Since its first translation from the Latin, the Bible has become more and more accessible—and more and more influential
In the eleventh century, the Bible was available only in expensive and rare hand-copied manuscripts. Today, millions of people from all walks of life seek guidance, inspiration, entertainment, and answers from their own editions of the Bible. This illustrated book tells the story of what happened to the ancient set of writings we call the Bible during those thousand years. Anchoring the story in material evidence—hundreds of different translations and versions of the Bible—Lori Anne Ferrell discusses how the Bible has been endlessly retailored to meet the changing needs of religion, politics, and the reading public while retaining its special status as a sacred text.
Focusing on the English-speaking world, The Bible and the People charts the extraordinary voyage of the Bible from manuscript Bibles to the Gutenberg volumes, Bibles commissioned by kings and queens, the Eliot Indian Bible, salesmen’s door-to-door Bibles, children’s Bibles, Gideon Bibles, teen magazine Bibles, and more. Ferrell discusses the Bible’s profound impact on readers over the centuries, and, in turn, the mark those readers made upon it. Enjoyable and informative, this book takes a fresh look at the fascinating and little-recognized connections among Christian, political, and book history.
"This unusual and very readable book offers an insight into the reception of the Bible by ordinary people at different times in history. Full of historical gems, this is a fascinating account of the world's most read (and owned), but least understood, book."—Christopher Rowland, University of Oxford
"There are a great many books about books, but by emphasizing the symbiosis that brings people and texts into subtle alignment, Ferrell brings the lives and loves of the Bible's countless readers before us with staggering poignancy. This is an unforgettable book."—Louis Ruprecht, Georgia State University
~William H Sherman
'In this lively, learned, and beautifully illustrated book, Lori Anne Ferrell takes us on a guided tour through a millennium of Western history, when the Bible was made and re-made for (and by) an ever-growing body of readers. Always interesting and often entertaining, The Bible and the People has much to teach us about our books, our beliefs, and our selves.'—William H Sherman, University of York
"Lori Anne Ferrell's attentive scrutiny to detailed facts and clues about how, why, where and when so many versions of the Bible have existed, carries the reader forward on an intelligent read conveyed in rich flavour and content. It reveals abundant scholarly insights, witty flair and parenthetical asides, all designed to inform and entertain the reader in search of further knowledge about the cultural and historical circumstances of this remarkable book."—Ben Christensen, Professor Emeritus of San Diego State University and Dean of the San Diego School of Christian Studies
“In a world beset with religionists of all persuasions, this is a must read. It shows the foundation text of Christianity to be a miracle of revision and interpretation, ever reinvented, ever new. A book to die for.”—Michael Olmert, author of Milton’s Teeth and Ovid’s Umbrella and The Smithsonian Book of Books
"Impressive scholarship illuminates the interplay between the divine Word and its diversely human readers."—Booklist (starred review)~Booklist
"A brisk and compelling cultural history of the English Bible from the Middle Ages to the present."—Wilson Brissett, Virginia Quarterly Review~Wilson Brissett, Virginia Quarterly Review
~ChoiceChosen as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2009 by Choice Magazine
~Charles H. Lippy, Catholic Historical Review
“Engaging . . . Ferrell writes in a breezy fashion, making [her] work more accessible to a mass audience than is the Bible itself.”--Charles H. Lippy, Catholic Historical Review
"It succeeds, for it is a fast-paced, accessible and well-illustrated romp through the history of the Bible's impact on people and people's impact on the Bible. . . . Readers who want to be challenged in their assumptions about how the Bible has functioned and continues to function as a text and about the history of its remarkable stability and malleability will find reading The Bible and the People to be a satisfying experience."—Patrick J. O'Banion, Journal of Ecclesiastical History~Patrick J. O'Banion, Journal of Ecclesiastical History