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WINNER OF THE 2019 DUFF COOPER PRIZE A SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER 'With emotional and psychological insight, Barton unlocks this sleeping giant of our culture. In the process, he has produced a masterpiece.' Sunday Times The Bible is the central book of Western culture. For the two faiths which hold it sacred, it is the bedrock of their religion, a singular authority on what to believe and how to live. For non-believers too, it has a commanding status: it is one of the great works of world literature, woven to an unparalleled degree into our language and thought. This book tells the story of the Bible, explaining how it came to be constructed and how it has been understood, from its remote beginnings down to the present. John Barton describes how the narratives, laws, proverbs, prophecies, poems and letters which comprise the Bible were written and when, what we know - and what we cannot know - about their authors and what they might have meant, as well as how these extraordinarily disparate writings relate to each other. His incisive readings shed new light on even the most familiar passages, exposing not only the sources and traditions behind them, but also the busy hands of the scribes and editors who assembled and reshaped them. Untangling the process by which some texts which were regarded as holy, became canonical and were included, and others didn't, Barton demonstrates that the Bible is not the fixed text it is often perceived to be, but the result of a long and intriguing evolution. Tracing its dissemination, translation and interpretation in Judaism and Christianity from Antiquity to the rise of modern biblical scholarship, Barton elucidates how meaning has both been drawn from the Bible and imposed upon it. Part of the book's originality is to illuminate the gap between religion and scripture, the ways in which neither maps exactly onto the other, and how religious thinkers from Augustine to Luther and Spinoza have reckoned with this. Barton shows that if we are to regard the Bible as 'authoritative', it cannot be as believers have so often done in the past.
This book brings together some of the world's most exciting scholars from across a variety of disciplines to provide a concise and accessible guide to the Hebrew Bible. It covers every major genre of book in the Old Testament together with in-depth discussions of major themes such as human nature, covenant, creation, ethics, ritual and purity, sacred space, and monotheism. This authoritative overview sets each book within its historical and cultural context in the ancient Near East, paying special attention to its sociological setting. It provides new insights into the reception of the books and the different ways they have been studied, from historical-critical enquiry to modern advocacy approaches such as feminism and liberation theology. It also includes a guide to biblical translations and textual criticism and helpful suggestions for further reading. Featuring contributions from experts with backgrounds in the Jewish and Christian faith traditions as well as secular scholars in the humanities and social sciences, The Hebrew Bible is the perfect starting place for anyone seeking a user-friendly introduction to the Old Testament, and an invaluable reference book for students and teachers.
A comprehensive and lively introduction to the Old Testament, suitable for sixth-form, university and ministerial students, as well as the interested general reader. It provides a complete course covering history, archaeology, geography and textual interpretation. Its core is a set of chapters on central biblical themes including the nature of God, human suffering, ethics, the relation of God to Israel and the covenant. There are detailed chapters on aspects such as prophecy, worship, law, apocalyptic and wisdom literature and historiography. The book is extensively illustrated and easily navigable with icons, sidebars and boxes providing helpful information and questions for discussion.
Whether you see the Bible as the living word of God, or as a highly
significant document from the ancient world, or as one of the
classic works of world literature, The Oxford Bible Commentary will
put in your hands everything you need to study and understand the
The Bible: The Basics is an accessible and engaging introduction to the Bible as both a sacred text, central to the faith of millions, and a classic work of Western literature, containing a tapestry of genres, voices, perspectives, and images. This guide skilfully addresses both aspects of the Bible's character by exploring: the rich variety of literary forms, from poetry to prophecy and epistles to apocalypses; the historical, geographic, and social context of the Bible; contemporary attitudes to the Bible held by believers and non-believers; the status of biblical interpretation today. The second edition has been updated throughout and includes maps and detailed suggestions for further reading. This is an ideal starting point for people of any faith, or none, who are studying the Bible in any setting or who simply want to know more about the best-selling book of all time.
Renowned poet and editor John Barton collects his most provocative essays, public lectures, and reviews produced over the past twenty-five years. Barton began publishing in an era much less attentive to queer voices. In this special book, Barton grafts his own memoir about finding his voice as a poet and feet as an editor to astute takes on Margaret Avison, Emily Carr, Pat Lowther, Maureen Hynes, Anne Szumigalski, and many others. Making this book even more essential reading is the larger cultural context Barton brings to bear by writing about the historical production evolution and reception of queer writing in the lengthening shadow of equity.
Ethics in Ancient Israel is a study of ethical thinking in ancient Israel from around the eighth to the second century BC. The evidence for this consists primarily of the Old Testament/ Hebrew Bible and Apocrypha, but also other ancient Jewish writings such as the Dead Sea Scrolls and various anonymous and pseudonymous texts from shortly before the New Testament period. Professor John Barton argues that there were several models for thinking about ethics, including a 'divine command' theory, something approximating to natural law, a virtue ethic, and a belief in human custom and convention. Moreover, he examines ideas of reward and punishment, purity and impurity, the status of moral agents and patients, imitation of God, and the image of God in humanity. Barton maintains that ethical thinking can be found not only in laws but also in the wisdom literature, in the Psalms, and in narrative texts. There is much interaction with recent scholarship in both English and German. The book features discussion of comparative material from other ancient Near Eastern cultures and a chapter on short summaries of moral teaching, such as the Ten Commandments. This innovative work should be of interest to those concerned with the interpretation of the Old Testament but also to students of ethics.
The study presents archival evidence to show how President Kaunda raised political and economic exclusivity in Zambia in the early years of Zambia's independence, and how this retarded capital investment. Despite formal reforms and a new government, this institutional mechanism still dominates and constrains Zambia's political economy today.
"Generations of actors joining the RSC have benefited from John Barton's teaching" Trevor Nunn "One of the sanest, wisest and most practical volumes I have ever read about Shakespeare" Michael Billington John Barton is Advisory Director at the Royal Shakespeare Company and has directed some of the greatest Shakespeare productions of our time. His book, Playing Shakespeare, is a transcript of his televised workshops with some of our finest Shakespearean actors: Peggy Ashcroft, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Ben Kingsley, Patrick Stewart and David Suchet. "What the programmes and published text reveal, is the method and principle approach of acting Shakespeare which has been fundamental to the Royal Shakespeare Company since it was formed" Trevor Nunn. This new edition contains a DVD with 80mins of video featuring John Barton in conversation with Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart and Jane Lapotaire discussing changes in approaches to Shakespeare's text since the book first published. This edition also features a foreword by Michael Boyd. A highly readable and non-academic approach to understanding Shakespeare's text - unlocking the hidden stage directions and actors clues that reside in his verse. "When an actor becomes aware of them, s/he will find that Shakespeare himself starts to direct them" John Barton.
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