What is the history of the bible

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John Barton

The story of the bible

From the origins to the present
Klett-Cotta Verlag, Stuttgart 2020
ISBN 9783608949193
Hardcover, 720 pages, 38.00 EUR


Translated from the English by J. Hagestedt and K. Schuler. Western culture is inconceivable without the Bible. For Judaism and Christianity, it is the foundation of religion and the authority that gives information about what we believe and how we should live. For non-believers, the "Book of Books" is still one of the most important works in world literature, the effect and influence of which has been inscribed in our language and in our thinking. In his book, written as elegantly as it is accessible, one of the world's best connoisseurs comprehensively tells the complex origins and varied history of the Old and New Testaments. John Barton decodes the whole variety of sources and traditions on which the biblical texts are based, and explains in a lucid and generally understandable way the more than 2000 years of the Bible's impact: from its origins to antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Reformation, the Enlightenment and the 19th century into the modern age.

Review note on Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 10.10.2020

Reviewer Johann Hinrich Claussen suspects the problem of John Barton's plan to tell the history of the Bible in a single volume. The necessary restrictions are not doing the project any good, he recognizes. For example, the reviewer misses statements about the understanding of the Bible in the ancient churches of the Middle East or the biblically inspired arts. Above all, however, he misses an own approach, an own question of the author. As sympathetic as the Claussen volume is, as well as being suitable as a brief summary of the history of religion, Judaism and Christianity, and biblical exegesis, the reviewer lacks a story of his own. Claussen would like to point out to all those who like to rave about the stylistically so masterful Anglo-Saxon non-fiction that Barton writes informatively, but also damn cumbersome.
Read the review at buecher.de