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Biblical Literacy: The Essential Bible Stories Everyone Needs to Know
by Timothy Beal
Every person needs to know the core Bible stories - those stories with great cultural, historical, or literary significance - that lie at the foundation of Western civilisation. Whether watching political candidates quote from Jesus or tracking court cases on how the stories of Adam and Eve should be taught in the schools, we are surrounded by the legacy of the Bible in ou ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperOne
(first published 2009)
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This book is intended as an introduction to the bible for people with little to no familiarity with the book. Beal curated what he considers to be key passages from both the old and new testaments and has interspersed these with short sections of commentary explaining what to look for in each passage and its connections to secular western culture. As someone who was raised with limited exposure to the bible and Christianity, I found the book to be highly enlightening and informative, and expect ...more
Like the excellent professor that he is, Dr. Beal allows the reader to form not only his/her ideas, but his/her questions. As promised on the cover, this version has "The best bits without all the boring bits". If you think you need to read the Bible for your general education but get scared off by its sheer size, this is the one for you. He even has scattered commentary throughout telling you where in pop culture a certain verse has been picked up (everything from Bill Clinton's speech on Monic ...more
Excerpts from the NRSV Bible with commentary interspersed which provides background, raises questions or ties in contemporary and classic references to the stories he selected. Prof. Beal intends to cover all the bases for an educated persons grasp of the great book and he does. But I was looking for a focus on the Bible as interpreted in the Western Canon and this is not it. Nothing on classical music or art or Dante, or Faulkner, etc.
Reviewed all the bibical heros and villians and at the end had an interesting glossary of all the common saying we use today which come from the bible. However the interpretations, like the bible asked more questions than it answered. It did show how people use the bible to justify their unjust objectives which was a premise of The Uses and Abuses of History.
Timothy Beal is Florence Harkness Professor of Religion and former director of the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities at Case Western Reserve University. He has published ten books, including Roadside Religion: In Search of the Sacred, the Strange, and the Substance of Faith, which was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice and one of Publishers Weekly’s ten Best Religion Books of 2005; Re ...moreMore about Timothy Beal...