The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book

In this revelatory exploration of one of our most revered icons, a critically acclaimed author and professor 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 Showing us how a singleIn this revelatory exploration of one of our most revered icons, a critically acclaimed author and professor 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 Showing us how a single official text was created from the proliferation of different scripts, Beal traces its path as it became embraced as the word of God and Book of books Among his surprising insights Christianity thrived for centuries without any Bible there was no official canon of scriptures, much less a book big enough to hold them all Congregations used various collections of scrolls and codices There is no original Bible, no single source text behind the thousands of different Bibles on the market today The farther we go back in the Bible s history, the versions we find The idea of the Bible as the literal Word of God is relatively new only about a century old Beal s is an inspiring new take on the Bible In calling for a fresh understanding of the ways scriptures were used in the past, he offers the 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.
The Rise and Fall of the Bible The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book In this revelatory exploration of one of our most revered icons a critically acclaimed author and professor takes us back to early Christianity to ask how a box of handwritten scrolls became the Bibl

  • Title: The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book
  • Author: Timothy Beal
  • ISBN: 9780151013586
  • Page: 430
  • Format: Hardcover
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    1 thought on “The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book”

    1. Imagine C.S. Lewis and the Screwtape Letter's demons. But an angel classroom setting.Professor McThrone: "Class, settle down now. We have a fair bit of human linguistic crap, I mean LITERATE BABBLE to get through. Please retract your wings and focus."Angel Noobious: "Sir, are we still dealing with liberal unbelief and misunderstood contradictions?"Prof M: "Yes, we'll pick up where we left off - ummmh, humans and the Bible."Angel Swiftly: "So we all know that God didn't just give people a magic b [...]

    2. After a couple of fascinating chapters on the Bible in today's American culture, the last half of the book is a well-written summary of the way the Bible came to be, a history of manuscripts, translations, and interpretations. It was the first part that was new to me--Beal quotes some statistics, among them the fact that the average Christian household in America has nine Bibles and buys a new one every year. Most Americans think the Bible is the authoritative word of God, but they can't name th [...]

    3. This is a delightful book that you should buy for both searchers and skeptical anti-religious types. Tim Beal’s topic is the invention, circulation and modification of the Bible into a Protestant icon, a commodity, a “magic 8 ball”, the “most revered book never read.” Today’s editions include loose translations that “get to the point”, satisfy your politics, give tips for grilling, or teenage living. Beal shows how this practice emerged from the earliest circulation of scrolls, c [...]

    4. This isn't your "typical" introduction to the Bible or biblical studies. Beal's aim in this text is to shine light on and subsequently deconstruct the idea of the Bible as a sort of answer book that arrived via facsimile from heaven. And he accomplishes this aim effectively. The chapters are peppered with references to the author's own complicated journey with the biblical texts, and these have the effect of grounding the theoretical in something more concrete. This was a thoroughly enjoyable re [...]

    5. This was an intriguing and engrossing read. It offers a fascinating portrayal of the way the Bible evolved, and continues to do so, especially in the context of American history. It's artfully, sometimes beautifully, written in a way that is both sophisticated and accessible. Though I majored in religious studies in college, I'm by no means a religious scholar, and based on my experience with this book I'd say that all one really needs to get into it is a healthy curiosity and a little patience. [...]

    6. I don't normally downrate books for not being what I expected, but I feel like this one deliberately misled me. The title's reference to "rise and fall" refers to the marketing and modern translation trends that began in the 1970s, as Christian publishing houses repackaged the Bible to appeal to younger, hipper audiences, and later every specific niche market they could identify.The subtitle, Unexpected History of an Accidental Book, appeared to me to promise an actual history of the Bible's cre [...]

    7. I went into this without knowing much about Mr. Beal or this book. For whatever reason, I assumed that Mr. Beal was/is much more liberal, seeking to destroy fundamentalists and reliance on the Bible as the inerrant Word of God. THIS IS NOT THAT BOOK. instead, Beal quickly examines the consumer culture and ideas about the Bible, and contrasts those ideas with the way we know the Bible was originally written, distributed, and compiled. He isn't interested in disavowing the Bible because it wasn't [...]

    8. I was intrigued, enlightened and fascinated with Beal's open-ended and open-minded approach to Biblical study. He calls the Bible "a library of questions, not a book of answers." "The Bible opens itself to mystery. It is faithful not to the answer but to the question that takes you to the edge of knowing."

    9. I read this book in one day, it was great. I especially like the section about the biz of Bible publishing, how the publishers are banking on the fact that lovers of "the book" will always be buying a new copy. Very insightful book by a professor who still maintains that he is a believer, even though he knows that the Bible is flawed.

    10. Phenomenal book. So much good info. And Beal presents it fairly and without any expectation from the reader except to dwell on these things and draw your own conclusions. Love it so much. I'm probably going to re-read again in a few months.

    11. Definitely not a book I would recommend, and one that I would most likely burn instead of selling. Beal is too hung-up on his personal experiences to objectively critique the Scriptures as we know them.

    12. Currently LOVING this book. Check out the numerous reviews of it already. Thus far one of the best books I read all year.

    13. Beal's work here is solid - it is well researched, provides relevant details, and is mostly, I think, accessible for most readers.As the title suggests, this book is about "The Bible." Beal, a Christian, begins his exploration with a discussion of the present and immediate past that is both enlightening in many regards, but also, I would think, disheartening for people who attach some meaning of their faith to the Bible. As Beal notes, there has been a boom in Bible publishing in the last 3 deca [...]

    14. 1CSome scholars of religion may balk at my integration of personal history in this book, not to mention my explicit religious interest in its argument, 1D writes Timothy Beal in his long note to chapter one of this somewhat unusual book, which combines memoir relating to the Bible with speculation about the Bible 19s place in modern society 14including a contemporary look at the 1Cvalue-added 1D industry not only of Bible commentary but also 1CBiblezines 1D that are aimed at the young and biblic [...]

    15. Lightly researched and somewhat subjective musing about the history of the Bible ; an easy read with a few interesting perspectives and takeaways.

    16. 4.5 stars. While reading this book, I kept thinking of that line from the musical Wicked: "There are precious few at ease with moral ambiguities, so we act as though they don't exist." There the wizard was talking about American history, but he could have also been talking about the modern approach to the Bible — what Beal describes as a belief that the Bible is the final and authoritative word of God, written with one, non-contradictory voice. This is a belief that people tend to hold unless [...]

    17. The Rise and Fall of The Bible is an excellent book, well worth reading if in your reading of the Bible you have ended up with more questions and answers, and in this have felt guilty because you have been led to believe by some well-meaning person that it was the place where you'd find all the answers. This is the first book by Timothy Beal that I have read, but it won't be the last. This book is very scholarly, but, in saying this, it is also very readable. What he writes comes from both perso [...]

    18. 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; [...]

    19. This is the sort of book that more people need to read. Timothy K. Beal 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. Timothy K. Beal takes the time to dissuade any reader of the Dan Brown styled notions that things are cut and dry, and instead explains the lack of consistency throughout the Bibles many incarnations. This is fascin [...]

    20. Beal is a professor of religion at Case Western Reserve University, and an accomplished author. His writing style is fluid, intelligent and entertaining. I confess, though, that I’m not totally sure what the focus of this book is! The subtitle is The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book, which is pretty open-ended, and Beal takes advantage of his generic subtitle to meander around a bit, working in a number of interesting tidbits and topics. Makes for a great, if a bit undirected, read.Bea [...]

    21. The Rise and Fall of the Bible by Timothy BealHoughton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011196 pages*Non-fiction; Christian5/5 starsSource: Received a free review copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest reviewI wasn't sure what to expect with this book but it looked interesting so I requested it. I was pleasantly surprised. Beal wants us to revise and rexamine our notions about the Bible and our interactions with it. The prevalent way of viewing the Bible seems to be that it is God's Word and that it con [...]

    22. From the book:"The iconic idea of the Bible as a book of black-and-white answers encourages us to remain in a state of spiritual immaturity. It discourages curiosity in the terra incognita of biblical literature, handing us a Magic 8 Ball Bible to play with instead. In turning readers away from the struggle, from wrestling with the rich complexity of biblical literature and its history, in which there are no easy answers, it perpetuates an adolescent faith.""We sometimes hear people accuse funda [...]

    23. The modern Bible is a mess. But that doesn't mean it's no longer valid.An interesting look at the Bible, past, present, and future, from a man who understands what the thing is but who remains dedicated to Christianity.I've recently come away from the idea of the Bible as inerrant and complete. My background makes it difficult to care about the Bible as a spiritual text after having done so. So, I really did need to see this man's viewpoint.That is, that the first thing to remember is that there [...]

    24. I don’t think there is any question to the power of the Bible. It is easily the most influential work in history. However, the Bible is also the most divisive work in history. The Christian church, which puts great authority in the Bible, has split over and over again due to the abundant interpretations of Scripture. How the Bible came to be is an important question that needs to be answered.I picked up this book because it sounded very interesting and I have always been intrigued by the evolu [...]

    25. This is a wonderful book. Well-written and very substantial, despite its relatively small size. Beal considers the Bible both as a scholar and as an individual Christian, and many of his personal thoughts are the same as mine. The most important message--the "Bible" is NOT the literal, inerrant Word of God. (As anyone who has read it should know.) There's no one definitive version of the Bible, and it's not just one "univocal" book. To quote the author: "e Bible" literally means "the Book," and [...]

    26. Tim Beal, Florence Harkness professor of Religion at Case Western Reserve University argues that the abundance of online Bible materials, 'zines, Manga Bibles, and a profusion of functional-equivalence modern translations contribute to the devaluation and even disappearance of the Bible. Bible magazines actually promote not the Bible but notes highlighting what the text should be made to mean. The biblical text itself on these pages is not what attracts the reader's eye. And there's a lot of mat [...]

    27. I really enjoyed this book. Obviously, it's a subject that can be HIGHLY controversial, especially if you are someone who believes in the inerrancy of scripture. I thought it was a thoughtful and informative discussion of 1. the marketing of the Bible and the sheer amount of "value added" (extra stuff that is highly subjective but so often read as fact) and 2. the role of the various Biblical texts throughout history. When you understand that in the days of the early church, there was no Bible a [...]

    28. In the modern Christian subculture, there is no limit to the amount of Bibles that we see published. We have countless Study Bibles, Bibles directed at a certain demographic (Men's Bibles, Women's Bibles, Teen's Bibles, Married Couple's Bibles, etc, etc, etc).It is this subcultural phenomenon that Timothy Beal pokes fun at, and challenges. He takes a much more liberal view of the Old and New Testaments than I do, seeing a collection of documents with errors and contradictions. In fact, his overa [...]

    29. INITIALLY, I THOUGHT THIS WAS A BOOK DEBUNKING THE BIBLE. BEAL PRESENTS A HISTORY OF THE BIBLE - ITS ROOTS, ITS DEVELOPMENT OVER THE CENTURIES. HOW CAN THIS BE THE WORD OF GOD WITH ITS CONTRADICTIONS, ITS INCONSISTENCIES? HOW CAN THIS THEN PROVIDE ANSWERS TO OUR QUESTIONS AND HELP SOLVE OUR PROBLEMS? AND THERE ARE SO MANY BIBLES, EACH WITH A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT READ. THERE'S AN EYE OPENING EXPOSE OF THE BIBLE PUBLICATION INDUSTRY. THIS HIT HOME AS I LOOKED AT THE MANY AND DIFFERENT COPIES OF THE [...]

    30. I've been reading about the early Church and Bible canon lately, and Beal's book fills in some of the details I've been looking for. It's a little too liberal in places for my taste, but well worth the read. The Bible wasn't written as one book. It was written, edited, translated, and compiled over thousands of years. Books didn't exist in the first century; they were written on individual scrolls. Texts tended to change somewhat over the centuries for a number of reasons, and there are no extan [...]

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