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New titles just published

by
31 December 2021

This week’s selection: origins of the Bible, an artist, and gospel reflections that focus on conflicts and how they can have positive outcomes

The Making of the Bible: From the first fragments to sacred scripture by Konrad Schmid and Jens Schröter (Belknap, £28.95 (£26.05); 978-0-674-24838-0).

“The authoritative new account of the Bible’s origins, illuminating the 1600-year tradition that shaped the Christian and Jewish holy books as millions know them today. The Bible as we know it today is best understood as a process, one that begins in the tenth century BCE. In this revelatory account, a world-renowned scholar of Hebrew scripture joins a foremost authority on the New Testament to write a new biography of the Book of Books, reconstructing Jewish and Christian scriptural histories, as well as the underappreciated contest between them, from which the Bible arose. Recent scholarship has overturned popular assumptions about Israel’s past, suggesting, for instance, that the five books of the Torah were written not by Moses but during the reign of Josiah centuries later. The sources of the Gospels are also under scrutiny. Konrad Schmid and Jens Schroeter reveal the long, transformative journeys of these and other texts en route to inclusion in the holy books. The New Testament, the authors show, did not develop in the wake of an Old Testament set in stone. Rather the two evolved in parallel, in conversation with each other, ensuring a continuing mutual influence of Jewish and Christian traditions. Indeed, Schmid and Schroeter argue that Judaism might not have survived had it not been reshaped in competition with early Christianity. A remarkable synthesis of the latest Old and New Testament scholarship, The Making of the Bible is the most comprehensive history yet told of the world’s best-known literature, revealing its buried lessons and secrets.”



Vincent van Gogh and the Good Samaritan: The wounded painter’s journey by Henry Martin (DLT, £12.99 (£11.69); 978-1-913657-34-5).

“In this remarkable book, Henry Martin invites us to study in close detail van Gogh’s painting The Good Samaritan, and the famous parable told by Jesus of Nazareth. He asks what lessons we can learn from meditation upon the imagery and each of the characters portrayed. Questions for discussion and reflection on each chapter help us to relate the themes and challenges of the parable to our lives and the world we live in today. The book is also an engaging, personal study of van Gogh, the tragic genius of his life, and the struggles he faced which may have informed both his process and his spirituality. Martin has translated many of van Gogh's letters, and, as an artist himself, brings a unique perspective to our understanding of both the painter and the parable.”



“What Were You Arguing About Along the Way?”: Gospel reflections for Advent, Christmas, Lent, Holy Week and Easter, edited by Pat Bennett (Canterbury Press, £16.99 (Church Times SPECIAL OFFER PRICE £13.59); 978-1-78622-399-9).

“Created by Padraig O Tuama five years ago, the Spirituality of Conflict website is one of the most exciting and vibrant online lectionary resources. For each Sunday there is an extended reflection, a prayer, and questions for lectio divina or group discussion. Featuring Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian, and Pentecostal writers from Corrymeela, the Iona Community, Holy Island, Coventry Cathedral’s Centre for Reconciliation, the Church of Scotland, and elsewhere, it reflects the broad nature of the witness to peace. Approaching conflict in its various forms — personal, social, global — through the lens of the gospels, conflict, it explores the conflicted nature of Jesus’s world and how people navigated routes through it. It enables the scriptures to speak to the conflicts in our lives and reveals how they can have positive as well as negative outcomes. This volume of collected material focuses on the beginning and the end of Jesus’s human life and covers the gospels for Advent, Christmas, Lent, Holy Week and Easter.”


Selected by Frank Nugent, of the Church House Bookshop, which operates the Church Times Bookshop.

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