Magazine article U.S. Catholic

How to Read the Bible

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

How to Read the Bible

Article excerpt


By Harvey Cox (HarperOne, 2015)


In 1965 a young Harvard theologian named Harvey Cox achieved national fame with The Secular City (rereleased by Princeton University Press in 2013), a book that encourages churches to engage with movements for social change. The book sold more than a million copies and is generally regarded as one of the most influential works of Protestant theology in the 20th century.

Fifty years later Cox is still publishing, and still provocative. His new book, How to Read the Bible, is a tour through both the Bible and the history of biblical criticism. With such a wide diversity of approaches to reading the Bible available, it is easy to be overwhelmed. Cox shows he has lost none of his talent for expressing complex ideas in accessible ways.

Cox's method is to take a book of the Bible and show how particular schools of criticism open up new insights. In his chapter on Genesis, for example, Cox explains the use of "source criticism," an approach that was originally developed in the 19th century. …

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