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The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book

Timothy Beal.
Publisher Mariner  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 8 x 5.25 x 0.7 inches
ISBN 9780547737348
Pages/Publication Date 244/2012
Daedalus Item Code 31460
This item is not available.
"In his well-received Biblical Literacy, [Timothy] Beal explored ways to think about Bible stories and how they have become ingrained in our culture. Here he discusses the Bible as a book and as a cultural icon. Writing in a remarkably accessible style (so accessible that it's easy to miss the profundity of the ideas behind the words), he begins with the fact that it wasn't until the 19th century and the rise of the Protestant evangelical movement that the Bible became an inherent guide to living and salvation. He goes on to demonstrate how much the Bible, what with so many contemporary versions and by-products, has morphed, devaluing the basic product. But perhaps Beal's main point is to show how the New Testament (and the Old, for that matter) comes from myriad sources, or, as he calls it, 'a cacophony of voices and perspectives, often in conflict with one another.' Yet Beal is more than just a debunker; in fact, once evangelical, he still considers himself a Christian. He exhorts readers to see the Bible not as a book of finite answers but as a crucible of questions that provoke, inspire, and even anger those who pick it up. The same might be said about his own book."—Booklist (starred review)

"As Beal so eloquently explains, the specific role played by Holy Scripture has morphed over the years. In particular, it has taken on the role of 'cultural icon'—inerrant guide, big brother, worthy oracle. This is a new phenomenon.... Raised in a strict, religiously literalist home, Beal (Roadside Religion), a professor of religion at Case Western Reserve University, has evolved into a top-notch scholar who makes a compelling case against the idea of a fully consistent and unerring book, positing instead a very human volume with all the twists and foibles of the human experience, truly reflecting that human experience. He presents a convincing case for a radical rereading of the text, an honest appreciation of this sacred book. An engrossing and excellent work."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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