Bible literacy may be at an all time low: surveys consistently show that many people can’t identify important Bible characters or themes, or think that people like Joan of Arc or sayings like “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy and wealthy and wise” are in the Bible.
The Internet is populated with a number of Bible study sites, but many of them come with an agenda, such as promoting a fundamentalist or predispensational millennialist interpretation of scripture. One I’ve found useful is bible.org, publisher of the NETBible. It takes a more neutral approach and provides lots of content, but it’s uneven and often leans toward more conservative interpretations than I would choose.
What to do if you want a well-written website designed to convey a good academic understanding of the Bible? What you do is visit bibleodyssey.com, the fruit of an ongoing project by the Society of Biblical Literature. SBL recently reached a milestone in the five-year-old project with a public launch of the very helpful site.
Bible Odyssey contains well-executed photographs, artworks, videos, essays, maps, timelines, interactive games, multiple texts of the Bible, and a condensed version of the HarperCollins Bible Dictionary. It has hundreds of quality contributors and is written in an accessible style, but from an academic approach.
If you’re threatened by new ideas or challenges to long-held notions, you might want to stay away — but if you’re seriously interested in a deeper and broader understanding of the Bible, Bible Odyssey is the site for you.