A few months ago an important book of the Bible came out, written for general readers but based on a life-long pursuit of scholarship by a senior scholar at Oxford, John Barton.  I was asked to write a review of the book for the London newspaper, The Telegraph, without having yet seen the book.  It is really terrific, one of the best introductions to the Bible (that is not a textbook, in any sense) that is available.  I am not allowed because of copyright issues to publish my entire review on the blog, but the editors at the Telegraph have allowed me to reproduce a portion of it, to give you the idea of what I say, and to see what the book is about.   If you want the full review, please go here:  https://www.telegraph.co.uk/books/what-to-read/warts-and-all-history-bible-essential-reading/

Here is part of what I say, the beginning bit of the review and then some of the more important parts later in it:


The Bible continues to be the most commonly purchased, widely read, and deeply revered book in the English-speaking world, important not only as Scripture for communities of faith but also as a cultural artefact for anyone interested in the literature, art, music, philosophy, and history of the West.  It is also an undeniably mysterious book, widely misunderstood, misinterpreted, and misused.  Where does one go to learn what this book actually means, where it came from, and how it has been read, both by Jews and by Christians?

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