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1 Burnside Religion Comparative- General

The Bible: A Biography (Books That Changed the World)

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The Bible: A Biography (Books That Changed the World) Cover

ISBN13: 9780871139696
ISBN10: 0871139693
Condition: Underlined
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Staff Pick

Part of the Books that Changed the World series, this is a great overview of the history, writing, and translations of the Bible. Armstrong never fails to entertain and impress.
Recommended by Robin, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A groundbreaking history of the single most influential text of all time, by the world's foremost religious historian.

As the single work at the heart of Christianity, the world's largest organized religion, the Bible is the spiritual guide for one out of every three people in the world. The Bible is also the world's most widely distributed book. Translated into over two thousand languages, it is estimated that more than six billion copies have been sold in the last two hundred years. It remains the best-selling book in the United States, year after year, with at least twenty-five million copies sold in 2005 alone.

But the Bible is a complex work with a complicated and obscure history. Made up of sixty-six "books" written by various authors and divided into two testaments, its contents have changed over the centuries. The Bible has been transformed by translation and, through interpretation, has developed manifold meanings to various religions, denominations, and sects.

In this seminal account, acclaimed historian Karen Armstrong discusses the conception, gestation, life, and afterlife of history’s most powerful book. Armstrong analyzes the social and political situation in which oral history turned into written scripture, how this all-pervasive scripture was collected into one work, and how it became accepted as Christianity's sacred text. She explores how "as the pragmatic scientific ethos of modernity took hold, scripture was read for the information that it imparted" and how, in the nineteenth century, historical criticism of the Bible caused greater fear than Darwinism. As she writes, "'If Jonah did not spend days in a whale,' asked a Lutheran pastor, 'did Jesus really rise from the tomb?'"

Karen Armstrong's history of the Bible is a brilliant, captivating book, crucial in an age of declining faith and rising fundamentalism.

Review:

"Of all the 'Books That Changed the World' — the recently launched series to which this book belongs — surely the Bible is among the most important. And of all contemporary popularizers of religious history, surely Armstrong is among the bestselling. Who better, then, to recount the history of the Bible in eight short chapters than this former nun and literature professor who relishes huge topics (The History of God) and panoramic descriptions (The Great Transformation)? Armstrong not only describes how, when and by whom the Bible was written, she also examines some 2,000 years of biblical interpretation by bishops and rabbis, scholars and mystics, pietists and critics, thus opening up a myriad of exegetical approaches and dispelling any fundamentalist notion that only one view can be correct. Readers unfamiliar with ecclesiastical history may feel overwhelmed by dense chapters that read more like annotated lists than narrative — a hazard of trying to cover so much in so little space. (A glossary helps to anchor the bewildered.) At her best when she pauses long enough to expand on a topic, Armstrong offers intriguing insights on, for example, the allegorical method developed by Origen in the third century and the mystical midrash of the Kabbalists in medieval Spain and Provence." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Surely the Bible can teach and inspire. But has it lost the ability to startle? To make us gasp? In our society, where 90 percent of households possess a Bible and more than a third of American adults say they've read from it in the past week, it's hard to see the text with fresh eyes. Even if you're in the small minority that admits to never having read it, you probably know something about it. Maybe... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"While there are countless guides to reading the Bible, noted academic Karen Armstrong looks at the history of the book with a keen historian's eye....Armstrong condenses into a manageable volume the many ideas and traditions that influenced the creation of the Good Book." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"This is one terrific little book." Booklist

Synopsis:

As the work at the heart of Christianity, the Bible is the spiritual guide for one out of every three people in the world. It is also the worlds most widely distributed book, translated into over two thousand languages, and the worlds best selling book, year after year. But the Bible is a complex work with a complicated and obscure history. Made up of sixty-six “books” written by various authors and divided into two testaments, its contents have changed over the centuries. The Bible has been transformed by translation and, through interpretation, has developed manifold meanings to various religions, denominations, and sects. In this seminal account, acclaimed historian Karen Armstrong discusses the conception, gestation, and life of historys most powerful book. Armstrong analyzes the social and political situation in which oral history turned into written scripture, how this all-pervasive scripture was collected into one work, and how it became accepted as Christianitys sacred text. She explores how scripture came to be read for information, and how, in the nineteenth century, historical criticism of the Bible caused greater fear than Darwinism. This is a brilliant, captivating book, crucial in an age of declining faith and rising fundamentalism.

Synopsis:

In this seminal account, acclaimed historian Armstrong discusses the conception, gestation, life, and afterlife of historys most powerful book. She analyzes the social and political situation in which oral history turned into written scripture, how this scripture was collected into one work, and how it became accepted as Christianitys sacred text.

About the Author

Since leaving her religious order in 1969, Karen Armstrong has become one of the world's foremost commentators on religion. Her bestselling books include her acclaimed memoirs Through the Narrow Gate, which describes her seven years as a young nun in a Catholic order, and The Spiral Staircase, as well as the internationally renowned A History of God, Islam: A Short History, The Battle for God, Holy War and Buddha. Karen Armstrong lives in London.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

chuck, January 5, 2008 (view all comments by chuck)
Karen Armstrong manages to take the great sweep of the centuries of context in which the Bible was written and the time of oral history before it and place the development of the Bible in perceptible and clear language with a simplicity that makes difficult concepts comprehensible without insulting the reader's intelligence. She weaves together the time when both the Christian and Jewish Scriptures were being compiled and makes clear that even though anti-semitism in Christianity began very early, Christianity and Judaism are indeed sister religions. She helps us understand that the interpretation of the Bible belongs to no one generation or genre of scholarship or sectarian wing of faith and it is up to us in our time to read it and interpret it thoughtfully and responsibly.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780871139696
Subtitle:
A Biography
Author:
Armstrong, Karen
Publisher:
Atlantic Monthly Press
Subject:
Bible - Criticism Interpretation - General
Subject:
Biblical Criticism & Interpretation - General
Subject:
Biblical Studies - Exegesis & Hermeneutics
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series:
Books That Changed the World
Publication Date:
20071110
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Pages:
192
Dimensions:
7.75 x 5 in 14.5 oz

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Related Subjects

Religion » Christianity » Bibles » Commentary » General
Religion » Christianity » Bibles » History and Criticism
Religion » Comparative Religion » General

The Bible: A Biography (Books That Changed the World) Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.50 In Stock
Product details 192 pages Atlantic Monthly Press - English 9780871139696 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Part of the Books that Changed the World series, this is a great overview of the history, writing, and translations of the Bible. Armstrong never fails to entertain and impress.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Of all the 'Books That Changed the World' — the recently launched series to which this book belongs — surely the Bible is among the most important. And of all contemporary popularizers of religious history, surely Armstrong is among the bestselling. Who better, then, to recount the history of the Bible in eight short chapters than this former nun and literature professor who relishes huge topics (The History of God) and panoramic descriptions (The Great Transformation)? Armstrong not only describes how, when and by whom the Bible was written, she also examines some 2,000 years of biblical interpretation by bishops and rabbis, scholars and mystics, pietists and critics, thus opening up a myriad of exegetical approaches and dispelling any fundamentalist notion that only one view can be correct. Readers unfamiliar with ecclesiastical history may feel overwhelmed by dense chapters that read more like annotated lists than narrative — a hazard of trying to cover so much in so little space. (A glossary helps to anchor the bewildered.) At her best when she pauses long enough to expand on a topic, Armstrong offers intriguing insights on, for example, the allegorical method developed by Origen in the third century and the mystical midrash of the Kabbalists in medieval Spain and Provence." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "While there are countless guides to reading the Bible, noted academic Karen Armstrong looks at the history of the book with a keen historian's eye....Armstrong condenses into a manageable volume the many ideas and traditions that influenced the creation of the Good Book."
"Review" by , "This is one terrific little book."
"Synopsis" by ,
As the work at the heart of Christianity, the Bible is the spiritual guide for one out of every three people in the world. It is also the worlds most widely distributed book, translated into over two thousand languages, and the worlds best selling book, year after year. But the Bible is a complex work with a complicated and obscure history. Made up of sixty-six “books” written by various authors and divided into two testaments, its contents have changed over the centuries. The Bible has been transformed by translation and, through interpretation, has developed manifold meanings to various religions, denominations, and sects. In this seminal account, acclaimed historian Karen Armstrong discusses the conception, gestation, and life of historys most powerful book. Armstrong analyzes the social and political situation in which oral history turned into written scripture, how this all-pervasive scripture was collected into one work, and how it became accepted as Christianitys sacred text. She explores how scripture came to be read for information, and how, in the nineteenth century, historical criticism of the Bible caused greater fear than Darwinism. This is a brilliant, captivating book, crucial in an age of declining faith and rising fundamentalism.
"Synopsis" by , In this seminal account, acclaimed historian Armstrong discusses the conception, gestation, life, and afterlife of historys most powerful book. She analyzes the social and political situation in which oral history turned into written scripture, how this scripture was collected into one work, and how it became accepted as Christianitys sacred text.
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