniversary edition, Brown discusses what he and other scholars have learned in the decades since he first wrote the book, and how his ideas about Augustine have changed, demonstrating the curiosity and openness that are the hallmarks of a great scholar.

By Peter Brown,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Augustine of Hippo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This classic biography was first published forty-five years ago and has since established itself as the standard account of Saint Augustine's life and teaching.


Book cover of The Resurrection of the Son of God

Rodney Holder Author Of Ramified Natural Theology in Science and Religion: Moving Forward from Natural Theology

From my list on my Christian faith confirmed through science.

Why am I passionate about this?

I believe that the most important questions one can possibly ask are, ‘Is there a God?’ and ‘Is Jesus God in human flesh?’ Since becoming a Christian at University in Cambridge the answers I have found to these questions have been the bedrock of my life. They have been confirmed by experience and I have wanted to share them. My academic work has been devoted to them. I am an astrophysicist as well as a priest and find, contrary to popular conceptions, that these vocations fit wonderfully neatly together. I am persuaded that there is a wealth of evidence for the truth of Christian beliefs, including from science itself.

Rodney's book list on my Christian faith confirmed through science

Rodney Holder Why did Rodney love this book?

Tom Wright is the leading New Testament scholar of today. This powerful and persuasive magnum opus brings Wright’s skills as the finest historian of the period to bear on his subject matter. He sets Jesus’ resurrection well and truly in its historical context. The idea of a general resurrection at the end of time may have been around but not the resurrection within time of a single individual. Yet all the evidence leads inexorably to the conclusion that this is precisely what happened. This was not a belief that emerged over time and then found its way into the gospels but the very foundation of Christian preaching and writing from the beginning and the basis of the existence and spread of the church from its earliest days.

By N. T. Wright,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Resurrection of the Son of God as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book, third in Wright's series Christian Origins and the Question of God, sketches a map of ancient beliefs about life after death, in both the Greco-Roman and Jewish worlds. It then highlights the fact that the early Christians' belief about the afterlife belonged firmly on the Jewish spectrum, while introducing several new mutations and sharper definitions. This, together with other features of early Christianity, forces the historian to read the Easter narratives in the gospels, not simply as late rationalizations of early Christian spirituality, but as accounts of two actual events: the empty tomb of Jesus and his "appearances."


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