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Publisher's Summary

It is sometimes said that the Bible is one of the most unread books in the world, yet has been a major force in the development of Western culture and continues to exert an enormous influence over many people's lives.

This Very Short Introduction looks at the importance accorded to the Bible by different communities and cultures and attempts to explain why it has generated such a rich variety of uses and interpretations. It explores how the Bible was written, the development of the canon, the role of Biblical criticism, the appropriation of the Bible in high and popular culture, and its use for political ends.

In a hurry? Listen to more Very Short Introductions.
©2002 Oxford University Press; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

An introduction to how the bible is used and read

My biggest complaint is the editorial decisions about what to focus on. This is intended to be a brief introduction to the bible. I purchased it because I have been looking for an intro book to give to friends. But only about 1/3 was really about the bible. There is an OK chapter on the writing of the bible. And a better chapter about the creation of the canon. But then there is a chapter on changes in reading the bible that was focused on a new reading being heretical first, then accepted. That is true sometimes, but only marginally useful. There is also chapters on the bible in politics and culture. But no discussion about the actual content of the bible. I would say that is a pretty big oversight.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lourens Janse van Rensburg
  • 12-10-09

Very, Very Interesting

I've been a Bible-reading christian for 20 years, and this book gave me a new perspective on the Bible and answered many questions which even my pastor couldn't do.

Where most Bible-related books focus on the content, this Very Short Introduction is all about the context -- the different time periods in which the various books were written that make up the Bible. It gives a very interesting view of the different writers as well as the different readers of the Bible through the centuries. And it even explains the Bible and politics -- a combination which you won't find in any conventional religious bookstore.

The book's neutrality is what makes it particularly interesting and "listenable" -- the author doesn't assume that the reader has any knowledge of the Bible, and he doesn't expect the reader to become a believer after listening to this book. This is a welcome deviation from the obviously biased perspectives which one will find in any bookstore, either for or against the Bible.

The icing on the cake is the professional narration at a comfortable pace -- I listened to the entire 5 hours+ in two sittings without ever having to pause and rewind because I missed something.

Thank you Audible!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful