Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Christianity

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

Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Christianity

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

Article excerpt

THE RISE AND FALL OF THE BIBLE: THE UNEXPECTED HISTORY OF AN ACCIDENTAL BOOK. Timothy Beai, New York: Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, 2011. Pp. ix + 244, hardcover. ISBN 978-015-101358-6. Reviewed by Geoffrey W. Sutton (Evangel University/Springfield, MO).

Beai, a Professor of Religion at Case Western Reserve University, offers an informative review of the Bible as a cultural icon. The Bible has image recognition and star quality. It remains a best seller, but Bible reading is minimal even among those described as Bible-believing. As an icon, it is part of American civil life and multiple versions reside on American tables and bookshelves.

In eight chapters, Beai reviews highlights of recent research and scholarship, which are pertinent to the origins of the biblical manuscripts and how they came to be a part of the canon that dominates bestselling versions in the United States. Seal's analysis explains some misunderstandings about the formation of the various compilations of scripture as revealed in recent national polls. In addition to comments on text formation and selection, he suggests how doctrinal beliefs affected the inclusion or exclusion of various documents or components thereof. He also suggests how some Christian beliefs, based on limited evidence, have gained prominence, especially in the United States.

Seal's introductory work will be of interest to JPC readers who have not covered a similar history in their post-secondary education. Academicians may find it a useful adjunct text in a first course on the integration of Psychology and Christianity. …

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