A Most Peculiar Book The Inherent Strangeness of the Bible

Format: Hardcover
Pub. Date: 2021-02-01
Publisher(s): Oxford University Press
List Price: $24.95

Buy New

Usually Ships in 5-7 Business Days

Rent Book

Select for Price
There was a problem. Please try again later.

Rent Digital eBook

Online: 180 Days
Downloadable: 180 Days
Online: 365 Days
Downloadable: 365 Days
Online: 1460 Days
Downloadable: 1460 Days
Online: 1460 Days
Downloadable: Lifetime Access

Used Book

We're Sorry
Sold Out

This item is being sold by an Individual Seller and will not ship from the Online Bookstore's warehouse. The Seller must confirm the order within two business days. If the Seller refuses to sell or fails to confirm within this time frame, then the order is cancelled.

Please be sure to read the Description offered by the Seller.


The Bible, we are constantly reminded, is the best-selling book of all time. It is read with intense devotion by hundreds of millions of people, stands as the authoritative text for Judaism and Christianity, and informs and affects the politics and lives of the religious and non-religious around the world. But how well do we really know it? The Bible is so familiar, so ubiquitous that we have begun to take our knowledge of it for granted. The Bible we think we know is a pale imitation of the real thing.

In The Misunderstood Bible, Kristin M. Swenson addresses the dirty little secret of biblical studies-that the Bible is a weird book. It is full of surprises and contradictions, unexplained impossibilities, terrifying supernatural creatures, and heroes doing horrible deeds. It is far from a systematic worldview. Still Swenson notices a tendency of readers to reduce the complexities of the Bible to aphorisms, bumper stickers, and slogans. But taken as a collection of ancient stories and poetry written by multiple authors, held together by the tenuous string of tradition, the Bible often undermines our modern assumptions. What does it mean to be "unclean"? Who really killed Goliath? Does Jesus condemn nonbelievers to Hell?

Rather than dismiss the Bible as an outlandish or irrelevant relic of antiquity, Swenson leans into the messiness full-throttle, guiding her readers through a Bible that will to many feel brand new. Making ample room for discomfort, wonder, and weirdness, The Misunderstood Bible is an admirable response to the Bible's current status quo.

Author Biography

Kristin M. Swenson is Associate Professor of Religious at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is the author of Bible Babel: Making Sense of the Most Talked About Book of All Time and Living through Pain: Psalms and the Search for Wholeness.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1 - A Problematic Book

Chapter 2 - God

Chapter 3 - Angels, Demons, and a Talking Ass

Chapter 4 - Good People Behaving Badly

Chapter 5 - Impossibilities, Normalized

Chapter 6 - Misconception, Misapprehensions

Chapter 7 - And General Befuddlements

Chapter 8 - Arguments Behind Closed Doors

Chapter 9 - Biblical (Im)morality

Chapter 10 - But in the Original...

Chapter 11 - The Perennial Bestseller

Chapter 12 - Ten Commandments for [Best Word Here] the Bible

In Conclusion, Sola Scriputra



An electronic version of this book is available through VitalSource.

This book is viewable on PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and most smartphones.

By purchasing, you will be able to view this book online, as well as download it, for the chosen number of days.

A downloadable version of this book is available through the eCampus Reader or compatible Adobe readers.

Applications are available on iOS, Android, PC, Mac, and Windows Mobile platforms.

Please view the compatibility matrix prior to purchase.