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Bible Babel: Making Sense of the Most Talked About Book of All Time Hardcover – Bargain Price, February 2, 2010
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“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 challenges—exactly 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 Know—and 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.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Despite Swenson's very readable style, the book is still formidable reading; it comes in at well over 300 pages, including reference materials at the back that are actually worth reading. There is some humor, but Swenson stops well short of anything approaching disrespect to any faith view. It actually reads very much like a university lecture. Lots of facts, lots of perspective, and just enough humor and personality to keep you awake.
A more important reason for its slow start, I would guess, is that it doesn't really give anyone on either end of the belief spectrum (atheist to evangelical) much fodder for their point of view. This is not a book you can recommend to people who think just like you to use in ridiculing the other side. Nor will most people find their perspective wholly represented. She dismisses the use of the word "theory" in referring to evolution with the flippant (and common and incorrect) "gravity is a theory". She notes that Proverbs shares some themes with Egyptian works and assumes that the Egyptian works are primary without footnoting her statement or acknowledging that this topic is still the subject of some debate. She states that the flood story was lifted from the Mesopotamians, again without exploring alternative theories or justifying the position. Yet there is a limit to how much depth you can go into in such a book, and I suspect on the other side that some people will find her too respectful of religious belief.Read more ›
Although I knew the stories, I had never given much thought about the history of the Bible. As a child, I pictured a bearded old guy scratching out verses with quill pen on a long piece of parchment. And, as an adult? Well, I still haven’t given it much thought.
However, thanks to Kristin Swenson and her book, Bible Babel, I know lots more about the topic. Bible Babel is a comprehensive history of how the Bible came to be. Swenson’s writing is lively, engaging and thoroughly accessible to a non-Bible scholar. No dry treatise here. In fact, many parts are laugh out loud funny.
Before I read the book, I wondered if Swenson would take a position. Would she declare the inerrancy of scripture? On the other hand, would she discuss the Bible with skepticism or perhaps, disdain. In a refreshing way, she is both respectful and impartial.
Think about how often you hear Bible verses quoted, or how frequently the Bible is used to justify an action, or how many references to the Bible you can find in novels, poetry, plays and music. Wouldn’t it be beneficial to know the history of this influential book? Yes, it would. And for that reason, I highly recommend Bible Babel.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I just finished this book and before I say what I thought of it I will give a bit of back ground about me because with these types of sensitive subjects people usually like to know... Read morePublished 24 months ago by madyson
Bought this after an interesting presentation by the author. Did not get very far in actually reading it. Will probably pick it up again later.Published 24 months ago by Dizzyliz
And, there was lots of extraneous material. I mean, who cares what bible references contemporary pop performers have used? Read morePublished on May 15, 2014 by Dan
This book is great for both the believer and non-believer. It does a great job of going over the who, what, when, where and whys of the bible without being preachy or... Read morePublished on April 1, 2013 by S. Barber
This book contains great background information on the Bible for the religious and non-religious. So many people today spouting religious or non-religious beliefs know nothing... Read morePublished on November 15, 2012 by M. Sabo
I have given several copies of this as gifts to people who study the Bible and they all like it.
This is not a religious work,it is the work of a scholar who is explaining... Read more