Paul J. Achtemeier, general editor with the Society of Biblical Literature (New York: HarperCollins, 1996) 1,256 pp., $45
This revised edition contains more than 3,700 entries by 193 specialists, more than 600 photos (53 in color), 90 maps (18 in color) and outlines of each biblical book. The listings range from “Aaron” to “Zurishaddai” (father of the leader of the tribe of Simon) and contain numerous longer essays on such topics as “The Bible in Western Art,” “The Bible and Western Literature,” “Biblical Criticism,” “Expiation,” “Food” and “Texts, Versions, Manuscripts, Editions,” to name just a few.
The Fifth Gospel
John F.A. Sawyer (New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1996) 281 pp, $17.95 (paper)
So widespread is Isaiah’s influence on Christianity that it has been called “The Fifth Gospel.” Sawyer examines Bible commentaries, sermons, church pronouncements, music, art and literature to trace the prophet’s influence on the language and imagery of Christianity from its beginnings to contemporary liberation theology.
Stephen Mitchell (New York: HarperCollins, 1996) 161 pp., $20
The Genesis “flood” continues with yet another translation of the Bible’s earliest tales. Here is poet Stephen Mitchell’s version of the second creation story (Genesis 2:4–7): “At the time when the Lord made earth and heaven—before there were any plants on the earth and before any grasses had sprouted, for the Lord had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, but a stream would well up from the earth to water the whole surface of the ground—the Lord formed a man from the dust of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”
Norman Cohen (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1996), 154 pp., $25
Cohen argues that the biblical writers transformed the Flood story from its roots in Mesopotamian mythology into a message of hope for Jews and, later, into a prefiguration of salvation for Christians. He also traces the story’s part in the development of geoland its current role as a battleground between modern science and creationism.
Harper Collins Bible Dictionary
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