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A most peculiar book : the inherent strangeness of the Bible

Swenson, Kristin M. (author.).

Summary: The Bible, we are constantly reminded, is the best-selling book of all time. It is read with intense devotion by hundreds of millions of people, stands as authoritative for Judaism and Christianity, and informs and affects the politics and lives of the religious and non-religious around the world. But how well do we really know it? The Bible is so familiar, so ubiquitous that we have begun to take our knowledge of it for granted. The Bible many of us think we know is a pale imitation of the real thing. In A Most Peculiar Book, Kristin Swenson addresses the dirty little secret of biblical studies that the Bible is a weird book. It is full of surprises and contradictions, unexplained impossibilities, intriguing supernatural creatures, and heroes doing horrible deeds. It does not provide a simple worldview: what "the Bible says" on a given topic is multi-faceted, sometimes even contradictory. Yet, Swenson argues, we have a tendency to reduce the complexities of the Bible to aphorisms, bumper stickers, and slogans. Swenson helps readers look at the text with fresh eyes. A collection of ancient stories and poetry written by multiple authors, held together by the tenuous string of tradition, the Bible often undermines our modern assumptions. And is all the more marvelous and powerful for it. Rather than dismiss the Bible as an outlandish or irrelevant relic of antiquity, Swenson leans into the messiness full-throttle. Making ample room for discomfort, wonder, and weirdness, A Most Peculiar Book guides readers through a Bible that will feel, to many, brand new.

Record details

  • ISBN: 9780190651732
  • ISBN: 0190651733
  • ISBN: 9780190651756
  • Physical Description: print
    xviii, 261 pages ; 22 cm
  • Publisher: New York, NY : Oxford University Press, [2021]

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note: Includes bibliographical references (pages 233-250) and index.
Formatted Contents Note: Introduction: An arranged marriage -- Part I. A book like no other. A problematic book -- But in the original ... -- Part II. Beings odd and otherwise. God -- Angels, demons, and a talking ass -- Good people behaving badly -- Part III. Troubling texts. Impossibilities, normalized -- Misconceptions, misapprehensions -- And general befuddlements -- Part IV. But the Bible says... Arguments behind closed doors -- Biblical (im)morality -- The perennial bestseller -- Ten commandments for reading the Bible.
Subject: Bible Bible Appreciation
Bible Bible Criticism, interpretation, etc
Bible Bible Appr├ęciation
Bible Bible Critique, interpr├ętation, etc
Bible Bible
Bible Bible Appreciation
Bible Bible Criticism, interpretation, etc
RELIGION / Biblical Reference / General
RELIGION / Biblical Criticism & Interpretation / General
Art appreciation
Genre: Informational works.
Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Informational works.
Documents d'information.

Available copies

  • 1 of 1 copy available at Homer Library. (Show)
  • 1 of 1 copy available at Homer Library System. (Show)
  • 1 of 1 copy available at Homer Public Library.


  • 0 current holds with 1 total copy.
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Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Homer Public Library 220.6 SWE (Text) 000165528 Nonfiction Available -

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