A literary history of our most influential book of all time, by an Oxford scholar and Anglican priest In our culture, the Bible is monolithic: It is a collection of books that has been unchanged and unchallenged since the earliest days of the Christian church. The idea of the Bible as "Holy Scripture," a non-negotiable authority straight from God, has prevailed in Western society for some time. And while it provides a firm foundation for centuries of Christian teaching, it denies the depth, variety, and richness of this fascinating text. In A History of the Bible, John Barton argues that the Bible is not a prescription to a complete, fixed religious system, but rather a product of a long and intriguing process, which has inspired Judaism and Christianity, but still does not describe the whole of either religion. Barton shows how the Bible is indeed an important source of religious insight for Jews and Christians alike, yet argues that it must be read in its historical context--from its beginnings in myth and folklore to its many interpretations throughout the centuries. It is a book full of narratives, laws, proverbs, prophecies, poems, and letters, each with their own character and origin stories. Barton explains how and by whom these disparate pieces were written, how they were canonized (and which ones weren't), and how they were assembled, disseminated, and interpreted around the world--and, importantly, to what effect. Ultimately, A History of the Bible argues that a thorough understanding of the history and context of its writing encourages religious communities to move away from the Bible's literal wording--which is impossible to determine--and focus instead on the broader meanings of scripture.
'Discovering Old Testament Origins' tackles the many questions students ask when reading the books of Genesis, Exodus and Samuel for the first time. Dr. Ralph writes clearly, using easily understood terms for anyone asking mature questions about the Old Testament. The book is an ideal text for beginning the study of the Old Testament, and is especially geared to discussion format.
'Origin Myths and Holy Places in the Old Testament' examines the biblical narratives which describe the origins of holy places. It argues for the Hellenistic origin or redaction of most of these narratives. Three central questions are addressed: are there common features in biblical accounts about the foundation of places of worship; are there elements in the aetiological stories that reveal the 'real' mythology/rituals of the sanctuary; what were the circumstances of the creation of such narratives?
"It was while completing the present volume that my husband died suddenly at his home in Columbus, Ind. During the latter days of his life he organized and incorporated the New Testament Christianity Book Fund as a means of carrying on the work he had undertaken, and other volumes will be issued as planned by Mr. Sweeney. The first volume was given a most cordial reception, and the interest so enthusiastically expressed by recipients was a great inspiration, not only to Mr. Sweeney, but to his associates in the Book Fund." --From the Foreword by Mrs. Z. T. Sweeney
In this much-anticipated textbook, three respected biblical scholars have written a history of ancient Israel that takes the biblical text seriously as an historical document. While also considering nonbiblical sources and being attentive to what disciplines like archaeology, anthropology, and sociology suggest about the past, the authors do so within the context and paradigm of the Old Testament canon, which is held as the primary document for reconstructing Israel's history. In Part One, the authors set the volume in context and review past and current scholarly debate about learning Israel's history, negating arguments against using the Bible as the central source. In Part Two, they seek to retell the history itself with an eye to all the factors explored in Part One.
This book contains the F.D. Maurice lectures for 1992 and six Gifford lectures of 1994. The Maurice lectures present the first account of Maurice as an Old Testament interpreter. The lectures on Smith concentrate upon his theological interests as an interpreter of the Bible, as well as the first account based on unpublished material of Smith's activity as a preacher. There is also a close investigation of Smith's links with Germany, and the influence upon him of Richard Rothe is investigated in some detail for the first time. One of the aims of the book is to show how, in their different ways, Maurice and Smith tried to relate the Old Testament to the two different periods of Victorian Britain in which they lived. The book also is intended as a further contribution to our knowledge of the history of biblical criticism in Britain.
After sketching the history of modern criticism, this work examines the dating of New Testament books and their techniques of biblical citation, Paul's mission to Spain, the hypothesis of 'innocent' apostolic pseudepigrapha, and the use of preformed traditions in Paul's christology.
In God and Earthly Power J. G. McConville considers the nature of human power in the light of belief in God. The Bible, and especially the Old Testament, is relevant to the question, not least because perceptions about the use of power in relation to God are often derived correctly or incorrectly from it. This book thus aims to address a world in which God's power is often invoked, from quite different quarters, in order to justify political and military action. McConville's interpretation of the Old Testament focuses on Deuteronomy and the narrative in which it is set, because these are especially fruitful for political thinking. His case is argued for both exegetically and in relation to the actual use of the Old Testament in the history of political thought. McConville's core argument is that divine power, mediated through Torah, results in human freedom and a mandate for the political responsibility of citizens. Indeed, it is even the best guarantee of these. .
Mike Hulme has been studying climate change for over thirty years and is today one of the most distinctive and recognisable voices speaking internationally about climate change in the academy, in public and in the media. The argument that he has made powerfully over the last few years is that climate change has to be understood as much as an idea situated in different cultural contexts as it is as a physical phenomenon to be studied through universal scientific practices. Climate change at its core embraces both science and society, both knowledge and culture. Hulme’s numerous academic and popular writings have explored what this perspective means for the different ways climate change is studied, narrated, argued over and acted upon. Exploring Climate Change through Science and in Society gathers together for the first time a collection of his most popular, prominent and controversial articles, essays, speeches, interviews and reviews dating back to the late 1980s. The 50 or so short items are grouped together in seven themes - Science, Researching, Culture, Policy, Communicating, Controversy, Futures - and within each theme are arranged chronologically to reveal changing ideas, evidence and perspectives about climate change. Each themed section is preceded with a brief introduction, drawing out the main issues examined. Three substantive unpublished new essays have been specially written for the book, including one reflecting on the legacy of Climategate. Taken as a collection, these writings reveal the changes in scientific and public understandings of climate change since the late 1980s, as refracted through the mind and expression of one leading academic and public commentator. The collection shows the many different ways in which it is necessary to approach the idea of climate change to interpret and make sense of the divergent and discordant voices proclaiming it in the public sphere.
Beginning shortly after Charlemagne's death in 814, the inhabitants of his historical empire looked back upon his reign and saw in it an exemplar of Christian universality - Christendom. They mapped contemporary Christendom onto the past and so, during the ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries, the borders of his empire grew with each retelling, almost always including the Christian East. Although the pull of Jerusalem on the West seems to have been strong during the eleventh century, it had a more limited effect on the Charlemagne legend. Instead, the legend grew during this period because of a peculiar fusion of ideas, carried forward from the ninth century but filtered through the social, cultural, and intellectual developments of the intervening years. Paradoxically, Charlemagne became less important to the Charlemagne legend. The legend became a story about the Frankish people, who believed they had held God's favour under Charlemagne and held out hope that they could one day reclaim their special place in sacred history. Indeed, popular versions of the Last Emperor legend, which spoke of a great ruler who would reunite Christendom in preparation for the last battle between good and evil, promised just this to the Franks. Ideas of empire, identity, and Christian religious violence were potent reagents. The mixture of these ideas could remind men of their Frankishness and move them, for example, to take up arms, march to the East, and reclaim their place as defenders of the faith during the First Crusade. An Empire of Memory uses the legend of Charlemagne, an often-overlooked current in early medieval thought, to look at how the contours of the relationship between East and West moved across centuries, particularly in the period leading up to the First Crusade.