Testament: The Bible and History

Testament: The Bible and History

by John Romer
     
 

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The Bible has had more influence upon Western civilization than any other book. So splendid are its phrases that many have taken them to be the unmediated word of God. Since its texts were gathered together the book has been venerated and enshrined, execrated and burned. But whether we are believers or not the Bible still remains our heritage, the

Overview

The Bible has had more influence upon Western civilization than any other book. So splendid are its phrases that many have taken them to be the unmediated word of God. Since its texts were gathered together the book has been venerated and enshrined, execrated and burned. But whether we are believers or not the Bible still remains our heritage, the linchpin of modern civilization. It has provided the West with a sense of the sacred and our sense of historical destiny.

Testament describes the making of the Bible, the creation of both the Old and New Testaments and charts the book's survival through the long centuries of its life. Testament is a unique book: no other single volume tells the story of the Bible's extraordinary journey from the ancient East to the heart of the modern West.

John Romer uses his considerable experience of the worlds of art history and archaeology to advantage as he unravels the story of the making and the use and misuse of the world's most beautiful and influential book. With a sure touch he sets the historical scene and brings to vivid life the Bible's creators.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Notwithstanding the Old Testament account of the Israelites' enslavement in ancient Egypt, Romer claims that slavery on the scale described in the Book of Exodus simply did not exist there. Biblical scribes grafted the theme of national liberation--distilled from the Jews' subjugation in Babylon and Roman Judaea--onto this earlier epoch, he argues. Elsewhere, he draws remarkable parallels between the Genesis creation myth and Enuma Elish , a Mesopotamian epic. In this provocative and entertaining synthesis, a tie-in with a TV series, the noted Egyptologist gauges the historical validity of the Bible against archeological records and early texts. Through his wide-angled focus (enhanced with scores of illustrations), we look afresh at the New Testament, ``a soup with many exotic ingriedients,'' born amid a multiplicity of sects and faiths. In the book's second half, which traces the Bible's impact over the centuries, there are brilliant cameos: Constantine plundering his empire to decorate his Christian city of Constantinople; Petrarch, hit by a flash of revelation while climbing Mount Ventoux; Jerome, Irenaeus, Luther, Henry VIII, Gutenberg, Galileo, Thomas Huxley. Romer is a superb storyteller, and this history stands on its own, quite apart from the TV series. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Romer takes readers on a historical journey of several thousand years. Along the way he moves from evaluating history's place in the Bible to the Bible's place in history. Though his lively style makes the long trek easy for the nonspecialist, this very ease, combined with an air of authority, is at the same time a disadvantage. Romer warns against using archaeology and ancient history to prove the Bible true, yet he uses these same disciplines to prove the Bible at best unprovable. The most he will grant is that the Bible's portrait of its world is in keeping with what is known from nonbiblical sources. In addition, he views the Bible and the faiths it chronicles as amalgams of bits and pieces of the religions and cultures they encountered. Some influence is certain, but Romer overstates the case. An interesting work that, unfortunately, lacks balance.-- Craig W. Beard, Harding Univ. Lib., Searcy, Ark.
Booknews
First published by Holt in hardcover in 1989, and before that in Great Britain by Michael O'Mara Books Ltd., in 1988, as a companion volume to a television documentary series of the same name. The author describes the creation of both the Old and the New Testaments and charts their survival through the centuries. Includes color photos. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805026924
Publisher:
Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
07/06/1993
Pages:
368

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