Personal and accessible . . . "The Rise and Fall of the Bible" is Beal s attempt to shatter this popular understanding of the Bible as a combination of divine instruction manual and self-help book. Adam Kirsch, "Tablet"
In this revelatory exploration, a noted religion scholar and former evangelical Christian takes us 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 brought us Biblezines and manga Bibles is selling down the Bible s sacred capital. Among his surprising insights:
*Christianity thrived for centuries without any Bible. Early congregations used collections of scrolls; there was no official canon of scriptures and no book existed that was big enough to hold them.
*The idea of the Bible as the literal Word of God is only about a century old.
*There is no original Bible behind the thousands of Bibles on the market today. The further back we go in the Bible s history, the more versions we find.
In "The Rise and Fall of the Bible" Beal offers a chance to rediscover a Bible, and a faith, that is truer to its own history not a book of answers but a library of questions.
Part autobiography, part social scientific research, part shrewd discernment, and part theological interpretation Tim Beal has written a zinger of a book about the cultural history of the Bible. This welcome and important book will cause a pause before we make glib claims for the Word of the Lord. Walter Brueggemann
Beal . . . makes a compelling case against the idea of a fully consistent and unerring book, positing instead a very human volume with all the twists and foibles of the human experience, truly reflecting that human experience. He presents a convincing case for a radical rereading of the text, an honest appreciation of this sacred book. An engrossing and excellent work, highly recommended. "Publishers Weekly," starred review"