As the single work at the heart of Christianity, the world’s largest organized religion, the Bible is the spiritual guide for one out of every three people in the world. It is also the world’s most widely distributed book and its best-selling, with an estimated six billion copies sold in the last two hundred years. But the Bible is a complex work with a complicated and obscure history. Its contents have changed over the centuries, it has been transformed by translation and, through interpretation, has developed manifold meanings to various religions, denominations, and sects.
In this seminal account, acclaimed historian Karen Armstrong discusses the conception, gestation, life, and afterlife of history’s most powerful book. Armstrong analyzes the social and political situation in which oral history turned into written scripture, how this all-pervasive scripture was collected into one work, and how it became accepted as Christianity’s sacred text, and how its interpretation changed over time. Armstrong’s history of the Bible is a brilliant, captivating book, crucial in an age of declining faith and rising fundamentalism.
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Karen Armstrong is the author of numerous books on religious affairs, including Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions and The Battle for God: A History of Fundamentalism.
British actress and narrator Josephine Bailey has won ten AudioFile Earphones Awards and a prestigious Audie Award, and Publishers Weekly named her Best Female Narrator in 2002.
This latest installment in the Books That Changed the World series portrays the BIBLE as a living organism, examining its development over the centuries and demonstrating how Christian, Jewish, and secular influences are interwoven into the various versions. While the author's reputation for scholarship is evident, this particular effort does not translate well to audio despite Josephine Bailey's competence. Bailey skillfully keeps the text moving, easily handling historical terms and names, but it still sounds like one is listening to a laundry list of names and dates. Perhaps multiple listens might help--as much of the terminology is most likely unfamiliar to the average listener, who would have a far easier experience taking in the information in print. M.H.N. © AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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