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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 ›
It can be a hard thing to make Bible history readable and exciting, but this author has succeeded in doing just that in this delightful book that takes no religious position, but tells much about the best selling book of all time, one that 84% of the U.S. population considers "holy". It is written in an engaging and entertaining way, and tells everything you've ever wanted to know about the Bible itself. It covers Bible contradictions, controversial texts, women of the Bible, Bible versions, and so much more. There are lots of appendices packed with information and an extensive index. If you are interested in the Bible and want to read more about how it came to be, this is a great choice. Again, it is a secular book that takes no religious position whatsoever, so it can be readily enjoyed by all.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Growing up, I was part of a church called the Bible Students. We studied the Bible every Sunday and every Wednesday evening. Read morePublished 3 months ago by D. M. Prum
In discussing both the Old and New Testaments in one volume, bringing together examples from many versions and translations of both, Ms. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Barbara Lipkin
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 20 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 20 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 21 months ago 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