Book of God: Special Limited Edition

Overview

Here is the story of the Bible from beginning to end as you've never read it before, retold with exciting detail and passionate energy by master storyteller Walter Wangerin Jr. The Book of God reads like a fine novel, dramatizing the sweep of biblical events, making the men and women of this ancient book come alive in vivid detail and dialogue. From Abraham wandering in the desert to Jesus teaching the multitudes on a Judean hillside, this award-winning best-seller follows the biblical story in chronological ...
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Overview

Here is the story of the Bible from beginning to end as you've never read it before, retold with exciting detail and passionate energy by master storyteller Walter Wangerin Jr. The Book of God reads like a fine novel, dramatizing the sweep of biblical events, making the men and women of this ancient book come alive in vivid detail and dialogue. From Abraham wandering in the desert to Jesus teaching the multitudes on a Judean hillside, this award-winning best-seller follows the biblical story in chronological order. Priests and kings, apostles and prophets, common folk and charismatic leaders -- individual stories offer glimpses into an unfolding revelation that reaches across the centuries to touch us today.

Author Biography: Walter Wangerin Jr. is widely recognized as one of the most gifted writers writing today on the issues of faith and spirituality. Among his books are The Book of God; Paul: A Novel; Whole Prayer; Reliving the Passion; Preparing for Jesus; Mary's First Christmas; Peter's First Easter; Ragman and Other Cries of Faith; Miz Lil and the Chronicles of Grace; Little Lamb, Who Made Thee? Mourning Into Dancing; The Book of Sorrows; A Miniature Cathedral; The Orphean Passages; and Crying for a Vision. He lives in Valparaiso, Indiana, where he is writer-in-residence at Valparaiso University and holds the Jochum Chair.

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Editorial Reviews

John Mort
You can't actually turn the compressed language of the Bible, by turns poetic and tedious, into a novel, but Wangerin is a good man to try. He's a former pastor who grew famous with his young-adult fantasy, "Book of the Dun Cow" (1978), and its sequel, "The Book of Sorrows" (1985). Wisely, he begins with another beginning than Genesis: Abraham and Sarah in their childless, embittered old age, destined to sire multitudes. Here and elsewhere, Wangerin allows a trace of his trademark whimsy: Sarah, trying to comfort her aged husband in his disappointment that she has been barren, hints diplomatically that he should try to impregnate a servant girl. Abraham stares at her imponderably; Sarah lowers her eyes and says, "It was just an idea." Quickly, too, the reader understands that Wangerin's novelized Bible is not just a gimmick, but a form of commentary--on faith, for instance, in the merciful God who allows Sarah to conceive Isaac and, equally, in the incontrovertible will of a capricious, jealous God who asks for young Isaac's sacrifice. Something like the ebb and flow and counterpoint in a novel has indeed evinced itself by the end of Abraham's story, but Wangerin's skill shines brightest in his final 300 pages, a synthesis of the Gospels that poetically captures the courtship of a small-town couple named Mary and Joseph, the birth of their son, and the rise, political repression, and crucifixion of a messiah. An inevitable failure, perhaps, but also a gallant effort that is frequently spellbinding.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310236122
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 1/28/2000
  • Pages: 656
  • Product dimensions: 6.47 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 2.01 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Abraham

An old man entered his tent, dropping the door flap behind him. In the darkness he knelt slowly before a clay firepot, very tired. He blew on a coal until it glowed, then he bore the spark to the wick of a saucer lamp. It made a soft nodding flame. The man's face was lean and wounded and streaked with the dust of recent travel. He began to unroll a straw mat for sleeping but paused halfway, lost in thought.

Altogether the tent was rectangular, sewn of goatskins and everywhere patched with fresher skins of the goat. Across the middle a reed screen hung from three poles, dividing the space into two compartments, one for the man, one for his wife. These two were all that dwelt in the tent. There were neither children nor grandchildren. There never had been.

A vagrant wind slapped the side of the tent so that it billowed inward, but the man didn't move. He was gazing into the finger-flame of the lamp.

Old man. Perhaps eighty years old. Nevertheless, this present weariness did not come from age. In fact, the man had a small wiry body as light and as tough as leather. Nor was his eye diminished. It watched with a steadfast grey light, awaiting interpretation. It was not an old eye, but a patient one.

Not age, then. Rather, the man was made weary by this day's travel and yesterday's war.

His only relative in the entire land of Canaan even from the Euphrates River in the east to the Nile in Egypt was a nephew who had chosen the easier life. Though the old man himself lived in tents, Lot, his nephew, dwelt in the cities of the Jordan valley, the watered places, fertile places, desirable, sweet and green. But lately four kings of the north had attacked and defeated five cities of the valley. One of these was Sodom, the city Lot had chosen. Among the prisoners whom the northern kings carried away, then, was Lot.

As soon as the old man heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he armed three hundred and eighteen of his own men, mounted donkeys, and pursued the enemy with a light and secret speed. In the night he divided his forces. He surprised the northern kings by striking from two sides at once. He routed them. He drove them home. And all their plunder, all their prisoners he brought back to the cities that had been defeated: Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, Zoar. Lot was free again, and again he chose Sodom for his dwelling though the men of the place had a reputation for extreme wickedness.

That was yesterday.

Today the king of Sodom had offered the old man all the plunder he'd returned, but the old man refused.

Today the Priest-King Melchizedek had come forth with bread and wine to honor the old man, and he honored him saying:

Blessed are you!

Blessed, too, be the God most high who delivers your foe into your hand!

And today the old man had come back to his tents, again, near the oaks of Mamre, tired.

Today, in the evening, his wife had baked him a barley cake, though he ate scarcely anything and she herself ate nothing at all.

"Is the young man safe, then?" she had asked.

"Yes," he told her.

"And his children?" she said, looking dead level at her husband. "How are the children of the man who lives within the walls of houses?"

"Safe," said the man.

"They are home, then?" she said. "Lot sits contented among his children, then? Lot looks upon the consolation of his old age, then, because he has an uncle who saves him when his own choices get him into trouble?"

The old man said nothing.

"Because he has a good uncle?" she continued. "A generous uncle? An uncle whose wife never did put the first bite of barley cake into the mouth of her own child?"

It was then that the old man arose and left his food unfinished. He trudged through the dusk to his own side of the tent and entered and pulled the flap down behind himself and lit the lamp and fell to staring at the single flame, the straw mat only half unrolled in front of him. He was very tired. He was kneeling, sitting back on his heels. He maintained that same posture, unwinking, unsleeping, through the entire first watch of the night. All sound had long since ceased outside. The encampment slept. His wife, finally, had fallen asleep on the other side of the reed screen. She was sleeping alone.

Then, in the middle of that night, God spoke.

Fear not, Abram, God said, calling the old man by name. I am your shield. Your reward shall be very great.

Abram did not move. He did not so much as shift his eye from the orange lamp-flame. But his jaw tightened.

God said, Abram, northward of this place, southward and eastward and westward all the land as far as you can see I will give to you and to your descendants forever.

Still motionless and so softly that the wind outside concealed the sound of it even from his own ears, Abram breathed these words: "So you have said. So you have said. But what, O Lord God, can you give us as long as we continue childless?"

A wind took hold of the tent-flap and lifted it like a linen. The lamp-flame guttered and went out.

God said, Come. Abram, come outside.

On his hands and knees the old man obeyed.

God said, Raise your eyes to heaven. Look to the stars, Abram. Count them. Can you count them?

The old man said, "No. I cannot count them. They are too many."

Even so many, said the Lord God, shall be your descendants upon the earth.

With the same gaze as he had earlier turned upon the lamp-flame Abram gazed toward heaven. Now there was no wind at all. The air was absolutely still. Nothing moved in the land, except that the man could hear the sighing of his old wife inside her compartment.

He said, "Is it required then that a slave born within my household must be my heir?"

God said, Your own son shall be your heir.

Abram said, "How shall I know that? How can I know, when you have given us no offspring?"

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Part One
The Ancestors
1. Abraham
2. Rebekah
3. Jacob
4. Joseph
Part Two
The Covenant
5. Moses
6. Sinai
7. The Children of Israel
Part Three
The Wars of the Lord
8. Joshua
9. Ehud
10. Deborah
11. Gideon
12. Jephthah
13. Samson
14. The Levite's Concubine
Part Four
Kings
15. Saul
16. David
17. Solomon
Part Five
Prophets
18. The Man of God from Judah
19. Elijah
20. Amos, Hosea
21. Isaiah
22. Jeremiah
Part Six
Letters from Exile
23. Ahikam Utters a Curse
24. Ahikam Must Make a Decision
25. Ahikam in Jerusalem
Part Seven
The Yearning
26. My Messenger
27. Nehemiah
28. Ezra
29. The Yearning
Part Eight
The Messiah
30. Zechariah
31. Mary 428
32. John the Son of Zechariah 457
33. Andrew 471
34. Mary Magdalene 491
35. Simon Peter 516
36. Son of Father 535
37. To Jerusalem 548
38. Jesus 577
39. The New Covenant 605
Epilogue 631
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