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John Barton (1) (1948–)

Author of A History of the Bible: The Book and Its Faiths

For other authors named John Barton, see the disambiguation page.

48+ Works 2,685 Members 25 Reviews
There is 1 open discussion about this author. See now.

About the Author

John Barton is Oriel and Laing Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture, University of Oxford.
Image credit: Oxford University Faculty of Theology


Works by John Barton

The Oxford Bible Commentary (2001) 372 copies, 4 reviews
How the Bible Came to Be (1998) 94 copies, 1 review
Biblical Interpretation (1988) 92 copies
Ethics and the Old Testament (1998) 57 copies, 1 review
The Word: On the Translation of the Bible (2022) 55 copies, 1 review
What is the Bible? (1991) 35 copies
Religious Diversity in Ancient Israel and Judah (2010) — Editor — 34 copies
The Bible: The Basics (2010) 29 copies
The Pentateuch (2010) 28 copies
Ethics in Ancient Israel (2014) 23 copies, 1 review
The Pauline Epistles (2010) 18 copies
The Biblical World (2002) 9 copies
After the Exile: Essays in Honour of Rex Mason (1996) — Editor; Contributor — 7 copies

Associated Works


Common Knowledge



Old Testament Source Bible in Christianity (July 2023)


The author states his main purpose as "exploring how the bible came into existence and how we might think about its elements today". This was accomplished, and very well. As an evangelical Christian I would probably have a few theological differences with the author, but as to his stated purpose of the book I have nothing but praise.
Tower_Bob | 12 other reviews | May 8, 2024 |
The Word: How We Translate the Bible—and Why It Matters makes for both daunting and rewarding reading. Barton's purpose here is to survey the kinds of decision-making translators have to do and offer chapters focused on the complexities of these. Go for literal accuracy or for an accuracy of spirit/feeling? Modify outdated usages, like the universal male, to offer a more inclusive reading experience?

Barton knows this subject in all its detail and complexity, which is what makes the experience both daunting and rewarding. If you don't have a degree in theology, you'll either have to spend a great deal of time doing research to be able to understand some of Barton's more specific or esoteric points or you'll have to be able to choose when to skim and when to sink into the book. I fall into the second category. I know my understanding of the specifics of The Word was only partial, but I also found that partial understanding very worthwhile.

I received a free electronic review copy of this title from the published via NetGalley; the opinions are my own.
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1 vote
Sarah-Hope | May 28, 2023 |
Despite Barton being an Anglican priest, there is not a whole lot of difference between his history of the bible and Bart Ehrman's. Barton acknowledges the corruption of biblical texts, the contradictions within the gospels, and makes a good case that no one studying the current beliefs and organization of either Christianity or Judaism would be able to find a lot of it in the bible. Nor would someone reading the bible, conceive of Christianity and Judaism as they exist today. Throughout, his writing is clear, and his selections of texts from the bible or from biblical scholars are all excellent. Barton will make you appreciate and want to delve more into the stories in the bible, even if you aren't a believer. Throughout it all, Barton somehow maintains his own belief in the core story of Christianity, the salvation to be received through belief in Jesus Christ. This shows how powerful belief can be, because as I stated at the outset, Barton's analysis of the bible is not one that most Christians would agree with--or even read all the way through! I highly recommend this honest analysis by a person of faith.… (more)
datrappert | 12 other reviews | Jun 15, 2022 |


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