The Bible continues to be the world''s runaway bestseller. But very few people could tell you just how its seemingly disparate jumble of writings — letters, stories, poems, collections of laws, religious visions — got there. Filling this knowledge gap clearly and objectively, "How the Bible Was Built" relates the story of how the Bible came to be the Bible.
Penned by Charles Merrill Smith in response to his teenage granddaughter''s questions, the manuscript was discovered after Smith''s death and has now been reworked for a wider audience by writer James Bennett. Free of theological or sectarian slant, "How the Bible Was Built" gives a factual overview of the Bible''s construction. Treating it as a house with two wings (the Old and New Testaments) connected by a passageway (the Apocrypha), the authors examine the biblical books that make up each wing''s foundation, walls, and roof.
With this book in hand, readers will learn about the disagreements of various church councils concerning which books ought to be viewed as authoritative (a book called the Shepherd of Hermas almost made the cut, while Revelation, to name one, almost didn''t). They may well be surprised to learn that debate over the canon didn''t really come to a close until the Protestant Reformation and the invention of the printing press over a thousand years after Jesus lived. Readers will also find help with difficult biblical terms and important dates.
It''s hard to overstate the quality of writing in this little book. People of virtually any reading level and virtually any religious persuasion will all come away with a new grasp of how the writings contained in the Old Testament, the Apocrypha, and the New Testament came to be regarded as special by different groups of Jews and Christians — and how they ultimately came to be regarded as Holy Scripture.
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