100 books like Plato and the Creation of the Hebrew Bible

By Russell E. Gmirkin,

Here are 100 books that Plato and the Creation of the Hebrew Bible fans have personally recommended if you like Plato and the Creation of the Hebrew Bible. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of The Great Angel: A Study of Israel's Second God

R.G. Price Author Of Deciphering the Gospels: Proves Jesus Never Existed

From my list on the (actual) origins of Christianity and Judaism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by the Bible since my earliest days in Sunday school, coloring pictures of Noah’s Ark. Yet, even as a young child I was very skeptical of the Christian interpretation of biblical stories, seeing that they couldn’t possibly be true. But I’ve always respected the Bible as a literary work and sought to understand its details. In my years of researching the Bible and Christian origins, several works stand out as being particularly important in shaping my understanding of Judaism and Christianity. These are those books.

R.G.'s book list on the (actual) origins of Christianity and Judaism

R.G. Price Why did R.G. love this book?

This book was published in 1992, prior to the recent revolution in our understanding of Jewish and Christian origins, but no book has done more to revolutionize my own understanding of Jewish and Christian origins than this one. What is so important about this book is not any specific fact or revelation, but rather the framework that Margaret Barker establishes for understanding the complex development of Jewish concepts of divinity. Barker shows how the polytheistic roots of Semitic religion led to ongoing turmoil within ancient Judaism and interpretations of the scriptures in ways that indicated there were two or more divine beings, not one.

By Margaret Barker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What did "Son of God," "Messiah," and "Lord," mean to the first Christians when they used these words to describe their beliefs about Jesus? In this book Margaret Barker explores the possibility that, in the expectations and traditions of first-century Palestine, these titles belonged together, and that the first Christians fit Jesus' identity into an existing pattern of belief. She claims that pre-Christian Judaism was not monotheistic and that the roots of Christian Trinitarian theology lie in a pre-Christian Palestinian belief about angels--a belief derived from the ancient religion of Israel, in which there was a "High God" and several…


Book cover of The Old Enemy: Satan and the Combat Myth

R.G. Price Author Of Deciphering the Gospels: Proves Jesus Never Existed

From my list on the (actual) origins of Christianity and Judaism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by the Bible since my earliest days in Sunday school, coloring pictures of Noah’s Ark. Yet, even as a young child I was very skeptical of the Christian interpretation of biblical stories, seeing that they couldn’t possibly be true. But I’ve always respected the Bible as a literary work and sought to understand its details. In my years of researching the Bible and Christian origins, several works stand out as being particularly important in shaping my understanding of Judaism and Christianity. These are those books.

R.G.'s book list on the (actual) origins of Christianity and Judaism

R.G. Price Why did R.G. love this book?

The key to understanding the development of Judaism and Christianity is understanding how the problem of evil was interpreted in antiquity. There are many books on the subject, but Neil Forsyth’s is my personal favorite. His book is very thorough, covering the topic from ancient polytheistic Mediterranean mythology up through the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Gnostics, and early Christianity. We can see that within religions of Semitic origin, there was fierce debate over whether evil was introduced by God himself, other heavenly beings such as angels or sons of God, by Satan, or by human beings. This led to debate over who the ruler of this world, the “material world,” really was. Was it God? Was it Satan? Was Satan actually God? These questions were of critical importance when Christianity emerged, and Forsyth’s book provides essential context.

By Neil Forsyth,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The description for this book, The Old Enemy: Satan and the Combat Myth, will be forthcoming.


Book cover of The First Edition of the New Testament

R.G. Price Author Of Deciphering the Gospels: Proves Jesus Never Existed

From my list on the (actual) origins of Christianity and Judaism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by the Bible since my earliest days in Sunday school, coloring pictures of Noah’s Ark. Yet, even as a young child I was very skeptical of the Christian interpretation of biblical stories, seeing that they couldn’t possibly be true. But I’ve always respected the Bible as a literary work and sought to understand its details. In my years of researching the Bible and Christian origins, several works stand out as being particularly important in shaping my understanding of Judaism and Christianity. These are those books.

R.G.'s book list on the (actual) origins of Christianity and Judaism

R.G. Price Why did R.G. love this book?

Trobisch is a highly respected Net Testament scholar, and his insights are on full display in this short, but important, work. The exact origins of the New Testament have long been shrouded in mystery. Many people think of the New Testament as a collection of independent writings. Here Trobisch provides an important framework for understanding the New Testament as a whole. He reveals many important clues about who, when, how, and why the first edition of the New Testament was created. Trobisch shows the overall unity of the editorial features of the New Testament.

By David Trobisch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The First Edition of the New Testament as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The First Edition of the New Testament is a groundbreaking book that argues that the New Testament is not the product of a centuries-long process of development. Its history, David Trobisch contends, is the history of a book-an all Greek Christian bible-published as early as the second century C.E. and intended by its editors to be read as a whole. Trobisch claims that this bible achieved wide circulation and formed the basis of all surviving manuscripts
of the New Testament.


Book cover of Mark Canonizer of Paul: A New Look at Intertextuality in Mark's Gospel

R.G. Price Author Of Deciphering the Gospels: Proves Jesus Never Existed

From my list on the (actual) origins of Christianity and Judaism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by the Bible since my earliest days in Sunday school, coloring pictures of Noah’s Ark. Yet, even as a young child I was very skeptical of the Christian interpretation of biblical stories, seeing that they couldn’t possibly be true. But I’ve always respected the Bible as a literary work and sought to understand its details. In my years of researching the Bible and Christian origins, several works stand out as being particularly important in shaping my understanding of Judaism and Christianity. These are those books.

R.G.'s book list on the (actual) origins of Christianity and Judaism

R.G. Price Why did R.G. love this book?

In this book Tom Dykstra provides an extensive background into the scholarship of the Gospel of Mark, explaining how so many people have misunderstood the work for so long and why other interpretations of the Gospel were sidelined. While my book reaches many similar conclusions to Dykstra’s regarding the relationship between the Pauline letters and Gospel of Mark, our approaches are very different and Dykstra provides important scholarly context.  

By Tom Dykstra,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“For over 150 years the idea that Mark used the Pauline epistles has been recurring in New Testament research. Now in the work of Tom Dykstra, wide-ranging work and thoughtful, the truth of that idea emerges with a clarity it never had before. The result is to give a fresh sense of the origin and nature of Mark, of all the New Testament books, and of the quest for history.”
– -Thomas Brodie, Director, Dominican Biblical Institute, author of ¬ The Birthing of the New Testament

“Tom Dykstra draws connections between Paul and the Gospel of Mark that are stunning,…


Book cover of The Perennial Philosophy

Peter Occhiogrosso Author Of Circles of Belief: The World’s Spiritual Traditions and Beyond

From my list on spiritual path alternative to institutional religion.

Why am I passionate about this?

I feel strongly that large segments of the population—young and old alike—have thrown out the baby of spirituality with the bathwater of organized religion. Given the current level of interreligious hatred and misunderstanding in today’s world, two things have to change. First, we need to know the basics of the world’s major religious traditions and how they evolved so that we are not making value judgments based on erroneous information and lack of understanding. Then, we have to look through the external dogmas and rituals to the spiritual principles and experiences that are of most value and that may not be reliant on any one institutional religion. 

Peter's book list on spiritual path alternative to institutional religion

Peter Occhiogrosso Why did Peter love this book?

Renowned for brilliant visionary novels like Brave New World and Island, Huxley also wrote one of the most insightful books about the underlying truth running through the great mystics of the world’s spiritual traditions.

By quoting mostly from the mystics of both East and West themselves rather than the Bible, Huxley focused on the common essence of the experience of divine union. Along with many unsung Christian mystics, he also quotes from Eastern masters and sacred scriptures, including Rumi, Lao Tzu, Shankara, and from scriptures like the Bhagavad Gita, Tibetan Book of the Dead, Diamond Sutra, and the Upanishads, by way of showing that the universal Reality both transcends and is embodied in individual traditions. 

By Aldous Huxley (editor),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Perennial Philosophy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An inspired gathering of religious writings that reveals the "divine reality" common to all faiths, collected by Aldous Huxley

"The Perennial Philosophy," Aldous Huxley writes, "may be found among the traditional lore of peoples in every region of the world, and in its fully developed forms it has a place in every one of the higher religions."

With great wit and stunning intellect—drawing on a diverse array of faiths, including Zen Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Christian mysticism, and Islam—Huxley examines the spiritual beliefs of various religious traditions and explains how they are united by a common human yearning to experience the…


Book cover of Spinoza's Religion: A New Reading of the Ethics

John Cottingham Author Of In Search of the Soul: A Philosophical Essay

From my list on the human search for meaning.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent my career writing and teaching philosophy, working on early-modern philosophers, especially that most controversial and enigmatic figure, René Descartes. In recent years my main interest has been in the philosophy of religion, focusing on grand traditional questions about the meaning of life, and on the spiritual dimension of religious thought and practice. I have argued for a ‘humane’ turn in philosophy, meaning that philosophical inquiry should not confine itself to abstract intellectual argument alone, but should draw on a full range of resources, including literary, poetic, imaginative, and emotional modes of awareness, as we struggle to come to terms with the mystery of human existence. 

John's book list on the human search for meaning

John Cottingham Why did John love this book?

Next to Descartes, Spinoza is perhaps the greatest philosopher of the early modern period. He is often regarded as a precursor of today’s secularist outlook, while others see him as a kind of pantheist. In this fluent and original new study, Clare Carlisle brought home to me the religious dimension in Spinoza’s thought, and she offers a brilliant account of why he is still relevant today, when religious ways of thinking are increasingly under attack.

By Clare Carlisle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Spinoza's Religion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A bold reevaluation of Spinoza that reveals his powerful, inclusive vision of religion for the modern age

Spinoza is widely regarded as either a God-forsaking atheist or a God-intoxicated pantheist, but Clare Carlisle says that he was neither. In Spinoza's Religion, she sets out a bold interpretation of Spinoza through a lucid new reading of his masterpiece, the Ethics. Putting the question of religion centre-stage but refusing to convert Spinozism to Christianity, Carlisle reveals that "being in God" unites Spinoza's metaphysics and ethics. Spinoza's Religion unfolds a powerful, inclusive philosophical vision for the modern age-one that is grounded in a…


Book cover of The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature

Elaine Pagels Author Of Why Religion? A Personal Story

From my list on why religion and spirituality are still around.

Why am I passionate about this?

“And what do you do?” someone asked at a crowded reception at the NY Academy of Science. “Write—comparative religion.” Startled, he backed away, asking suspiciously, “Why religion? Are you religious?” Yes, incorrigibly—although I grew up among people who regarded religion as obsolete as an outgrown bicycle stashed in a back closet. While many of us leave institutions behind, identifying as “spiritual, not religious,” I’ve done both—had faith, lost it; then began exploring recent discoveries from Israel and Egypt—Dead Sea Scrolls, Christian “secret gospels,” Buddhist practices, asking, Why is religion still around in the twenty-first centuryWhat I love is how such stories, art, music, and rituals engage our imagination and illuminate our experience.

Elaine's book list on why religion and spirituality are still around

Elaine Pagels Why did Elaine love this book?

This book is full of stories, using case studies that include the lives of Walt Whitman, Saint Augustine, and Russian writer Leo Tolstoy—that I found fascinating. Here psychologist William James challenges what he—and I—were both taught: namely, that religions are primarily childish fantasies (the view of Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis, in The Future of an Illusion). But after James, as a young man, experienced a terrifying depression, he describes his surprise at what felt to him like a spiritual breakthrough that enabled him to recover. James skips questions about dogma and belief, instead identifies a range of different “varieties of religious experience” that, far more than “belief,” can give rise to spiritual insight. 

By William James,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Varieties of Religious Experience as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Standing at the crossroads of psychology and religion, this catalyzing work applied the scientific method to a field abounding in abstract theory. William James believed that individual religious experiences, rather than the precepts of organized religions, were the backbone of the world's religious life. His discussions of conversion, repentance, mysticism and saintliness, and his observations on actual, personal religious experiences - all support this thesis. In his introduction, Martin E. Marty discusses how James's pluralistic view of religion led to his remarkable tolerance of extreme forms of religious behaviour, his challenging, highly original theories, and his welcome lack of pretension…


Book cover of Emotional Experience and Religious Understanding: Integrating Perception, Conception and Feeling

John Cottingham Author Of In Search of the Soul: A Philosophical Essay

From my list on the human search for meaning.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent my career writing and teaching philosophy, working on early-modern philosophers, especially that most controversial and enigmatic figure, René Descartes. In recent years my main interest has been in the philosophy of religion, focusing on grand traditional questions about the meaning of life, and on the spiritual dimension of religious thought and practice. I have argued for a ‘humane’ turn in philosophy, meaning that philosophical inquiry should not confine itself to abstract intellectual argument alone, but should draw on a full range of resources, including literary, poetic, imaginative, and emotional modes of awareness, as we struggle to come to terms with the mystery of human existence. 

John's book list on the human search for meaning

John Cottingham Why did John love this book?

Perceiving some fact about the world seems at first to be quite distinct from the way we feel about it, but Mark Wynn’s careful arguments show how, in our grasp of reality, emotion and perception are intimately intertwined. I found his conclusions shed a vivid light on the complex nature of religious belief and religious experience. 

By Mark Wynn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Emotional Experience and Religious Understanding as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this book Mark Wynn argues that the landscape of philosophical theology looks rather different from the perspective of a re-conceived theory of emotion. In matters of religion, we do not need to opt for objective content over emotional form or vice versa. On the contrary, these strategies are mistaken at root, since form and content are not properly separable here - because 'inwardness' may contribute to 'thought-content', or because (to use the vocabulary of the book) emotional feelings can themselves constitute thoughts; or because, to put the point a further way, in religious contexts, perception and conception are often…


Book cover of Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion

Gordon Barnes Author Of How Do You Know? A Dialogue

From my list on philosophy written as engaging dialogues.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Associate Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Brockport. I have been teaching and writing philosophy for over 20 years. I have published articles in professional journals on a wide range of subjects, from epistemology to philosophy of religion and political philosophy. I think that philosophy, at its best, is a good conversation, in which people give reasons for their views, and listen to others give reasons for theirs. That’s the best way for human beings to think about philosophical questions. That’s why I love philosophical dialogues—they do philosophy in a way that embodies what philosophy is, at its very best.

Gordon's book list on philosophy written as engaging dialogues

Gordon Barnes Why did Gordon love this book?

This book is a classic in the philosophy of religion. The great Scottish philosopher, and noted skeptic, David Hume, did not dare publish this book during his lifetime. He gave careful instructions to have it published after his death, and so it was first published in 1779. More than two centuries later, philosophers are still debating the merits of Hume’s arguments. What makes this book so great is that Hume does not straw man his opponents’ arguments. Instead, the characters in Hume’s dialogue state the traditional arguments for the existence of God extremely well. Only then, after they have stated the arguments so well, does Hume’s protagonist, Philo, proceed to attack those arguments with the objections for which he is now legendary.  

By David Hume, Richard H. Popkin (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hume's brilliant and dispassionate essay Of Miracles has been added in this expanded edition of his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion , which also includes Of the Immortality of the Soul,Of Suicide, and Richard Popkin's illuminating Introduction.


Book cover of The Pilgrim's Regress

Paul Frank Spencer Author Of Marvelous Light

From my list on revealing God’s reality through metaphor.

Why am I passionate about this?

My very intelligent, very (self-described) un-literary father taught me all about the complexities and beauty of God. My librarian mother gave me the literature that would introduce me to the most profound descriptions of those complex beauties. As the author of Marvelous Light, numerous metaphor-dependent blog posts, and future allegorical novels, I hope to introduce each of my readers to the divine realities on which I depend daily.

Paul's book list on revealing God’s reality through metaphor

Paul Frank Spencer Why did Paul love this book?

Sorry that Lewis made my list twice. Honestly, I’m sorry. I didn’t want to do it. But two images in this book have wheedled their way into my brain so deeply that the metaphors have become a part of me.  Glimpsing that far-off paradise through the hedge as a child! Only seeing the precariousness of his path in retrospect! Wow! Read it and you’ll understand. These two metaphors will be with me until I die.

By C. S. Lewis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Pilgrim's Regress as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of C. S. Lewis' works of fiction, or more specifically allegory, this book is clearly modelled upon Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, as Lewis cleverly satirizes different sections of the Church.

Written within a year of Lewis' conversion, it characterises the various theological and temperamental leanings of the time. This brilliant and biting allegory has lost none of its freshness and theological profundity, as the pilgrims pass the City of Claptrap, the tableland of the High Anglicans and the far-off marsh of the Theosophists. As ever, Lewis says memorably in brief what would otherwise have demanded a full-length philosophy of religion.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Plato, the Hebrew Bible, and Judaism?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Plato, the Hebrew Bible, and Judaism.

Plato Explore 68 books about Plato
The Hebrew Bible Explore 17 books about the Hebrew Bible
Judaism Explore 89 books about Judaism