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The Bible: A Very Short Introduction

John Riches

Publication Date - June 2000

ISBN: 9780192853431

168 pages

Retail Price to Students: $11.95

A short introduction to the Bible


It is sometimes said that the Bible is one of the most unread books in the world, yet has been a major force in the development of Western culture and continues to exert an enormous influence over many people's lives. This Very Short Introduction looks at the importance accorded to the Bible by different communities and cultures and attempts to explain why it has generated such a rich variety of uses and interpretations. It explores how the Bible was written, the development of the canon, the role of Biblical criticism, the appropriation of the Bible in high and popular culture, and its use for political ends.

About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.


  • Looks at the importance the Bible has on different communities and cultures
  • Attempts to explain why the Bible has generated such a rich variety of uses and interpretations

About the Author(s)

John Riches is Professor of Divinity and Biblical Criticism at the University of Glasgow. His published work includes The World of Jesus: First Century Judaism in Crisis and A Century of New Testament Study.

Table of Contents

    1. Who reads the bible?; 2. How the Bible was written; 3. The making of the Bible; 4. The Bible in the world of the believers; 5. The Bible and its critics; 6. The Bible in the non-western world; 7. The Bible in high and popular culture; 8. The Bible in politics; 9. Conclusion; Further reading; Index

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