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Politicians and pundits regularly invoke the Bible in social and political debates on a host of controversial social and political issues, including: abortion, stem-cell research, gay marriage, the death penalty, separation of church and state, family values, climate change, income distribution, teaching evolution in schools, taxation, school prayer, aid for the poor, and immigration. But is the Bible often used out of context in these major debates? This book includes essays by fourteen biblical scholars who examine the use of the Bible in political debates, uncovering the original historical contexts and meanings of the biblical verses that are commonly cited. The contributors take a non-confessional approach, rooted in non-partisan scholarship, to show how specific texts have at times been distorted in order to support particular views. At the same time, they show how the Bible can sometimes make for unsettling reading in the modern day. The key questions remain: What does the Bible really say? Should the Bible be used to form public policy?
Politicians and pundits regularly invoke the Bible in social and political debates on a host of controversial social and political issues, including: abortion, stem-cell research, gay marriage, the death penalty, separation of church and state, family values, climate change, income distribution, teaching evolution in schools, taxation, school prayer, aid for the poor, and immigration. But is the Bible often used out of context in these major debates? This book includes essays by fourteen biblical scholars who examine the use of the Bible in political debates, uncovering the original historical contexts and meanings of the biblical verses that are commonly cited. The contributors take a non-confessional approach, rooted in non-partisan scholarship, to show how specific texts have at times been distorted in order to support particular views. At the same time, they show how the Bible can sometimes make for unsettling reading in the modern day. The key questions remain: What does the Bible really say? Should the Bible be used to form public policy?
There is a paradox in American Christianity. According to Gallup, nearly eight in ten Americans regard the Bible as either the literal word of God or the inspired by God. At the same time, surveys have revealed gaps in these same Americans' biblical literacy. These discrepancies reveal the complex relationship between American Christians and Holy Writ, a subject that is widely acknowledged but rarely investigated. The Bible in American Life is a sustained, collaborative reflection on the ways Americans use the Bible in their personal lives. It also considers how other influences, including religious communities and the internet, shape individuals' comprehension of scripture. Employing both quantitative methods (the General Social Survey and the National Congregations Study) and qualitative research (historical studies for context), The Bible in American Life provides an unprecedented perspective on the Bible's role outside of worship, in the lived religion of a broad cross-section of Americans both now and in the past. The Bible has been central to Christian practice, and has functioned as a cultural touchstone, throughout American history, but too little is known about how people engage it every day. How do people read the Bible for themselves outside of worship? How have denominational and parachurch publications influenced the interpretation and application of scripture? How have clergy and congregations influenced individual understandings of scripture? These questions are especially pressing in a time when denominations are losing much of their traditional cultural authority, technology is changing reading and cognitive habits, and subjective experience is continuing to eclipse textual authority as the mark of true religion. From the broadest scale imaginable, national survey data about all Americans, down to the smallest details, such as the portrayal of Noah and his ark in children's Bibles, this book offers insight and illumination from scholars across the intellectual spectrum. It will be useful and informative for scholars seeking to understand changes in American Christianity as well as clergy seeking more effective ways to preach and teach about scripture in a changing environment.
Only book published by Lincoln, per H.E. Barker letter inside.
For millennia, people have used the Bible as a touchstone on important social and political questions, and rightly so. But many use the Bible simply as a weapon to wield against opponents in a variety of debates--without knowing what the Bible actually says about the issue in question. In The Bible Now, two respected biblical scholars, Richard Elliott Friedman and Shawna Dolansky, tell us carefully what the Hebrew Bible says or does not say about a wide range of issues--including homosexuality, abortion, women's status, capital punishment, and the environment. In fascinating passages that shed new light on some of today's most passionate disputes, the authors reveal how the Bible is frequently misunderstood, misquoted, mistranslated, and misused. For instance, those who quote the Bible in condemning homosexuality often cite the story of Sodom, and those who favor homosexuality point to David's lament over the death of Jonathan. But as the authors show, neither passage is clearly about homosexuality, and these texts do not offer solid footing on which to make an argument. Readers learn that female homosexuality is not prohibited--only male homosexuality. And on the subject of abortion, the Bible is practically silent, with one extraordinary exception. The Bible has inspired people to do great good but has also been used by people to do great harm, so it is vitally important for us to pay attention to it--and to get it right. The Bible Now shows us how we can--and cannot--use this ancient source of wisdom to address our most current and pressing issues.

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