WHOSE BIBLE IS IT?: A History of the Scriptures Through the Ages

Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Author . Viking $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-670-03385-0

Pelikan, Sterling professor emeritus of history at Yale University and author of a number of respected books in the area of Christian belief and tradition (e.g., Jesus Through the Centuries ), presents an outstanding introduction to the development, use and acceptance of the biblical canon over the centuries. As the title suggests, different groups have claimed ownership to the canonization process. Even today, Bibles vary in their content and in their philosophy of translation. Beginning with the long heritage of the oral tradition, then exploring the writing and editing of the biblical texts, Pelikan takes the reader through the process of scripture building with a fluency and ease that is both accessible and understandable to the nonscholar. His treatment of modern critical methods is particularly well done. Pelikan has a sure sense of history and context, surrounding the story with a wealth of detail, including some well-chosen anecdotes that add to the reader's enjoyment. He appreciates the ways in which tradition and commentary have influenced both the text itself and our understanding of the text, all the while expressing a love for the Bible and a perceptive grasp of the processes that brought it to its current state. This excellent work merits wide circulation and study. (Mar. 7)

Reviewed on: 01/17/2005
Release date: 03/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
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