The Bible

Stephen Miller, Author, Robert Huber, Author Good Books $29.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-56148-414-0
This attractively packaged volume aims to introduce readers to the ""remarkable story"" of ""how the Bible came to be, how it survived, and how it changed the world."" Miller (a Protestant) and Huber (a Catholic) present their material topically in two-page spreads containing illustrations and informational text boxes, and make a sincere effort to present an ecumenical narrative using a variety of academic approaches. To their credit, subjects such as modern methods of biblical interpretation, the Bible in movies and other media, and the Bible's relation to slavery, sexism and abortion are handled in a broadminded way. However, their overall reliance on a faith-based understanding of the Bible's history (i.e., as the noble struggle to preserve an accurate, authentic version of God's word against human error and falsification) often leads them to downplay social, economic and political forces. This is most notable in their presentation of missionaries, which ignores the ties between religion and colonialism and only mentions in passing the damage inflicted around the globe as Christianity and European empires expanded side-by-side. Non-Christians (and many Christians) may bristle at the breezy descriptions of good-hearted missionaries bravely carrying God's word abroad ""for the sole purpose of letting others read God's story for themselves."" In addition, the book's frequent reliance on outdated (and traditionally Protestant) interpretations of church history will likely make some Catholics and Orthodox Christians uneasy. Their portrayal of brave, reform-minded theologians battling the corrupt, monolithic Roman Church is too simplistic even for a general introduction and often rides roughshod over the diversity of Christian beliefs, whether Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant. Nonetheless, Christians--particularly Protestants--looking for an accessible introduction to the composition and transmission of the Bible will find the bulk of this book edifying.
Reviewed on: 03/01/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
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