“Kristin Swenson offers a confident, well-paced, well-informed, and accessible guide to Bible basics and biblical literacy.” — Walter Brueggemann, author of An Unsettling God: The Heart of the Hebrew Bible Bible Babel, from author and religious studies professor Kristin Swenson, is a lively, humorous, and very readable introduction to the Bible—what’s in it, where it comes from, and how it is used in our culture today. If you’ve ever wondered about the origin of the Christian fish symbol; the history of the Good Book; how the Bible weighs in on contemporary political issues; or even the biblical source of pop-culture references in WALL-E or Battlestar Galatica, then this is the book for you. Readers of A. J. Jacobs’s Year of Living Biblically and David Plotz’s Good Book will enjoy Bible Babel, a perfect primer for anyone interested in the Bible—secular and believing alike.
Drawing upon the most recent scholarship concerning the origins, interpretation, and translation of the Bible, Swenson, a professor of religious studies at Virginia Commonwealth University and occasional contributor to PW, joins her own voice to the babel of tongues talking about the Bible and its impact on popular culture. With nonchalance, she goes through topics as diverse as the history of the Bible, the history behind the Bible, misquoted passages from the Bible, great heroes and heroines of the Bible, and places in the Bible. For example, in choosing a Bible translation, Swenson recommends getting and comparing a number of different translations because seeing the ways that the translations differ yields remarkable insights into the Bible s development. Swenson peppers her survey with references to popular culture, from the Simpsons to Metallica, as she demonstrates the Bible s continued influence on society. In her sometimes overly simple, sometimes humorous book, Swenson successfully shows why, in spite of all its difficulties, the Bible remains a thought-provoking and infinite source of inspiration and debate for all kinds of people.