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The Bible

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781529383447

Price: £30

ON SALE: 26th September 2024

Genre: Humanities / Religion & Beliefs / Religion: General / History Of Religion

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‘A stupendous intellectual achievement’ Andrew Pettegree

‘Aching with beauty’ Alec Ryrie

‘Stunning prose and relentless insight’ Willie James Jennings

‘Deserves to find the widest possible audience’ Philip Jenkings

The remarkable story of the most influential book in human history.

The Bible is the world’s best-known text. Yet, it is a book that never was – its original form does not exist and likely never did. What we have is the inheritance of generation after generation of Christians who have sought to hear God speak. Available in over 3,000 languages and taking innumerable forms, each version is a revelation, evolving as a reflection of its own culture and moment.

Bruce Gordon traces the Bible’s astounding journey from its emergence as a codex in the second century, to the Reformation of the Middle Ages, to the spectacular growth of Christianity in the Global South today. It has been a tool for violence and oppression, weaponised in the name of colonialism, and it has expressed hopes for freedom in the struggle for liberation. Found in desert monasteries and Chinese house churches, in Byzantine cathedrals and Guatemalan villages, it has been a book in motion from its very beginnings, a product of more than two thousand years of wandering, restlessness and change.

Breathtakingly global in scope, The Bible is a sweeping history of this sacred book told through the stories of its diverse human encounters in search of the divine – revealing not a static text but a living, dynamic cultural force.


Even the best-informed readers will have much to learn from Bruce Gordon's erudite and accessible history of the Bible, which ranges knowledgeably across eras and Christian traditions, and indeed across continents. It deserves to find the widest possible audience
Philip Jenkins, author of THE NEXT CHRISTENDOM
With stunning prose and relentless insight that could only come from this rightly celebrated historian, Bruce Gordon has given us the book that we need at this moment, a real history of the Bible. In Gordon's capable hands, the Bible becomes a sojourner through history who constantly makes history, and through whom history can be fruitfully understood in all its depths. This book is, quite simply, an intellectual feast
Willie James Jennings, author of THE CHRISTIAN IMAGINATION
This extraordinary book is both a stupendous intellectual achievement and a marvellously accessible guide that will delight everyone interested in how the Christian texts became the Bible, and why it has played such an enduring role in reading and worship in the millennia since
Professor Andrew Pettegree, University of St Andrews
If the word of God is alive, it has now met its best modern biographer. Filled with surprises, and sometimes aching with beauty, this is a book to take you wide-eyed round the world and then lead you back to that old leather-bound volume on your shelf
Alec Ryrie, author of PROTESTANTS