Very Short Introductions: Brilliant, Sharp, Inspiring
The Bible is one of the world's most read and most influential books. It has provided many rules for people to live by, and has shaped our language and our shared beliefs in ways that have both drawn communities together and fueled bitter disputes and conflicts. Having played a major role in the development of Western culture, the Bible continues to exert an enormous influence over millions of lives.
This Very Short Introduction explores the material, cultural, and religious history of the Bible. Looking first at how the books of the Bible came to be written down and collected as authoritative sacred texts, John Riches goes on to show how they were produced and distributed across the world, and how they have been read and interpreted by differing communities in different languages. Riches compares how Jewish and Christian communities have interpreted the same passage of the Bible, and looks at some of the strikingly varied readings a very short book like Galatians has received over 2,000 years. Finally, he explores post-colonial and feminist readings of the Bible, and concludes by surveying the uses of the Bible in art, music, poetry, and politics.
ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Review from previous edition clear and lively . . . a distinguished addition to the series * Christopher Rowland, University of Oxford * Very Short John Riches' book may be, but it is not simple - nor could it be. It is a masterly reduction, without minimizing the problems: indeed, it exposes them as they need to be exposed. * Canon Eric James * John Riches makes the Bible's strong vitality abundantly apparent * Tom Butler, Bishop of Southwark * John Riches reminds us that one of the most read books in the world - the Bible - is now most widely read in unfamiliar places - South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, the Philippines, and Peru - by poor and marginalized people. * Gerald West, University of Natal * This lively book will be read with profit and delight by a wide range of readers. The author's many examples of the ways the Bible has been used and misused in different parts of the world make fascinating, and sometimes disturbing reading. * Graham Stanton, King's College, London *