cover image Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World

Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World

John Shelby Spong. HarperOne, $28.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-06-201128-2

Episcopal bishop Spong, author of more than 20 books, may be retired, but he hasn’t stopped. His newest grows from a series of summer lectures that clue the people in the pews on the kinds of topics biblical scholars discuss among themselves: for example, biblical characters such as Judas and Joseph, Jesus’ earthly dad, appear to be literary creations. Everybody who hasn’t abruptly left the room on hearing it suggested that the Bible may not be literally true is in for a wonderful ride as Spong tours Christianity’s sacred text, leaving little unexamined and demythologized as he urges Christians to grow up and take the Bible seriously—just not literally. Spong’s arguments aren’t new, but he has the gift and motivation for making biblical scholarship accessible; he writes with charity and clarity. His fans will want this for Bible study groups; his detractors may simply decide that Spong, still unwelcome and still here, is being his heretical self once again. (Nov.)