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Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World

Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World [Kindle Edition]

John Shelby Spong
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Product Description


“Brings biblical scholarship to those who sit in church pews, but without getting bogged down in debates about biblical minutiae .... This book is well paced, the arguments are easy to follow, and Spong accomplishes exactly what he set out to do. A compelling and thought-provoking read.” (Library Journal)

“Spong tours Christianity’s sacred text, leaving little unexamined and [much] demythologized as he urges Christians to grow up and take the Bible seriously—just not literally. Spong . . . has the gift and motivation for making biblical scholarship accessible; he writes with charity and clarity.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Spong here achieves what may be his most reader friendly, helpful book . . . a wonderful, illuminating adjunct to anyone’s Bible study.” (Booklist)

“A masterful reading of these texts that have shaped the Western world. This book is filled with insights from a lifetime of deep engagement with Scripture. Highly recommended!” (Gregory C. Jenks, author of The Once and Future Bible)

“Bishop Spong has built a much-needed bridge between the academy and the pews. Pulsing beneath his brilliant, thought-provoking, passionate book is this question: Can Christianity survive the education of its believers?—a question he answers with a resounding yes.” (Sarah Sentilles, Author of Breaking Up with God: A Love Story)

“In Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World, Spong offers a way for critical and curious readers to discover the exquisite and profound ways the Bible can, in fact, lead towards abundant life. After a decade of feeling banished by the Bible, I am now drawn back.” (Katie Ford, Author of Deposition and Colosseum)

“If your addiction is the shallow, narrow, literal interpretation of the Bible doled out by most churches, then you need an intervention. Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religous World is like a treatment center in a box.” (Rev. David Felten & Rev. Jeff Procter-Murphy, creators of the Living the Questions series)

“A master teacher and story teller, Spong brings the best of current scholarship to free the books of the Bible from Sunday School naïveté and literalistic interpretations. The result is an introduction to the Bible that will engage readers who no longer sit in church pews.” (Andrew D. Scrimgeour, Drew University, editor of Just Call Me Bob: The Wit and Wisdom of Robert W. Funk)

“Bishop Spong’s newest book is not only for the ‘non-religious’ but it will find its way into churches, study groups, seminaries and the seekers. This book should renew a sincere interest in the biblical story that for too long has been lost in our corporate ignorance.” (Fred C. Plumer, President,

Product Description

In Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World, bishop and social activist John Shelby Spong argues that 200 years of biblical scholarship has been withheld from lay Christians. In this brilliant follow-up to Spong’s previous books Eternal Life and Jesus for the Non-Religious, Spong not only reveals the crucial truths that have long been kept hidden from the public eye, but also explores what the history of the Bible can teach us about reading its stories today and living our lives for tomorrow.

Sarah Sentilles, author of Breaking Up With God: A Love Story, applauds John Shelby Spong’s Reclaiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World, writing that “pulsing beneath his brilliant, thought-provoking, passionate book is this question: can Christianity survive the education of its believers?…A question Bishop Spong answers with a resounding yes.”

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4990 KB
  • Print Length: 437 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0062011286
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Reprint edition (8 Nov 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005LC1OPW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #324,236 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
I have read many of Spong's books all of which have inspired a renewal in my faith and offered me a vision that appeals to my intellect and rationality. This book is of no exception and is potentially his best. In a methodical and incisive manner Spong moves through the books of the Bible offering insights into their history and context whilst at the same time maintaining his ability to captivate the reader with his eloquent writing style. I recommend it to the reader who is interested in understanding where the latest scholarly research has reached together with the reader who wants to grapple with humanity's struggle to understand who and what God is and where this struggle will lead us.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Perils of Writing Too Much Too Quickly 25 Jan 2012
By Ray V
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I love John Spong's books, and this one is a very good introduction to all the books of the Bible, helping us to appreciate them and be inspired by them without being oppressed by the need to believe everything in them. Unfortunately, it lets itself down in places with some silly mistakes that can only come from hasty writing. For example, in his imaginative re-telling of the story of David and Bathsheba (p 73) he says that the reader is not told that Bathsheba was a married woman until after we hear of her pregnancy: this is not so. On page 190 he says that Lamentations comes before Jeremiah, though he has rightly said earlier on the same page that it comes after Jeremiah. He also refers to Jairus (p 279) as 'a Gentile', though the text says he was one of the leaders of the synagogue (or am I missing something?).
I also find rather irritating his anachronistic references to 'Jews'. He refers to Abraham as the founder of the Jewish nation (p 21), and to the kingdom of Israel as 'a Jewish state' that traced its Jewish roots primarily back to Joseph (p 26). This is probably deliberate simplification, but in my opinion it is over-simplification. The 'Jews' were the people of Judah, who claimed descent from Jacob's son Judah. There is no way Judah's great-grandfather or his brothers could be Jews. Even in an introduction to the Bible meant for lay people, to explain the difference between 'Israelites' and 'Jews' is surely not too complicated.
Spong's relating of the form of the Synoptic Gospels to the annual round of synagogue worship is interesting, but not always well explained. I simply could not follow what he was saying about the Sermon on the Mount being a commentary on the Beatitudes in inverse order, in spite of his calling it 'a perfect fit' (p 332).
So thank you, Bishop Spong. Carry on giving us the benefit of your bold theology and fascinating insights, but please take a bit more time to explain yourself, and maybe get yourself a better proof-reader.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spong at his best 8 Mar 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is Spong at his best. I read him when I was at University and Seminary. Few Theologians manage to get there stuff stocked on the shelves of major bookshops. Spong seems to manage it without loosing any of his power. He is asking the questions that people are asking. He is seldom dull and always a challenge.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Icing on the cake. 25 Jan 2013
By Mike W
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I own and have read 12 books by Bishop J S Spong. That means I think I have an inkling of who he is and what he is about and .. by good fortune I met him in London several years ago. Bishop Spong does not require us to agree with all that he has offered and indeed occasionally makes the point that closed dogma is not the way. From the first of his books that I read - ' Born of a Woman ' I have enjoyed his writings, they have expanded my own thinking and they have in some measure crystallised ideas of my own that I've pondered over.

I frequently commend his books to preachers, not because they claim to be definitive, not because I fully agree with everything he writes but because they offer something of value and insight from a life-time study of the bible. He writes for ordinary people and in everyday language and manages no doubt often to shock people, especially if they are new to the subject, but he never fails to challenge and inspire..

This is the twelfth book I have read by Bishop Spong and for me it's the icing on a cake I've enjoyed eating. In order to expand our understanding we all need to engage with varied perspectives, Bishop Spong often brings a fresh perspective and helps us to do this.
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