Saturday 18 July 2009

John F.A. Sawyer on the Bible and its Reception

John F.A. Sawyer, A Concise Dictionary of the Bible and its Reception (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2009), xiii + 295pp., ISBN 9780664223380.

Here’s a dictionary – a concise one, note – which looks at the ‘afterlife’ of the Bible, at how the Bible has been received through the ages, and the effects it has had on readers. This interest is sometimes called ‘reception history’ or is known by the German word (get ready for it) Wirkungsgeschichte, the study of the history of effects of the Bible. As such, it looks at how biblical texts have been used by subsequent interpreters, the role the Bible has played in Judaism and Christianity as well as in other aspects of culture more broadly.

Interest in this sort of work has exploded in the last decade or so, and Sawyer has contributed to it, not least with this publication covering biblical (and apocryphal) books, major biblical personalities, images and events, interpreters and preachers, Bible versions, different approaches to the Bible, the reception of the Bible in literature and art, and more besides.


Brett Jordan said...

i'm guessing this is quite a localised explosion, given as very few people in my social circles seem to be aware of it :-)

Antony said...

Perhaps your friends should get out more... (oh, wait a moment...).

Beth said...

Hey! Saw your blog today and really enjoyed the review of A Concise Dictionary of the Bible and its Reception. Thought you might be interested in a brand new prepublication offer from Logos Bible software in honor of John F.A. Sawyer. Thanks and let me know if I can help in any way!