Bible Matters

Filed in Latest News by on November 19, 2017

Peter and Charlotte Vardy

One of the puzzling aspects of the most read and studied book in the history of civilisation is how little people know about it. The bible has shaped so many dimensions of Western culture through the foundational scriptures for Judaism and Christianity. One could not imagine the composition of the Koran without the biblical context. During the last 2000 years other non-Western cultures have also been influenced by the bible, especially in jurisprudence and democratic ideals.

However popular surveys indicate how widespread is a basic ignorance about the origins, history, language, ethical teachings and literary genre of the bible. Even today after hundreds of years of hermeneutics, literalism is still the bane of many Christians. The relationship between mythos and logos is still a contentious issue in the use of the bible.

Bible Matters is a significant contribution to address this ignorance. This is a timely book which is easily read, very comprehensive as a summary of major issues about the bible and a ready reference source for themes and contemporary scholarship about the bible. The authors display an impressive depth of their own distilled learning in biblical studies. They have the gift of being able to communicate so concisely a huge expanse of information and diverse opinions about the unfolding story of biblical studies. There is a plethora of references to literary sources and a very complete Glossary as an easy access site.

The scope of the topics covers major issues in biblical studies today, including enduring questions about biblical truth, development of historical criticism, the quest for the historical Jesus, the bible and ethics. Of particular interest for me are the chapters on women in the bible and political readings of the bible .

In view of the crisis in the state of planetary health, perhaps a section on the topic of the bible and environment would be further addition to the wealth of information in Bible Matters. For Jewish and Christian believers the bible is a foundational book about God’s revelation . Biblical spirituality has nourished billions of believers. The tradition of ‘Lectio Divina’ is a time honoured practice of reading and meditating on the Word of God in the bible. Bible Matters would be a helpful resource for deepening the prayerful experience of ‘Lect io Divina’ .

The book would be an ideal resource for Studies of Religion teachers and students as well as a helpful book in adult life and faith formation. This book is a ‘ must -have’ for parish resource centres.

I congratulate the authors on such a book and hope it is widely used to enhance knowledge and spirituality of the bible.

Dr Kevin Treston, Brisbane
Bible Matters London. SCM Press. 2015

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