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The Cambridge Companion to the Bible (Companions to Religion) Paperback – November 12, 2007

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Product Details

  • Series: Companions to Religion
  • Paperback: 740 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (November 12, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521691400
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521691406
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,531,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"The Cambridge Companion to the Bible was a remarkable contribution when it was first released in 1997, which only makes the achievements of this thoroughly updated Second Edition all the more impressive. The abundance of stunning new photos from Todd Bolen, the additional sidebars of useful, contextualized information, the new maps in each section, and the revised bibliographies and main text all make the Second Edition an essential book for serious students, clergy, and general readers alike." --Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town

'This resource book offered by Cambridge University Press is a rich, accessible, and reliable reference. It provides state-of-the-art scholarship that connects each of the Biblical books to its socio-historical context. Its offer of 'social history' is broad and deep. Such a perspective is crucial in the current 'battle for the Bible,' and the work here is exceedingly well done. Its publication will immediately make it a primary reference for serious students of the Bible." ---Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

"A clear, up-to-date and authoritative account of the Bible by the leaders of the field, the new edition of the Cambridge Companion defines the context in which the Bible is read for history, literature, religion and theology, the best path into Scripture now in print." --Jacob Neusner, Bard College

"An excellent update of a masterful work! The Cambridge Companion to the Bible, Second Edition is packed with indispensable information for understanding the world's best-selling and most influential book. It somehow manages to be both studious and exhilarating, thorough yet remarkably concise. No other Bible companion is as competently informed by modern archaeological research or by historical analysis of the societies for which the biblical writings were produced. The main text, trustworthy and illuminating in its own right, is supplemented by more than 250 sidebars that render the volume ripe for browsing and provide a wealth of information on intriguing topics. As a bonus, the Companion also treats the significant apocryphal works that did not come to be numbered among the "sacred sixty-six" books of the Christian canon but that are revealing of Jewish and Christian religion nevertheless." --Mark Allan Powell, Trinity Lutheran Seminary, author of Loving Jesus

"... within the paradigm of critical scholarship on the Bible adopted by the editors, this work constitutes a high water mark." --Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"...this revised edition is a magnificent teaching and learning tool, one of the best introductory companions to the Bible on the market." --Casimir Bernas, Holy Trinity Abbey: Religious Studies Review

Book Description

The Cambridge Companion to the Bible, Second Edition provides in-depth information not only of the production and reception of the canonical writings of the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, but also of the apocryphal works produced by Jewish and Christian writers. Unique among single-volume introductions, this book focuses on the ever-changing social and cultural contexts in which the biblical authors and their original readers lived.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Alfred E. Guy Jr. on December 22, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a brilliantly but clearly written book, one that will make your experience of the Bible incalculably richer. The first part provides both an overview and more detailed archealogical and historical information on the presence of the early Israelites in the area of Canaan. There is also relevant and compellingly written analysis of the literary and cultural environment. All of this information allows you to see the Hebrew scriptures for the monumental literary and philosophical achievement they represent. Then, there are commentary and background information for every separate book of the Hebrew scriptures and New Testament. Whether you practice one of the three religions of the book (Judaism, Christianity, or Islam), are a student of history and culture, or just want further insight into this most influential of books, you will find the Cambridge Companion an invaluable source for deeper understanding. I teach humanities at the largest private college in the country, and I find the presentation in this book to be clear enough for the least-interested students and complex enough to support the best and brightest. I have also used the material here to discuss religion with my family members and other practictioners--everyone can get something deeply worthwhile from this book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michael Calum Jacques on November 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a highly useful, carefully planned, one volume aid to Bible study and general research upon biblical themes and topics. It also provides copious introductory material to each book and period of biblical history. The editorial team consists of familiar names within the world of Biblical Studies and the scholarship is principally that based upon mainstream viepoints.

For general reference, it can stand comparison with any other single Bible 'companion' availability and the standard of scholarship is, on the whole, high.

Most of the contributors to this volume have excellent academic credentials and the overall quality of the presentation, printing, and general finish of this book is similarly pleasing. The book contains an excellent and - what would appear to be - an extensive index and has a copious number of specific articles written by a range of specialist in that particular field.

This reviewer is happy to commend this volume for general Bible study and to provide introductory research material for undergraduate students et al.

Michael Calum Jacques
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17 of 43 people found the following review helpful By C. Parsons on November 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
First, I'm open-minded and far from being a Christian fundamentalist. I was looking forward to gaining perspective on the Bible from this book.

However, as I read, I came across some strange statements, one of which was that Jesus was a disciple of John the Baptist. I read a little further and found a comment that Ezekiel was possibly engaging in street theater (and this accounts for some of his actions). There were other odd bits of information lurking about.

I decided to look up the authors and editor involved. Bruce Chilton is a member of The Jesus Seminar.

I am now unfortunately having to throw the baby out with the bathwater, as I do not trust the rest of the information here.

I shared this with my Episcopalian minister, also not a Christian fundamentalist, and he agreed this book sounds suspect. He recommended the Anchor Bible series instead; unfortunately that is a much more expensive way to go.

This book may be okay for some; I do not agree with some of what I've seen as I said.
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