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The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The…

The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental… (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Timothy Beal

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2078105,086 (4.22)17
An acclaimed author takes readers back to early Christianity to ask how a box of handwritten scrolls became the Bible, and forward to see how the multibillion-dollar business that has created Biblezines and Manga Bibles is selling down the Bible's sacred capital.
Title:The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book
Authors:Timothy Beal
Info:Mariner Books (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book by Timothy Beal (2011)


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» See also 17 mentions

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2011 (my review can be found at the LibraryThing post linked)
http://www.librarything.com/topic/120136#3046186 ( )
  dchaikin | Sep 26, 2020 |
This is the sort of book that more people need to read. [a:Timothy K. Beal|15495|Timothy K. Beal|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1271959918p2/15495.jpg] is the reasonable sort of person who needs to speak out about Christianity.

The first two thirds of the book are divided into a brief history of Christianity itself, and more interestingly, a history of the Bible. [a:Timothy K. Beal|15495|Timothy K. Beal|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1271959918p2/15495.jpg] takes the time to dissuade any reader of the [a:Dan Brown|630|Dan Brown|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1206553442p2/630.jpg] styled notions that things are cut and dry, and instead explains the lack of consistency throughout the Bibles many incarnations. This is fascinating stuff, and moreover, it is important stuff to know when people tend to be hardlining notions that The Bible Says X when it reality that may not be the case.

The final third of the book is spent discussing how one can move forward with the knowledge they have. Like [a:Bert Ehrman] or even [a:Karen Armstrong|2637|Karen Armstrong|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1234543612p2/2637.jpg] [a:Timothy K. Beale] takes the time to explain that turning anyone to atheism is not the message of his work. If it happens, it happens, but nothing is explicitly stated within his piece that says God is Dead. Rather, the book is a celebration on the lack of a univocal Bible and a reminder that one can peel back the layers of these books to make their own meaning.

This book is a throwback to the deeply intellectual religions that [a:Karen Armstrong|2637|Karen Armstrong|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1234543612p2/2637.jpg] celebrated and [a:Bert Ehrman] spends so much time focusing on. These are the intellectuals who find that knowledge itself is a form of worship and questioning the very basis of life. Some things don't require clean-cut answers, and for may things answers do not exist.

This should be celebrated. ( )
1 vote Lepophagus | Jun 14, 2018 |
A look at the Bible as a work of men, not of a God. The author is a Christian scholar who teaches religion and the Bible, and he writes with a light, easy-to-read touch. Unfortunately, that's the essence of the book. It is lightweight. The actual history of the Bible is short changed, and there is only a little discussion of the scholarly work. There is a slight touch of how do we know that, but it is limited. The topic of Biblical history and how it came to be so powerful is minimized, and the discussion of Bible as icon is simplistic. The author's simple, liberal pieties can become hard to take after a time, and his attempt to make the Bible neutral toward homosexuality is painfully strained. In the final chapter, he manages to create a straw-man of atheist thought, and then lights that straw man on fire in a blaze of gotcha glory that will appeal very much to a religious crowd, but to those familiar with the breadth and depth of atheist thought and literature, it will be just another case of empty gesturing. He promises early in the book to explain to us how he continues to be a Christian in the face of his knowledge of Biblical errancy, but fails to really live up to that promise, giving only a few cliches. This is not a different way of looking at the Bible, in spite of his conviction that it is. It is intimately familiar to anyone who has ever encountered a liberal Christian trying to convince people to be neither fundamentalists or non-believers. In the end, I decided this wasn't really a book for grown-up thinkers. ( )
2 vote Devil_llama | Dec 17, 2014 |
Excellent, eye-opening resource! ( )
  aingealkim | Jun 4, 2014 |
Raised in an evangelical family (his parents worked with Campus Crusade for Christ and similar organizations) and now a professor of Biblical studies at Case Western Reserve, Beal knows his Bible and its history. He begins by surveying all the rather peculiar ways in which the Bible is marketed today, especially to evangelicals. I had seen some of these in bookstores but I didn't know about "Biblezines" in which the sidebars of commentary and Tips for Teens eclipse the Bible text; manga Bibles; and Bibles for every age and gender, with "appropriate" bindings -- there's even a Duct Tape Bible! He also points out the use of "Bible" as a term for the definitive work on a subject, from the Shooter's Bible to the Cake Bible. Beal also discusses translations and the difference between those which try to find the most accurate translation of each Hebrew or Greek word, and the "functional equivalent" translations/paraphrases like the Living Bible. Readers who are fairly familiar with the history of the Bible and its criticism may find a lot to skim, but I believe nearly everyone has something to learn from this book.

Beal's book also deals with what I might call the sociology of the Bible and how it achieved a sort of iconic status quite apart from the actual texts and their meanings. He gives a good rundown of Bible history, reminding us that the earliest Christians did not have a common Bible but rather collections of texts which differed from group to group. Beal also has some excellent suggestions for how Bible studies might best be conducted. (If his ideas, which are quite similar to my own, were to be adopted, I'm afraid there'd be a lot of Bible study workbook authors out of work.)

I think both clergy and laypeople could get something from The Rise and Fall of the Bible, and that even atheists (who so often seem to be just a different variety of fundamentalists) could learn enough from it to make some of their arguments a little less ridiculous. Highly recommended. ( )
  auntieknickers | Apr 3, 2013 |
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An acclaimed author takes readers back to early Christianity to ask how a box of handwritten scrolls became the Bible, and forward to see how the multibillion-dollar business that has created Biblezines and Manga Bibles is selling down the Bible's sacred capital.

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