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The Complete Bible Handbook [Paperback]

John Bowker
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sep 2001
This reference book provides a book-by-book breakdown of the Bible as well as background information that brings the Bible stories to life. Photographs show biblical sites as they are today and detailed maps pinpoint where biblical events took place. Also included are devotional paintings and sculptures to assist in interpreting the stories. All denominations of the Christian Church are accommodated, with special sections on Jewish history and different intrepretations of the biblical texts. The reference section includes an A-Z of significant places and important biblical figures, and a glossary of key terms.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Frequently Bought Together

The Complete Bible Handbook + The Bible: The Basics
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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley); 1 Reprint edition (Sep 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789481545
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789481542
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 3.2 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,613,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

From Genesis to Revelation this handbook follows the Bible on a book-by-book basis. What makes this lavishly illustrated handbook so impressive is the use of five types of double-page spreads. The "Book" spread discusses the origin and significance of each book, with a brief summary of the key themes. The "Story" spread provides an inviting retelling of the main stories, while also explaining why specific passages, characters and events are so meaningful. "Background" and "History" spreads offer cultural contexts as well as fascinating historical facts that make the reading of the Bible all the more rich and satisfying. "Theology" enters into the mature arenas of biblical study, where interpretation and theory are deftly explored. The religious art and design are sophisticated and elegant--a welcome departure from often cartoonish or overly ornate biblical illustrations. Yet the most praise should be heaped upon the multi-denominational team of authors that embrace both Christian and Jewish faiths. Together they kept this handbook credible, scholarly, and highly readable. --Gail Hudson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"A marvel of condensed information, lustrously illustrated." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A commendably thorough guide 18 July 2009
By Jeremy Bevan TOP 500 REVIEWER
John Bowker and a team of contributing scholars have done a fine job with this heavyweight guide to the Bible. Written for adults, it's nonetheless packed with Dorling Kindersley's usual high-quality photographs and illustrations. Broader in sympathy, and generally more neutral in approach to its subject than volumes such as The Lion Handbook to the Bible, it's a very in-depth look at the individual books that comprise the Jewish and Christian scriptures, as well as themes and cultural background. It also has helpful additional material that enhances understanding, for example on Egyptian folklore (essential background to parts of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament), the nature of Canaanite religion, crime and punishment in the ancient world, kingship and warfare. There are good sections, too, on the apocrypha. Sensitive in approach to issues of religious exclusivism, it uses an analysis of the book of Jonah to give a balanced discussion of universalism and particularism in the context of the Hebrew Bible's understanding of Israel as God's covenant people.

The New Testament section has some very good material on the Roman empire and broader Hellenistic cultural background, as well as on how the concept of a Messiah was understood. One weakness is that it offers little discussion of the theological significance of the crucifixion or resurrection (for example, differing theories of what the death of Jesus meant), and little on the variety of contemporary approaches to New Testament interpretation. However, it's otherwise commendably thorough, though probably not for the absolute beginner.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ideal for the beginner 20 Mar 2009
By Houston
This is an ideal book for those who have just discovered the Bible and are keen to discover more. While not as extensive a commentary as the Lion Handbook to the Bible, this DK version covers all the Bible's books, featuring overviews of the most well-known stories and events, and the characters involved.

Lavishly illustrated in the DK tradition, with a useful reference section detailing people, places and various terms used in the Bible, this book is a user-friendly volume (perhaps a bit large to be a handbook) that is a pleasure to dip into and browse.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I would highly recommend this book. Great pictures and well laid out make this a good, enjoyable read at any time. The book is a good companion for those wanting to know more about all aspects of the bible. It is unbiased and does not lead you into the authors religious beliefs. Rather, the book explores each book in turn and gives a summary of significance within the book and gives alterate interpretations which the reader may be unaware of. The book provides an insite into the people in the bible, places in the bible and describes culture in the biblical times. Additionally it explores areas such as angels, satan and other interesting areas that just makes you want to read on. Beautiful pictures and extracts from religious works makes this book enjoyable to read. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. This is the type of book that you can pick up and open at any page and read something new and interesting.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a good one! 16 April 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a really good reference book for children and families. It gives history, archeology and a background cultural context in which to consider each "story", and information as to the significance of the story within the context of Christianity/Judaism etc. The photos and maps give a real sense of the geography, and the appearance of lands and towns featured in the Bible narrative.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Anti-Catholic & Anti-Orthodox 21 Jun 2014
John Bowker in his book often belittles the Catholic and Orthodox interpretation as unreasonable and unfounded.

Example 1
the author claims that the fact that Mary stayed a Virgin all life long (as prophezised in Isaiah) is 'only held by a few Christians', by which he means the Church of the Orthodox and Catholic (the only one with apostolic succession, therefore Christs real Church.)
Just on the side: Mary had made a vow as a girl to stay a virigin, as was common for temple-servants. This didn't mean she couldn't marry a male supporter later on, who would be willing to respect her vow. Hence her question to the Angel, how it were possible to receive a child since she wouldn't ever have intercourse with a man. If this wasn't so, her question would make no sense, because at the time, she was already engaged with Joseph.

Example 2
Under 'Sacraments' he lists Baptism and Eucharist. What about the other 5 sacraments?
His view therefore is clearly the protestant stance, and he should have labeled it as that.

Another puzzling thing: about 20% of all photos in this book are of modern jewish celebrations & customs, from lamb slaughter to Circumcision.

I don't recommend it to a Catholic, or anyone who would like to have the Catholic and Orthodox view included.
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4.0 out of 5 stars hello 13 Feb 2014
By Audrey
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
gave one to each grand child as a present for their first holy communion. thought they could be useful for homework.
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