The Bible has been a rich source of inspiration for two thousand years, one of the great wellsprings of Western civilization. In The Oxford Guide to Ideas and Issues of the Bible, dozens of eminent scholars explore how the Bible has influenced our religious, ethical, artistic, and philosophical traditions.
Here are more than two hundred alphabetically-arranged entries that explore key aspects of the Bible and its teachings. The contributors examine what the Bible says about timeless issues such as adultery and abortion, divorce and drunkenness, marriage and murder, suffering and temptation; and they discuss religious concepts found in the Bible, ranging from incarnation, sin, and grace, to baptism, ethics, and the Holy Spirit. The book also considers the wider intellectual world, examining the Bible's influence on Western law and medicine and it looks at how the Bible has been viewed by thinkers such as Marx and Freud and by fields such as social science and archaeology. Thoughtful essays also analyze the Bible's influence on human creativity, in areas such as music, dance, art, and literature (the latter includes an extensive discussion of the impact of the Bible on American writing, from Cotton Mather to Saul Bellow). There is even an article on everyday expressions from the Bible, ranging from "the love of money is the root of all evil" to such common sayings as "the skin of one's teeth," "at one's wit's end," and "you can't take it with you."
The Oxford Guide to Ideas and Issues of the Bible brings together a wealth of insight into the Bible's impact on our culture. It is an essential addition to any school or home library.
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From Library Journal:
Bruce M. Metzger is Collord Professor Emeritus of New Testament Language and Literature, Princeton Theological Seminary. He was chairperson of the NRSV Bible Committee, which produced the New Revised Standard Version. Michael D. Coogan is Professor of Religious Studies at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts, and Director of Publications for the Harvard Semitic Museum. A widely regarded interpreter of the biblical world, he is the editor of The New Oxford Annotated Bible (Third Edition) and The Oxford History of the Biblical World and co-editor (with Bruce M. Metzger) of The Oxford Companion to the Bible and The Oxford Guide to People and Places of the Bible.
In a different vein, eminent biblical scholars Metzger (emeritus, New Testament language and literature, Princeton Theological Seminary) and Coogan (religious studies, Stonehill Coll.) present a thick volume of Bible-related ideas, themes, and imagery that pull from history, geography, literature, art, and philosophy. Although the jacket states that it is intended for lay as well as scholarly audiences, some familiarity with biblical issues is necessary, since this work is derived from the earlier Oxford Companion to the Bible. This volume offers selected entries from the Companion, providing more in-depth historical, philosophical, and cultural considerations, particularly as they relate to issues of the Bible as well as to ideas about biblical interpretation. It is here that this work truly excels: entries like "History of Interpretation," "Myth," "Feminism and the Bible," and "Science and the Bible" give lengthy accounts of each of these terms, marking this as a more comprehensive cultural atlas to the Bible as an object of study and interpretation. Recommended for serious Bible collections. Sandra Collins, Duquesne Univ. Lib., Pittsburgh, PA
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