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The Serpent's Promise: The Bible Retold as Science Hardcover – International Edition, May 7, 2013

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Canada (May 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038567063X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385670630
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #902,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Steve Jones's new book The Serpent's Promise: The Bible As Science convincingly and entertainingly demolishes many [Biblical stories].”
The Express

“The Serpent’s Promise is the book you’ve been waiting for. . . . a calmer and more patiently informative update of the Good Book. . . . Jones doesn’t disappoint.”
The Guardian (UK)

“In this reinterpretation of both Old and New Testament, we are treated to some superbly presented genetics, coupled with pungent excursions into the territories occupied by the likes of astronomers, bookmakers, doctors and lawyers. . . . [an] important book.”
The Times
“Steve Jones's scientific retelling of the Bible in The Serpent's Promise is lively and amusing. . . . paragraph by paragraph, Jones is always lively and often wickedly funny.”
New Scientist
“Here, Jones is on home territory and he writes with the fluency and wit that make him one of our best science popularisers. . . . [a] largely entertaining and informative book.”
The New Statesman

“Steve Jones . . . has produced an engaging and an intriguingly peculiar book.”
The Times Higher Education (UK)

“Brief, eccentric and usually wrong biblical claims about the natural world are juxtaposed with elegant expositions of their scientific replacements… [The Serpent’s Promise] does not disappoint. Each of its 10 chapters contains a lively, informed and remarkably wide-ranging essay on an important and timeless topic.”
The Washington Post

About the Author

STEVE JONES is the former Head of the Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment at University College London and has worked at universities in the USA, Australia and Africa. He is also a television presenter and a prize-winning author on the subject of biology, especially evolution. In 1996, his writing won him the Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize "for his numerous, wide ranging contributions to the public understanding of science in areas such as human evolution and variation, race, sex, inherited disease and genetic manipulation through his many broadcasts on radio and television, his lectures, popular science books, and his regular science column in The Daily Telegraph and contributions to other newspaper media."

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Diziet on July 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Steve Jones' new book is sub-titled 'The Bible Retold as Science'. It takes a section or theme from the bible, new or old testament, and explores the theme in the light of current scientific knowledge.

In the beginning we have - the beginning. An enjoyable summary of the current state of Big Bang theories and, more locally, the history of the Earth. Leading on from that is a discussion of theories of the origin and development of life on this planet.

Moving on, 'The Battle of the Sexes' looks at the development of ideas about sex, both initially from the bible - where there is an awful lot of 'begatting' - and as it has developed within Christianity. The discussion is closely informed by a discussion of the parallel development of biological, cultural and demographic approaches to sex and population. Of course, the two - science and religion - intertwine when apparently arcane questions such as whether identical twins may share a soul, whether a clone may have a soul at all and, rather more pointedly, whether stem cell research and similar studies are 'morally acceptable'. If discussions of souls sounds a little antiquated, Jones' example of a recent pronouncement by the EU Court of Justice relating to 'proposals for the creation for research purposes of human embryos' suggests not:

'In the hallowed halls of Strasbourg, with plentiful advice from the Church, the ancient argument about clones has been brought back to life and the soul now has the full protection of European law.' (P167)

There follow chapters on growing old (Methuselah), natural disasters (Noah's Ark), disease (lepers feature prominently here), food and food taboos, transcendental experiences and finally, morals, ethics, the bible and Darwin.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Renato Baserga on July 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
it was recommended by Nature, which is usually reliable.. But the book is not an attractive one. The author brings in a lot of well known information and its relationship to the Bible is forced, to say the least. Could not find much new information, and what is given is farraginous. The writing is often unclear, I am afraid the author is unclear himself. I cannot recommend it to anyone.
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0 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Tom Bright on May 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Mr. Jones appears to have profited handsomely from his accomplishments within the government-university-media complex. That isolated, hothouse society is apparently pure as the driven snow compared to noisy, disorganized strivers who invent, make, sell, ship and maintain actual goods. I should feel guilty, I guess.

The Serpent's Promise: The Bible Retold as Science itself promises to fully examine the actual laws of science as had earlier been described in Jewish and later Christian Scripture. I appreciate Mr. Jones actually stating, even if only askance, "...objective analysis can only go so far ... there must be another truth beyond" for that does indeed affirm that going through such a door may profit the seeker. And, by extension, mankind, if today's academics are not yet fully onboard with the "humans are cancer to Earth" trope.
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