A uniquely ambitious study of the Bible's creation- how it came to be written, how its contents were selected - and how it really relates to the religions that endorse it.
John Barton was the Oriel and Laing Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture at the University of Oxford from 1991 to 2014 and since 1973 has been a serving priest in the Church of England. He is the author of numerous books on the Bible, co-editor of The Oxford Bible Commentary and editor of The Cambridge Companion to Biblical Interpretation. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2007 and is a Corresponding Fellow of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.
As eminently readable as the best of travelogues, it floods with
light a subject too often regarded by many as a closed book. ...
With emotional and psychological insight, Barton unlocks this
sleeping giant of our culture. In the process, he has produced a
masterpiece. ... If it can only be liberated from such a
straitjacket and allowed to become its full self, the Bible might
just chime once more in a sceptical age. Barton's extraordinary
tour de force is the first book I have ever read that makes
that feel possible. -- Peter Stanford * Sunday Times *
A superb overview ... Barton wears his erudition lightly, but even for those deeply familiar with the Bible there is much here to be learnt -- Bart D Ehrman * Telegraph *
John Barton has written a wise and eminently sane book about a book which has inspired both insanity and wisdom. It is a landmark in the field, and it will do great good -- Diarmaid MacCulloch
Belief in the Bible as 'the preserved word of God' is prevalent in many sections of the Christian Church, but it is one Barton sets out to challenge in this calm and magisterial work -- Richard Holloway * Spectator *
Barton remains the scholar that he ever was. ... Barton's book is an achievement in the finest tradition of Anglicanism: learned, mild-mannered and quietly anxious about the challenges of reconciling scepticism with faith. -- Tom Holland * Financial Times *
This magisterial account of the book and its history ... is the book to hurl at the new atheists who quote from the embarrassing bits of the Old Testament to discredit the God project. ... It's fascinating. -- Melanie McDonagh * Evening Standard *
Barton is a sure-footed guide ... A serious book for serious readers. In it they will find all they want and much more, lucidly set out and explained -- Richard Harries * Literary Review *
Hugely important ... This very readable and judicious work should be a must for preachers, teachers, and all who are serious about the Bible's place in their religion. -- Anthony Phillips * Church Times *
This is a remarkable book. ... It is just the thing for educated and intelligent readers who want to know more about the Bible, which has left so deep a mark on the cultures of the world. ... This is a book for our time, and it is warmly recommended. -- Nicholas King SJ * Tablet *