I am looking to buy a bible for reference purposes. Is there one out there with the skeptical reader in mind? Possibly with cross-references to pre-christian religions that parallel the popular christian stories.
If no such thing exists I would still like your input on what bible is most true to the original texts. all I know is that the NIV is crap.

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There is the Skeptics Annotated Bible, which is available online. www.skepticsannotatedbible.com
Oh yes,that is really good. All the racey bits are pre selected for your reading enjoyment.
Me and my xtain friend were discussing the bible and sex and I mentioned the bit about killing a village of people but keeping all the virgins ..She didn't believe that was in there,so i sent her the link ..She sure got an eye full! Hehehe.
I was looking for a book as opposed to a web based reference.
I was raised KJV so I tend to think of all others as "watered down" (damn programming stuck in my brain) but I think the New American Standard is supposed to have good annotations as to which passages weren't included in the original text, what some words meant in the original greek, etc.
Ken's Guide to the Bible

http://www.amazon.com/Kens-Guide-Bible-Ken-Smith/dp/0922233179

Not an actual bible, but a great reference. I highly recommend it.
i would recommend the king james version. it is not altered. Anything with a "new" in the title is edited.
The King James is the only Bible specifically compiled with an eye to its poetry and drama, not its alleged content of history or alleged supernatural revelation. H. L. Mencken says its language was already archaic yet was deliberately adopted for its beauty. Freethinkers can appreciate the KJV as a superb work of art, not a talisman.
Well, Andrew, bibles, annotated or otherwise. are usually not created “with the skeptical reader in mind”.
But there are TONS of annotated bibles with different purposes, different motivations, different research references in mind. Your best bet would be to find a good-sized Christian book store and peruse the shelves.
Albany has several seminaries. Check out their bookstores, as seminarians, whether you believe it or not, generally approach theology as a “study” rather than as a “revelation”, so you might find what you are looking for there.
The study of religion as an historical phenomenon can aid our understanding of why we are where we are today. But the amount of sheer BS you have to wade through, compared to actual information, is useless and daunting, unless you are writing some sort of thesis.
Advanced degrees anybody?
For your purposes, Andrew, the biggest disadvantage of the "New Greek-English Interlinear” is that it is only the New testament, and a lot of the simple unmitigated idiocy is found in the Old. That’s why a lot of fundies like it so much, and why it wouldn’t satisfy your exploration of pre-Christian parallels. Check out Joseph Campbell’s books about myths. “Power of Myth” and “Masks of God” come to mind when I think about the subject of pre-Christian religions.

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