The Bible: The Basics
By John Barton
Routledge – 2010 – 190 pages
Series: The Basics
The Bible: The Basics is a compelling introduction to the Bible as both a sacred text, central to the faith of millions, and a classic work of Western literature, containing a tapestry of genres, voices, perspectives and images. This masterly guide skilfully addresses both aspects of the Bible’s character by exploring:
Including maps, a chronology and detailed suggestions for further reading, this is an ideal starting point for people of any faith or none who are studying the Bible in any setting or simply want to know more about the best-selling book of all time.
‘This book gives readers ‘the basics’ certainly, but also much more than that, introducing them to some of the enduring and endlessly interesting questions about the Bible and its cultural influence. The writing is clear and fluid, but never overly simplifying. It is to be highly recommended as a first (or a second or third) book on the Bible.’ – Tod Linafelt, Georgetown University, USA
‘With characteristic lucidity and freshness, John Barton provides here a very accessible up-to-date introduction that addresses key issues in a balanced and thoroughly accessible way. This book offers firm foundations for the modern student in explaining how the Bible has been read by western scholars in the last two hundred years, addressing literary, historical, social, and theological questions that remain relevant for the twenty-first century.’ – George J. Brooke, University of Manchester, UK
‘Barton is a gifted scholar who regularly offers penetrating critiques and correctives to the latest developments in Biblical studies. At the same time, he is one of the few scholars able to write for a general audience. His lucid prose, and perhaps more importantly, the balanced and sensible positions he takes on the most controversial issues makes this yet another welcome contribution.’ – Bill T. Arnold, Asbury Theological Seminary, USA
Preface; 1. The Bible in the Modern World; 2. The Nature of the Bible; 3. Major Genres; 4. Religious Themes; 5. The Bible and History; 6. The Social World of the Bible; 7. Biblical Interpretation Today; Bibliography
John Barton is Oriel and Laing Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture, University of Oxford.