A Most Peculiar Book: The Inherent Strangeness of the Bible

Oxford Univ. Mar. 2021. 280p. ISBN 9780190651732. $24.95. REL
Based on her ongoing research on Christianity in general as well the contradictions that she discovered while reading the Bible as a child and, later, as an adult, this latest work by Swenson (Virginia Commonwealth Univ.; Bible Babel) maintains that the Bible is a complex book that cannot be understood in a simple or literal manner. Her book primarily concerns hermeneutics, the methods of interpreting the Bible. She shows that the Bible is comprised of many books, compiled for more than a thousand years, and that it provides multiple and sometimes inconsistent perspectives. The four sections of the book are “A Book Like No Other,” “Beings Odd and Otherwise,” “Troubling Texts,” and “But the Bible Says.” Swenson states that by reading the Bible in a personal, intelligent, and curious way, questioning and even arguing with it, readers will discover new insights and gain a greater understanding of it, even with all of its inconsistencies. The author writes this insightful and instructive book for the believer, the unbeliever, and the ones in between, since they all might have interest in its methods of interpretation.
VERDICT An original approach to understand the various meanings and methods of the Bible.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing