Is the Bible True?

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9780060675417: Is the Bible True?

In this authoritative book, renowned U. S. News & World Report religion writer Jeffery L. Sheler sifts through the claims and counterclaims of contemporary biblical studies. After carefully investigating the full spectrum of cutting-edge research and conflicting reports, he challenges the popular perception that the credibility of the Bible has been seriously undermined by critical scholarship. Rather, he concludes that the weight of the historical evidence upholds the essential truth of the Exodus, the Gospel accounts of Jesus, and other vital elements of the Bible.

The author draws extensively from his own interviews with leading Bible experts and on-site reports from Israel and Egypt in his examination of scholarship's hot-button issues, including:

  • Dramatic archaeological discoveries that both affirm and challenge the history in the Bible

  • The controversial quest for the historical Jesus and its sometimes flawed arguments and skeptical assumptions regarding the reliability of the Gospels

  • The amazing revelations of the Dead Sea Scrolls and other ancient texts that profoundly influence our understanding of the Bible

  • The mysterious phenomenon of The Bible Code and why there may be far less to its doomsday prophecies than meets the eye

Sheler's considerable experience as a leading religion journalist enables him to get to the heart of the issues without the jargon. Written in clear, compelling prose, Is the Bible True? presents a sophisticated analysis--informed by important scholarly work--in lucid, accessible terms.

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Review:

What this book is not: a partisan (Jewish or Christian) account declaring the absolute historical accuracy of the Bible. What it is: a fair-minded exploration of this question of the Bible's historical truth. Author Jeffery Sheler is a journalist (religion correspondent for U.S. News and World Report) who relies extensively on interviews, onsite reports from Israel and Egypt, and a lot of library research. Instead of claiming to offer any startling breakthroughs, the book gives the reader an evenhanded treatment of this immensely controversial text. In a style that is clear and conversational, Scheler walks the reader through key moments in the Hebrew Bible and in the New Testament, exploring the grounds for the historical truth behind such figures as Abraham, Moses, and David, and behind such scriptural accounts as the Flood and the Exodus. Sheler retells the astonishing story of the discovery of the Qumran (Dead Sea) scrolls, and explores their significance for our understanding of first-century Judaism and early Christianity. He also discusses at length the work of the controversial Jesus Seminar scholars. His own conclusions, while not evangelical, are also not deconstructive: "After all of the scholarly scrutiny," he writes, "the Bible emerges affirmed but not unscathed, a credible but complex chronicle of humanity's encounter with God." --Doug Thorpe

About the Author:

Jeffery L. Sheler is an award-winning journalist and has been a religion writer at U.S. News & World Report for nine years. He is a correspondent for PBS's Religion & Ethics Newsweekly and lives in Washington, D.C.

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