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

Timothy Beal, Author
Timothy Beal, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25 (256p) ISBN 978-0-15-101358-6
Reviewed on: 01/10/2011
Release date: 02/01/2011
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-88660-5
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-547-50441-4
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-547-73734-8
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The role of the Bible in Western culture is undisputed. It has defined the Judeo-Christian ethic in so many ways it's hard to imagine the Western world without this inspired book. However, 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: witness the number of specialty Bibles available in Christian bookstores. 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, highly recommended. (Feb.)
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