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For two hundred years, scholars have been analyzing one of the most important books ever writtenthe Bibleand overturning much of what we once thought we knew. Everyday Christians, however, are not privy to this deeper conversation. It is for these people that renowned bishop and author John Shelby Spong presents Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World, a book designed to take readers into the contemporary academic debate about the Bible.
A definitive voice for progressive Christianity, Spong frees readers from a literal view of the Bible. He opens the possibility that some of the characters in the New Testament are imaginary composites or even literary creationssuch as Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus; Judas Iscariot; Nicodemus; the Samaritan woman by the well; and Lazarus who was raised from the dead. He presents the Bible as an ever-changing and always growing story. He demonstrates that it is possible to be both a deeply committed Christian and an informed twenty-first-century citizen.
In this thorough, substantive guide, Spong explores the origin and essential meaning of each of the individual books in the Bible, examining the background, the context, the level of authenticity and even the trustworthiness of the messages found there. He explains why these particular books, written between two and three thousand years ago, came to be regarded as authoritative and preserved as sacred; he traces the pathway that biblical religion has traveled as it evolved through the centuries, and he shows how people have misused many of these texts in the service of their prejudices.
Reaching far beyond the familiar Sunday-school stories that have provided the content of most peoples biblical knowledge, Spongs journey into the heart of the Bible is his attempt to call his readers into their own journeys into the mystery of God. One does not, he asserts, have to twist ones brain into a first-century pretzel in order to take the Bible seriously in this increasingly non-religious world.
About the Author
John Shelby Spong was the Episcopal Bishop of Newark for twenty-four years prior to his retirement in 2000. Since then he has taught at Harvard University, the University of the Pacific and Drew University and he has been a visiting lecturer at universities and churches throughout North America and the English-speaking world. His books have sold over a million copies and he is regarded as one of Christianitys frontier twenty-first-century thinkers. His bestselling titles include Eternal Life: A New Vision, Jesus for the Non-Religious, The Sins of Scripture, A New Christianity for a New World, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, Resurrection: Myth or Reality?, Why Christianity Must Change or Die and his autobiography, Here I Stand. He lives with his wife, Christine, in Morris Plains, New Jersey.
Praise for Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World…
“Brings biblical scholarship to those who sit in church pews, but without getting bogged down in debates about biblical minutiae .... This book is well paced, the arguments are easy to follow, and Spong accomplishes exactly what he set out to do. A compelling and thought-provoking read.”