cover image The Book of the People: How to Read the Bible

The Book of the People: How to Read the Bible

A.N. Wilson. Harper, $26.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-06-243346-6

Wilson (Victoria: A Life), a convert from atheism to Christianity, weaves together meditations on the Bible with personal anecdotes in “an attempt to persuade people to read the Bible.” Throughout this journey, he stays in a decades-long conversation with a woman he calls L, who dies before the book is complete. Wilson reveals a privileged existence: while in Israel filming a documentary about the Bible, he rejects the validity of the quest for the historical Jesus, and he learns to appreciate Job through hearing Northrop Frye’s Oxford lectures on William Blake. Wilson comes to accept the Bible as based on reality—to him, Jesus is not merely a literary construct. Yet for him, the power of the Bible emerges most completely from its imaginative potential. Wilson soars in describing how we can find this imaginative Bible through George Herbert’s poetry or the work of Simone Weil or Martin Luther King Jr., or in the Hagia Sophia or a Eucharist service. Those who enjoyed Brock and Parker’s Saving Paradise will likely take pleasure in this similarly positive take on viewing the Bible through the lens of the arts. (June)