“The unexpected history of an accidental book”, reads the subtitle on this book about the Bible. Why accidental? Because the Bible wasn’t always a book, let alone The Book, nor will it always be one, author Timothy Beal argues.
People don’t read the bible. Timothy Beal, who teaches an introductory course in biblical literature, estimates that more than half of the students who come to his classes know more about the Bible from Dan Brown’s ‘Da Vinci Code’ than from “actual biblical texts.” In addition, biblical consumerism is on the rise, an industry that sells more than 6,000 different products for over $800 million a year— varying from “manga bibles” for comic fans to “biblezines” for teens.
“The ‘word’ as we know it,” Beal says, “is coming to an end. And that’s fine.” He feels that it’s time for a new understanding of the ways scriptures were used in the past. People should embrace the Bible’s contradictory nature, and not expect it to have all the answers. “We must ultimately see this crisis in the life of the Bible as an opportunity to rediscover it in a way that’s truer to its history and its contents—not as a rock but a river, not as a book of answers but a library of questions.”