The Essential Bible Stories Everyone Needs to Know
By Timothy Beal
(HarperOne, Hardcover, 9780061718625, 368pp.)
Publication Date: October 2009
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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Whether watching political candidates quote Jesus or tracking court cases on how the stories of Adam and Eve should be taught in schools, we are surrounded by the legacy of the Bible in our contemporary world. Every person needs to know the core Bible stories—those biblical stories that have cultural, historical, or literary significance—that lie at the foundation of Western civilization. Professor Timothy Beal argues that without knowing these core stories, we cannot fully participate in the popular, political, and especially spiritual worlds that surround us.
Have you ever been told that you are the apple of someone's eye? Have you ever described a disastrous situation as the blind leading the blind or easily predicted the future by reading the writing on the wall? Unbeknownst to most of us, all these common expressions have biblical roots.
In Biblical Literacy, Beal showcases the Bible stories that have most shaped history and our world and provides the key information we need to know for how to understand these profound stories. In addition, Beal delves into the important historical and cultural back-ground information so that readers can fully understand the impact of these stories on the world we live in now.
For a quick and fun reference, Beal provides the reader with a complete glossary of common phrases and images that have surprising biblical origins, as well as an easily navigable glossary of biblical keywords. Whether an atheist or a churchgoer, every person will benefit from this entry-level course into the heart of the most influential book of all time.
“Beal makes a case for reading, and yes, enjoying, the Bible.”
“In his new book, Biblical Literacy, he introduces readers to key biblical passages and their cultural significance.”
-United Methodist Reporter
“Beal, who compiled need-to-know Bible stories in his new book, Biblical Literacy, talks about how these Sunday school stories are ingrained in pop culture. They are making appearances at your dinner parties, in your favorite music and in a theater near you.”
-Religion News Service
“No book has shaped more culture, value and meaning [than the Bible]. Beal skillfully retells key biblical narratives but also cogently relates them to significant events in history. This is a readable, informative and timely book.”
-Harvey Cox, Hollis Research Professor of Divinity, Harvard University, and author of The Future of Faith
“Tim Beal has written about the rich, thick connections between the Bible and popular culture . . . In a society of deep and dangerous disconnects, the connects of this book serve exceedingly well.”
-Walter Brueggemann, author of The Prophetic Imagination
“With skill and insight, Timothy Beal has given us a great gift: a lucid and engaging introduction to the most important book ever published.”
-Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Lion and editor of Newsweek
“Beal… makes a well-stated case that a knowledge of the Bible is essential to understanding our culture. His book will serve as a handy first step toward that goal-- especially for the reader who may feel intimidated by ‘the boring bits.’”
“A fun and refreshing reference that gives a fresh look at Bible stories many people thought they knew.”
“For those who are approaching the Bible for the first time . . . there is no better place to turn than Timothy Beal’s Biblical Literacy. Here you will find numerous gems of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, along with pithy, helpful, and at times even witty, introductions.”
-Bart D. Ehrman, James A. Gray Professor of Religious Studies, University of North Caroline, Author of Jesus, Interrupted