Bible Babel: Making Sense of the Most Talked About Book of All Time by Kristin Swenson presents a fascinating overview of the runaway favorite book for all kinds of Americans, considered to be holy by a full 84 percent of the U.S. population.
She is a professor of religious studies at Virginia Commonwealth University's School of World Studies in Richmond. "The Bible is all around us, yet as alien as E.T.," she writes, and so she assesses both the Jewish and Christian texts, the history behind them, and the organization of the Scriptures.
Swenson doesn't shy away from discussing the combative ways people use biblical texts today, especially in regard to controversial subjects such as science and the origins of the universe, homosexuality, abortion, poverty and prosperity, anti-Semitism and the position of women.
Other subjects covered include Jesus, men, God, Satan, angels and demons, and biblical sites to be seen. One of the best things about Bible Babel is the author's wide-ranging and creative use of anecdotes and references to Scripture in films, popular music and fiction best-sellers (HarperOne ).
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