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see Hebrew Bible Studies, Christian Bible Studies. General Bible Studies

Whose Bible Is It? A History of the Scriptures Through the Ages by Jaroslav Pelikan (Viking Adult) No book has been more pored over, has been the subject of more commentary and controversy, or had more influence not only on our religious beliefs but also on our culture and language than the Bible. And certainly no book has been as widely read. But how did the Bible become the book we know it to be?

In this superbly written history, Jaroslav Pelikan takes the reader through the good books evolution from its earliest incarnation as oral tales to its modern existence in various iterations, translations, and languages. From the earliest Hebrew texts and the Bibles appearance in Greek, then Latin, Pelikan explores the canonization of different Bibles and why certain books were adopted by certain religions and sects, as well as the development of the printing press, the translation into modern languages, and varying schools of critical scholarship.

Both an enduring work of scholarship and a fascinating read, Whose Bible Is It? will be eagerly welcomed by the many fans of Elaine Pagelss books and Adam Nicolsons Gods Secretaries.

From Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. Pelikan, Sterling professor emeritus of history at Yale University and author of a number of respected books in the area of Christian belief and tradition (e.g., Jesus Through the Centuries), presents an outstanding introduction to the development, use and acceptance of the biblical canon over the centuries. As the title suggests, different groups have claimed ownership to the canonization process. Even today, Bibles vary in their content and in their philosophy of translation. Beginning with the long heritage of the oral tradition, then exploring the writing and editing of the biblical texts, Pelikan takes the reader through the process of scripture building with a fluency and ease that is both accessible and understandable to the nonscholar. His treatment of modern critical methods is particularly well done. Pelikan has a sure sense of history and context, surrounding the story with a wealth of detail, including some well-chosen anecdotes that add to the reader's enjoyment. He appreciates the ways in which tradition and commentary have influenced both the text itself and our understanding of the text, all the while expressing a love for the Bible and a perceptive grasp of the processes that brought it to its current state. This excellent work merits wide circulation and study. Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

As the sacred text of Jews and Christians alike, the Bible has never lacked for claimants. Beginning with the ancient oral traditions surrounding Abraham and Moses, Pelikan recounts how the early Israelites finally recorded their beliefs in a Hebrew text. Continuous addition of historical and prophetic texts, the growth of rabbinic commentaries, and the translation of the text into Greek made construing scripture a complex task even before adherents to a new scriptural faith reinterpreted the entire Hebrew Bible as an Old Testament important chiefly for prophecies fulfilled in a radical New Testament. The writing of this Christian New Testament itself sparked controversies among divergent branches of Christianity, but it is the endless battles between Jews and Christians that Pelikan takes as his primary focus. In the surprisingly parallel strategies of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Jewish and Christian leaders defending scripture against rationalism, Pelikan sees a tragically missed opportunity to heal the religious breach. Hoping the twenty-first century brings something better, Pelikan concludes with an appeal for an interfaith understanding of the Bible that will sweep away centuries of antipathy.

Great Scenes from the Bible: 230 Magnificent 17th Century Engravings by Matthaeus Merian (Dover Pictorial Archive Series: Dover) Unabridged Dover (2002) republication of all 230 plates from Icones Biblicae, originally published in Strassburg, [1625]‑1630. One of the most famous members of a family of German artists active in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Matthaeus Merian the Elder (1593‑1650) was an engraver and publisher who produced a large number of prints of historical interest.

Among his greatest works is this collection of 230 masterfully engraved scenes, reprinted here from the original seventeenth‑century edition. Included from the Old Testament are illustrations of Adam and Eve Driven Out of the Garden of Eden, The Flood, The Sacrifice of Isaac, David Slaying Goliath, The Fall of Jericho, The Tower of Babel, Daniel in the Lion's Den, and a host of others.

Also depicted are scenes from the New Testament: The Annunciation, Christ in the Manger, The Good Samaritan, The Temptation of Christ in the Desert, The Raising of Lazarus, The Last Supper, The Crucifixion, and many more. A oneline title accompanies each illustration, along with a citation of book, chapter, and verse.

Rich in detail, atmosphere, grandeur, and power, these magnificent illustrations add a wonderful pictorial dimension to age‑old scenes and stories from the Bible. A superb source of permission‑free art for designers and artists, this handsome volume will provide anyone interested in biblical lore with a memorable collection of scenes from the Scriptures.

The Oxford Guide to People & Places of the Bible edited by Bruce M. Metzger, and Michael D. Coogan (Oxford University Press) provides more than 300 authoritative articles that cover everyone from Adam and Eve to Jesus Christ and everywhere from the Garden of Eden to Golgotha and Gethsemane. The essays are concise and informative for a historically literate context for Bible reading.

Readers will find fascinating, informative entries on virtually every major figure who walked across the biblical stage. Here are Hebrew Bible figures such as Cain and Abel, Noah and Methuselah, Abraham and Isaac, David and Goliath, Solomon and Sheba, Moses and Aaron, Naomi and Ruth, and Samson and Delilah. The New Testament is likewise well covered, with pieces on Peter and Paul, John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene, the apostles (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), Pontius Pilate and Judas Iscariot, and of course Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Articles also define groups who figure in the Bible, such as Angels, Archangels, and Demons, the Magi, the Tribes of Israel, and Women. Entries on the significant places of the Bible, both ancient and modern, include kingdoms and countries (Egypt, Assyria, Mesopotamia) and cities (Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Sodom and Gomorrah), as well as geographical features such as the Sea of Galilee and Mount Hebron. The guide includes a detailed index for ease of use, and 14 pages of color maps, providing an accurate, detailed portrait of the biblical world.

Here then is the first place to turn to find information on the people and places of scripture and how they have been interpreted throughout the ages. Written by an international team of experts and incorporating the latest discoveries, the Guide is an essential addition to any family library as well as a useful, reliable resource for scholars and students.

Scripture in the Tradition by Henri De Lubac (Crossroad) Looking back over a now‑completed century of Christian thought, Cardinal Henri de Lubac, S.J. (1896-1991) emerges as one of its most important voices. No label fits him, and his notoriety arose from an unusual set of circumstances. Eager to collaborate on the influential patristic series Sources Chretiennes, he was nonetheless forced to work in isolation for many years. He did not aim to gratify the more timid ecclesiastical authorities and for ten years had to give up his chair in theology. Likewise, his prodigious output on atheism and the spiritual predicament of the modem age offered no consolation to the Church's cultured despisers.

In spite of these many obstacles, all his efforts yielded lasting results. By mid‑century, de Lubac had helped spawn what others called "the new theology," and his tireless advocacy of a return to the sources paved a path that was followed in the development of the theology of the Second Vatican Council.' His research into the question of our natural desire to see God according to his essence had a profound effect on the debate about nature and grace.' His inquiry into the social aspects of dogma recovered the true meaning of the sacramental body of Christ and charted a course still guiding theologians of the Church.' When de Lubac delved into what the Fathers and medieval thinkers found in the Scriptures, these broader developments were also in view. Here as elsewhere, De Lubac's research on the exegesis of the past was prodigious, and this volume represents only the tip of that very sturdy iceberg. De Lubac Scripture in the Tradition to provide solid food and lasting encouragement for those on a precarious journey that will be complete only "when God may be all things in all things. This collection provides a unique glimpse of a relatively small portion of the exegetical material assembled by de Lubac, but it is also complete in that one can find in each chapter not just shards of information but also the recapitulation of wisdom.

A final word of caution is necessary. Faced with such a wealth of new information, the reader needs to proceed slowly if only to avoid the inevitable sourness that accompanies taking in more than one can digest at one sitting. One is well advised to read slowly and to "test everything, and hold fast to what is good!"  De Lubac found in the ancient texts on "the abridged Word" a Marian basis for exegesis  Accordingly, the immense salvific scope of God's self‑communication is compressed like a single utterance into the womb of the Virgin. Spiritual exegesis consists in unfolding the meaning of that word. As with Mary's fiat, we must ponder in our hearts and with great care the implications of the words presented to us. Only after a thorough meditation on what has been read can we expect to see the fruits of this new diet in our daily lives.

  THE JEWISH BIBLE AND THE CHRISTIAN BIBLE: An Introduction to the History of the Bible by Julio C. Trebolle Barrera, translated by Wilfred G. Watson ($140.75, hardcover, 576 pages, Brill Academic Publishers; ISBN: 9004108882) PAPERBACK $56.00   ($119.00, HARDCOVER,   576 pages, Eerdmans Publishing Co.; ISBN: 0802838308) PAPERBACK $49.95.

Barrera provides the best interdisciplinary synopsis of a European historical approach to  both testaments. His views are temperate and well-considered. Though ostensively written for a general audience, the text actually assumes a general familarility with biblical scholarship. The sound historical positioning of texts provides introductory assessments and many useful considerations of themes of study as, for instance, when assessing the development of the books in their faith contexts. I found the summary account of the influence of targum hermeneutics in the New Testament to be especially illuminating. This work is likely to be popular graduate text in the formation of the canon. Recommended.

This book attempts to build bridges between fields of study which used to be connected at the beginning of modern criticism but which the demands of specialization have increasingly separated. It will come as a great surprise that a single book discusses in the same breath the more practical matters of textual criticism and the approaches of highly theoretical hermeneutics. Study of the Bible requires the cooperation of epigraphers and paleographers at one extreme and of historians of biblical religion and of Jewish and Christian thought at the other. Today there are many problems which need interdisciplinary discussion.

Throughout the whole of this book and for the sake of objectivity, all personal opinion concerning facts, arguments and conclusions of current research is avoided. However, the overall approach of the book and the choice of material presented as well as the opinions discussed, consistently match a personal vision of all the questions discussed and the serious intention of providing a new vision of the study of Biblical Literature. This Foreword and the Introduction are suitable places for showing the author’s preferences and the perspective for problems debated throughout the book.

Julio Trebolle Barrera is Professor of Hebrew and Aramaic and Director of the Institute of Religious Studies at the Universidad Complutense of Madrid. He is a member of the International Team of Editors of the Dead Sea Scrolls and has written and edited several books on the textual and literary criticism of the Bible and on contemporary biblical hermeneutics.

Note to the Revised English edition
Translator’s Note
Introduction: Topical Questions and Approaches
Chapter I: Bible and Book in the Ancient World
1. The Languages of the Bible
2. Writing in the Ancient World and in the Bible
3. Written and Oral Transmission
4. Schools and Scribes and the Translation of the Bible
5. Translation in the Ancient World
6. The Sacred Book
7. The School of Alexandria and its Philology

Chapter II: I Collections of Biblical Books. Canonical and Non-Canonical Books
1. The Literary History of the Canon of Biblical Books
2. The Social History of the Biblical Canon
3. Early Christian Literature: Collections of Canonical and Apocryphal Books

Chapter III: History of the Text and Versions of the Old and New Testament
1. Introduction
2. The Hebrew Text of the old Testament
3. The Greek Septuagint Version
4. Aramaic Versions of the Old Testament. The Targumim
5. The Greek Text of the New Testament
6. Ancient Versions of the Bible: Old and New Testaments

Chapter IV: Textual Criticism of the Old and New Testament
1. Textual Criticism of the Old Testament
2. Textual Criticism of the New Testament
3 . Canonical Criticism. The Text and the Canon

Chapter V: Hermeneutics. Text and Interpretation
1. Introduction
2. The Old Testament Interprets Itself
3. The Interpretation of the Old Testament in the Greek Septuagint Version
4. The interpretation of the Old Testament in the Aramaic Versions or Targumim
5. The Interpretation of the Old Testament in Apocryphal Literature. The Exegetical Character of Apocalyptic Literature
6. The Interpretation of the Old Testament in the Qumran Writings
7. The Interpretation of the Old Testament in Hellenistic Jewish Literature. Philo of Alexandria and Flavius Josephus
8. Rabbinic Hermeneutics
9. Christian Hermeneutics
10. Modern Hermeneutics

Subject Index

Note: Each chapter in this book is preceded by its own detailed table of contents.

THE CAMBRIDGE COMPANION TO THE BIBLE by Howard Clark Kee, Introduction and the Formation of the Christian Community; Eric M. Meyers and John Rogerson, Old Testament; Anthony J. Saldarini, Jewish Responses to Greco-Roman Culture. ($49.95, hardcover, 616 pages, 26 color plates and 122 black-and-white photos, 2 full-color maps, and 12 black-and-white maps, bibliographical essays suggesting further reading, index to biblical references, general index Cambridge University Press, 0-521-34369-0)

This useful reference and thorough and authoritative introduction to the Bible offers a basic chronological organization to describing millennium long development of the Old Testament world, the Jewish response to Greek and Roman cultures, and the formation of the Christian community. It is a unique blend of literature, history, and archaeology is an appealing and useful format.

The authors focus on the changing worlds of the biblical writers. Using sidebars throughout the book defines important terms and provides highlighted historical information. The greatest of all books, the Bible is a mystery to those who cannot identify the innumerable names and places that are central to almost every chapter. This book answers this need in a learned, and very accessible, way. It is clear, concise, illuminating, useful for all of those who preach every week, and for the educated person who wants to learn more about the sacred scriptures without being overwhelmed by academic detail. It is indispensable to the general reader and to the student.

Howard Clark Kee has also provided editorial assistance in these other fine bible references: Cambridge Annotated Study Bible: With Cambridge Annotated Study Apocrypha. His own work is extensive. We consider his recent Who Are the People of God?: Early Christian Models of Community, Yale University Press; and Christianity: A Social and Cultural History, Macmillan College Division to be major sociological considerations of Christian origins.

Eric M. Meyers is the chief editor of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East by Eric M. Meyers (Editor), American Schools of Oriental Research, a multivolume work; and with Carol L. Meyers the Anchor Bible, (Vol. 25C) of Zechariah 9-14: A New Translation With Introduction and Commentary.

John W. Rogerson is also the editor of the Pentateuch Reader (Biblical Seminar Series. No. 39)Cornell University Press.

Anthony J. Saldarini recent work includes Matthew's Christian-Jewish Community (Chicago Studies in the History of Judaism) University of Chicago Press, and with Mary C. Boys and P.A. Cunningham: Within Context: Essays on Jews and Judaism in the New Testament.Published by Michael Glazier.

This Christian evangelical guide to Bible verses offers a useful devotional approach to scripture reading. However anyone who has a sophisticated and non-evangelical attitude toward scripture may find this guide perverse. We feel Logos represents the best in serious evangelical scholarship and hypertext resources.

What the Bible Says About...
Starts With (Example: "love" finds Love, Lovefeasts, Lovers.)
Exact (Example: "love" finds Love.)

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