I read a lot. I read for pleasure, to solve mysteries, to learn, to distract myself, and to be inspired. Bible Babel by Kristin Swenson is one book that is truly inspiring.
Bible Babel is a book about Books – and by that I mean the library of writings that we recognize as the Bible. It is an excellent introduction to the Bible, and it is more than that. Kristin clearly knows a lot of information about the Bible and how it came to us, and I gained a lot of interesting information by reading this book. It is not, though, primarily a book about information.
For me, the Bible has become, and is still becoming, more about the Story than about facts and information. One of the great strengths of Bible Babel is the way it connects the stories of the Bible, and helps us connect to them.
The Bible has many stories. The Creation, the Flood, the Tower of Babel, Abraham and Sarah, the escape from Egypt, the Promised Land, Jonah, David, Daniel, Ezekiel, Bethlehem, the parables, the Resurrection, the early churches, the Revelation, and many more are just a few of the stories that fill its pages. There is the complete, overarching story of the relationship between God and God’s creation. There is the fascinating story of how the writings in the Bible became “The Bible,” and what different people mean by that. There are the complicated stories of how the Bible was translated into many languages.
Bible Babel is a great way to get started. Kristin writes is a way that pays respect to the depth and weight of the best Biblical scholarship, while bringing freshness and lightness to the subject. She is clear and comprehensive, and has a good ear for how Biblical language continues to shape our culture.
It also may have the best humor of any book about the Bible that I have ever read.