“Wide-ranging, objectively factual and written for the common reader. . . . Swenson’s book possesses a singularly breezy tone, a kind of “Jesus Christ Superstar” approach to the sacred. . . . A solid, readable work that doesn’t shy away from the tough issues.” (Michael Dirda, Washington Post)
“Kristin Swenson offers a confident, well-paced, well-informed, and accessible guide to Bible basics and biblical literacy. The reader may expect some surprises, some confirmation of hunches, and some challengesexactly what ought to arise from serious, sustained treatment.” (Walter Brueggemann, author of An Unsettling God: The Heart of the Hebrew Bible)
“Finally, a book on the Bible for the rest of us! . . . This broadside against our collective biblical illiteracy hits the sweetspot between blind belief and angry atheism. Who said a book on the Good Book can’t be brave, smart, and fun?” (Stephen Prothero, author of Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Knowand Doesn't)
“Bible Babel is a breath of fresh air. . . . Kristin Swenson’s writing is brisk and lively. She has an informed sense of everything relevant to the Bible. . . . She is an engaging corrector of misconceptions and a helpful guide to the common reader.” (Robert Alter, author of The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary)
“Swenson successfully shows why, in spite of all its difficulties, the Bible remains a thought-provoking and infinite source of inspiration and debate for all kinds of people.” (Publishers Weekly)
Hats off to Kristin Swenson. . . . Ms. Swenson combines meticulous scholarship with an original eye and a sense of fun. She has succeeded in presenting the Bible anew in a highly accessible way. . . . A most welcome achievement. (Washington Times)
From the Back Cover
Based on the most recent scholarship, Bible Babel is a lively and very readable introduction to the Bible—what it is, where it comes from, and what's in it.
Why does the film Magnolia end in a downpour of frogs?
Is the serpent in the Garden of Eden the devil or just a snake?
How do people use the Bible to argue different sides of today's most controversial issues?
Who is the "queen of heaven"?
While watching The Ten Commandments, why did Metallica's bass player think, "Whoa, it's like creeping death!" thus naming a hit song?
Where does the fish symbol of the Christian faith come from?
Is there a "best" translation?
Who is the lamb with seven horns and seven eyes, who opens the seven seals of a cosmic scroll?
The Bible informs much of our culture, but most people know little about the book itself. In this intelligent yet humorous and highly accessible guide, religious studies professor Kristin Swenson answers the above questions and more as she provides readers with basic biblical literacy. Swenson incorporates contemporary pop references—from Wall-E to Battlestar Galactica to rock music and more—with the latest findings of biblical scholarship to offer contextual understanding of the Bible's often complex, ambiguous, and seemingly contradictory texts. Her engaging and illuminating book does not aim to convert readers nor undermine their beliefs, but to offer basic knowledge needed to comprehend arguments and answer vexing questions about the Bible, appreciate artistic and literary references, and interpret the most talked about book of all time for themselves.