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A History of the Bible: The Book and Its Faiths

John Barton

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Penguin
03 June 2020
Religion & beliefs; History of religion; Church history; Christian theology; Judaism: sacred texts
This book tells the story of the Bible, how it came to be constructed and how it has been understood, from its remote beginnings down to the present. It describes how the extraordinarily disparate writings which comprise the Bible were written and when, as well as what we know - and what we cannot know - about their authors and what they might have meant. Incisive readings shed new light on even the most familiar passages, exposing not only the sources and traditions behind them, but also the busy hands of the scribes and editors who assembled and reshaped them. It is a portrait of the Bible not as the fixed text it is often perceived to be, the Bible this result of a long and intriguing evolution.

Tracing its dissemination, translation and interpretation in Judaism and Christianity from Antiquity to the rise of modern biblical scholarship, Barton elucidates how meaning has both been drawn from the Bible and imposed upon it. Part of the book's originality is to illuminate the gap between religion and scripture, the ways in which neither maps exactly onto the other, and how religious thinkers from Augustine to Luther and Spinoza have reckoned with this. A landmark in its field, A History of the Bibleshows that if we are to regard the Bible as 'authoritative', it cannot be as believers have so often done in the past.
By:   John Barton
Imprint:   Penguin
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm,  Spine: 27mm
Weight:   436g
ISBN:   9780141978505
ISBN 10:   0141978503
Pages:   640
Publication Date:   03 June 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

John Barton was the Oriel and Laing Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture at the University of Oxford from 1991 to 2014 and since 1973 has been a serving priest in the Church of England. He is the author of numerous books on the Bible, co-editor of The Oxford Bible Commentary and editor of The Cambridge Companion to Biblical Interpretation. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2007 and is a Corresponding Fellow of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

Reviews for A History of the Bible: The Book and Its Faiths

John Barton's magisterial history brings the Good Book splendidly back to life ... It is an exhilarating achievement -- Julian Coman * Observer * A superb overview ... Barton wears his erudition lightly, but even for those deeply familiar with the Bible there is much here to be learnt -- Bart D Ehrman * Telegraph * As eminently readable as the best of travelogues, it floods with light a subject too often regarded by many as a closed book. ... An extraordinary tour de force -- Peter Stanford * Sunday Times *


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