"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." What Saint Jerome said centuries ago is surely still true today—any serious theological study must be grounded in Scripture. While there are plenty of biblical scholars today, few authors are able to introduce Scripture to students the way Dianne Bergant does. Bergant invites readers to genuinely engage Scripture, to enter the world of the text and explore some of the age-old questions that arise in every generation:
• What does it mean to say that the Word of God is both divine and human?
• Why is biblical history so important to the study of Scripture and theology?
• Why are there different literary forms in the Bible?
• Why the competing voices and apparent contradictions?
In language that is clear and compelling, Bergant explores the answers to these and other questions. She surveys the world of the Bible and biblical scholarship in an introduction that is sure to spark enthusiasm and further interest. This volume in the Engaging Theology series instills solid knowledge of Scripture and, thereby, knowledge of Christ, demonstrating that "the Bible is an inexhaustible source of challenge and delight, of inspiration and guidance, and a testimony to ultimate meaning and value."
Dianne Bergant, CSA, is professor of biblical studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. She is a member and past president of the Catholic Biblical Association of America and is an active member of the Chicago Catholic/Jewish Scholars Dialogue. She has published numerous works in the area of biblical scholarship, including Lamentations in the Abingdon Old Testament Commentaries (Abingdon Press); Song of Songs in the Berit Olam series, Collegeville Concise Glossary of Biblical Terms, and Israel’s Story (Part One and Two), all published by Liturgical Press.
The publishers of this new series of studies from Collegeville, which they hope will create and sustain the passion of a new generation of theologians and church leaders, are indeed to be congratulated. Bergant's contribution should be a very useful source indeed.
Review of Biblical Literature
I would certainly recommend this work not only for adult bible discussion groups, but also as a kind of "Cliff Notes" version of an academic Introduction to the Bible or to either Testament.
Catholic Books Review
In this introduction to the Bible, Dianne Bergant provides a refreshing and accessible account of what the Bible is, the history of the Bible's composition and reception, the history it reflects, its central themes, and the manifold ways it is legitimately read from author-centered, text-centered, or reader-centered perspectives. While written in a Catholic ethos, readers across the ecumenical spectrum will profit deeply from the wisdom embodied on every page.
Ralph W. Klein, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
Dianne Bergant's volume on Scripture is a model of the undergraduate introductory text. It synthesizes complex material clearly and concisely, and provides examples that connect to students' experience. . . . In section one, she does a masterful job of providing a historical overview of key periods and figures, a synthesis of central dimensions of the geography and culture, a sketch of some of the central images of God and understandings of covenant and worship, and a discussion of inspiration and revelation.
[T]his helpful volume . . . addresses fundamental questions about the nature of the Bible, the Catholic conviction that it is `God's Word in human words,' the history of Israel, of Jesus and the early community from which it emerges, the various types of literature in the Bible, and the various methods and issues in sound interpretation of the Scriptures.
The Bible Today