Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World

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The Real Human Drama Behind Creating a Divine Book

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The Real Human Drama Behind Creating a Divine Book

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Editorial Reviews

Gregory C. Jenks
“A masterful reading of these texts that have shaped the Western world. This book is filled with insights from a lifetime of deep engagement with Scripture. Highly recommended!”
Sarah Sentilles
“Bishop Spong has built a much-needed bridge between the academy and the pews. Pulsing beneath his brilliant, thought-provoking, passionate book is this question: Can Christianity survive the education of its believers?—a question he answers with a resounding yes.”
Katie Ford
“In Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World, Spong offers a way for critical and curious readers to discover the exquisite and profound ways the Bible can, in fact, lead towards abundant life. After a decade of feeling banished by the Bible, I am now drawn back.”
Rev. David Felten & Rev. Jeff Procter-Murphy
“If your addiction is the shallow, narrow, literal interpretation of the Bible doled out by most churches, then you need an intervention. Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religous World is like a treatment center in a box.”
Andrew D. Scrimgeour
“A master teacher and story teller, Spong brings the best of current scholarship to free the books of the Bible from Sunday School naïveté and literalistic interpretations. The result is an introduction to the Bible that will engage readers who no longer sit in church pews.”
Fred C. Plumer
“Bishop Spong’s newest book is not only for the ‘non-religious’ but it will find its way into churches, study groups, seminaries and the seekers. This book should renew a sincere interest in the biblical story that for too long has been lost in our corporate ignorance.”
“Spong here achieves what may be his most reader friendly, helpful book . . . a wonderful, illuminating adjunct to anyone’s Bible study.”
Reverend - David Felten & Jeff Procter-Murphy
"If your addiction is the shallow, narrow, literal interpretation of the Bible doled out by most churches, then you need an intervention. Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religous World is like a treatment center in a box."
Publishers Weekly
Episcopal bishop Spong, author of more than 20 books, may be retired, but he hasn’t stopped. His newest grows from a series of summer lectures that clue the people in the pews on the kinds of topics biblical scholars discuss among themselves: for example, biblical characters such as Judas and Joseph, Jesus’ earthly dad, appear to be literary creations. Everybody who hasn’t abruptly left the room on hearing it suggested that the Bible may not be literally true is in for a wonderful ride as Spong tours Christianity’s sacred text, leaving little unexamined and demythologized as he urges Christians to grow up and take the Bible seriously—just not literally. Spong’s arguments aren’t new, but he has the gift and motivation for making biblical scholarship accessible; he writes with charity and clarity. His fans will want this for Bible study groups; his detractors may simply decide that Spong, still unwelcome and still here, is being his heretical self once again. (Nov.)
Kirkus Reviews
Tiring attack on the "ancient, sacred, and mythological book we call the Bible." Though former Episcopal bishop Spong (Eternal Life: A New Vision, 2009, etc.) claims to have had a "longtime love affair" with the Bible, it is hard to see that in this book-by-book attack upon the Old and New Testaments. The author makes it clear that he sees the Bible as at best a collection of heavily edited myths and allegories, at worst an outright lie. Spong's stated purpose of introducing modern higher criticism of the Bible to ordinary readers seems laudable, but he fails to pull it off. He does not effectively introduce biblical criticism to those who might actually believe the Bible. Instead of building a bridge of understanding, he challenges readers to leap across a canyon from ignorance to enlightenment. Spong shows no interest in compromise; rather, he judges as deluded or silly those readers who believe that anything in the Bible is literal or based on historical fact. The author doesn't seem to comprehend or care that the world is far from "non-religious," and his book is geared toward those who are already at the cusp of disbelief. Though many of his ideas are already well-known arguments, Spong also includes theories of his own--e.g., the Apostle Paul was "a deeply repressed gay man"; basically nothing in the Gospel of John should be taken literally. The author is so lost in refuting scripture that he has forgotten what that scripture's tie to real people even is. Once intriguingly controversial, Spong is now tediously irrelevant.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062011299
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/5/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 181,364
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

John Shelby Spong was the Episcopal (Anglican) bishop of Newark for twenty-four years. Since then he has taught at Harvard, Drew, the University of the Pacific, and the Berkeley Graduate Theological Union. Selling over a million copies, his books include The Sins of Scripture, Eternal Life: A New Vision, Jesus for the Non-Religious, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, and his autobiography, Here I Stand. His weekly online column reaches thousands of subscribers all over the world. He lives with his wife, Christine, in Morris Plains, New Jersey.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 17, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent work and very helpful in the religious quest.

    Bishop Spong tells it like it is as always. I have been a recovering fundamentalist for 50 years and I have found in his books a way to have the Bible and Jesus in my life without the baggage of literalism or magic. I also find in this book room for the occurance of things unseen and beyond our senses. I have been reading in modern biblical scholarship for 10 years and the tentancy to throw out Jesus and the Bible was strong in the beginning. Bishop Spong's words put me in touch with a new faith path and this book is one of his best.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2012


    A great historical perspective of how the bible was developed and written. It will make you change the way you think about it.

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    Posted June 1, 2012

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    Posted March 21, 2012

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    Posted May 17, 2013

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