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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

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

by

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

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

“Personal and accessible . . . The Rise and Fall of the Bible is Beals attempt to shatter this popular understanding of the Bible as a combination of divine instruction manual and self-help book.”—Adam Kirsch, Tablet

In this revelatory exploration, a noted religion scholar and former evangelical Christian takes us back to early Christianity to ask how a box of handwritten scrolls became the Bible, and forward to see how the multibillion-dollar business that has brought us Biblezines and manga Bibles is selling down the Bibles sacred capital. Among his surprising insights:

*Christianity thrived for centuries without any Bible. Early congregations used collections of scrolls; there was no official canon of scriptures and no book existed that was big enough to hold them.

*The idea of the Bible as the literal Word of God is only about a century old.

*There is no “original” Bible behind the thousands of Bibles on the market today. The further back we go in the Bibles history, the more versions we find.

In The Rise and Fall of the Bible Beal offers a chance to rediscover a Bible, and a faith, that is truer to its own history—not a book of answers but a library of questions.

“Part autobiography, part social scientific research, part shrewd discernment, and part theological interpretation—Tim Beal has written a zinger of a book about the cultural history of the Bible. This welcome and important book will cause a pause before we make glib claims for ‘the Word of the Lord.” —Walter Brueggemann

“Beal . . . 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.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

Synopsis:

A religious scholar and former evangelical Christian explores the history of the Bible, from the ancient Hebrew scrolls that Jesus read to the big business of Bible publishing today, debunking the myth of the Bible's infallibility and revealing a richer and more authentic way to read it.

Synopsis:

In this revelatory exploration, a noted religion scholar and former evangelical Christian takes us back to early Christianity to ask how a box of handwritten scrolls became the Bible, and forward to see how the multibillion-dollar business that has brought us Biblezines and manga Bibles is selling down the Bibles sacred capital. Showing us how a single text was created from the proliferation of different scripts, Beal traces its path as it became embraced as The Book of books and the Word of God. Among his surprising insights: 

•Christianity thrived for centuries without any Bible. Early congregations used collections of scrolls; there was no official canon of scriptures and no book existed that was big enough to hold them.

•There is no “original” Bible behind the thousands of different Bibles on the market today. The further back we go in the Bibles history, the more versions we find. 

•The idea of the Bible as the literal Word of God is only about a century old. 

In calling for a fresh understanding of the ways scriptures were used in the past, Beal offers a chance to rediscover a Bible, and a faith, that is truer to its own history — not a book of answers but a library of questions.

About the Author

TIMOTHY BEAL is Florence Harkness Professor of Religion at Case Western Reserve University. He has published eleven books, including Biblical Literacy: The Essential Bible Stories Everyone Needs to Know and Roadside Religion: In Search of the Sacred, the Strange, and the Substance of Faith, a New York Times Book Review Editors Choice and one of Publishers Weeklys ten best religion books of 2005. He has published essays in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Table of Contents

Contents 1. The End of the Word as We Know It:

A Personal Introduction   1 Magic 8 Ball Bible   2 The Rise of a Cultural Icon   5 The Way of Salvation   12 So Long, Judas   18 The Course of This Book   21 My Utmost, Revisited   24 2. The Greatest Story Ever Sold   29 Sodom and Gomorrah Equals Love   30 Biblical Consumerism   32 Expectations of Biblical Proportions   36 By Whose Authority?   38 3. Biblical Values   41 Felt Needs   44 Values Added   48 Finding Your Niche   50 Necessary Supplements   54 If Thats What It Means, Why Doesnt It Say So?   58 Manga Bibles   64 A Different Cookie   68 4. Twilight of the Idol   70 The Evangelical Dilemma   70 Selling Out   72 Types Setting   78 Distress Crop   80 Behold Your God   83 5. What Would Jesus Read?   85 Jesus Sings   86 Christianity Before the Bible   96 No Original   102 No Canon   106 Early Christian Network Society   108 6. The Story of the Good Book   111 Remembering Whats Lost   111 Scrolling Down to the Book   113 Scattered Throughout the Whole World   117 After Gutenberg   120 Multiplying the Leaves   129 Lost in Translations   140 Not a Rock but a River   143 7. Library of Questions   146 Mark Twains Drugstore   155 Letting Suffering Speak   160 Trials of God   163 Weak Rope Theory   168 Is the Bible a Failure?   171 Faith in Ambiguity   173 Nothing but a Burning Light   176 The Bible by the Side of the Road   178 8. And I Feel Fine   180 Cracking the Binding   184 Loose Canon   187 Back to the Future   189 Living Conversations   191 Seeds to Go Around   193 Word Without End   196 Acknowledgments   197 Notes   200 Index   226

Product Details

ISBN:
9780547737348
Author:
Beal, Timothy
Publisher:
Mariner Books
Subject:
Bible - Biography - General
Subject:
Christianity-Biblical Criticism
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20120431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8 x 5.31 in

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Spirituality and Wellness
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
Religion » Christianity » Bibles » Background
Religion » Christianity » Bibles » History and Criticism
Religion » Christianity » Biblical Reference » Criticism
Religion » Christianity » Biblical Reference » General

The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book Sale Trade Paper
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Product details 256 pages Mariner Books - English 9780547737348 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
A religious scholar and former evangelical Christian explores the history of the Bible, from the ancient Hebrew scrolls that Jesus read to the big business of Bible publishing today, debunking the myth of the Bible's infallibility and revealing a richer and more authentic way to read it.
"Synopsis" by ,
In this revelatory exploration, a noted religion scholar and former evangelical Christian takes us back to early Christianity to ask how a box of handwritten scrolls became the Bible, and forward to see how the multibillion-dollar business that has brought us Biblezines and manga Bibles is selling down the Bibles sacred capital. Showing us how a single text was created from the proliferation of different scripts, Beal traces its path as it became embraced as The Book of books and the Word of God. Among his surprising insights: 

•Christianity thrived for centuries without any Bible. Early congregations used collections of scrolls; there was no official canon of scriptures and no book existed that was big enough to hold them.

•There is no “original” Bible behind the thousands of different Bibles on the market today. The further back we go in the Bibles history, the more versions we find. 

•The idea of the Bible as the literal Word of God is only about a century old. 

In calling for a fresh understanding of the ways scriptures were used in the past, Beal offers a chance to rediscover a Bible, and a faith, that is truer to its own history — not a book of answers but a library of questions.

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