Written in an engaging and entertaining manner, this new book from leading Catholic biblical scholar Henry Wansbrough charts the use and abuse of Scripture throughout the ages. It ranges from the evangelists’ engagement with the Hebrew Scriptures to the use of the Bible in present day politics—perhaps most pertinently in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Wansbrough takes, as his starting point, Frances Young’s The Art of Performance. This enables him to creatively display how the Bible is “performed” differently in different ages. Wansbrough demonstrates the variety of these performances and their different emphases in the history of Christianity to glimpse the different ways in which great figures within the Christian tradition have used and abused the Bible. Indirectly, therefore, it attacks the ever-present danger of fundamentalism, and single-minded interpretation of the Bible. Viewing the interpretation of the Bible against the background of various historical periods gives a valuable insight into the long and rich history of the Church. A final chapter provides a “worked example” of Lectio Divina providing a window into the author’s personal life of praying the Bible.
With Logos Bible Software, it’s easier than ever to use this valuable resource. The Use and Abuse of the Bible integrates seamlessly with your digital library, so you can access it from your desktop, tablet, or smartphone. All Scripture references link directly to the text of the Bible, making your study scripturally sound and rewarding.
This is a little gem of a book, written accessibly with clarity and humor: a welcome relief from the flat and monochrome reading which often passes as ‘the plain sense of Scripture,’ particularly in popular debate. It reminds its readers of a Christian tradition of biblical interpretation that is far more sophisticated, challenging, and ultimately satisfying.
Henry Wansbrough’s vivid, pithy essays show consumers of Scripture—an apostle, theologians, doctors of the church, a venerable heresiarch, a medieval laywoman, modern politicians with secular agendas, Christ himself—understanding and often warping the text in the light of their own times and prejudices. He brings to life the intimacies and complicities of individual relationships with sacred readings.
—Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, William P. Reynolds Professor of History, University of Notre Dame
Out of his remarkable experience of the Bible as translator, theologian, and monk, Henry Wansbrough has provided a brilliantly readable and attractive introduction to the understanding of the Bible from the New Testament itself to its use in the present state of Israel.
—Benedicta Ward, reader in Christian spirituality, University of Oxford
Henry Wansbrough is a Benedictine Monk of Ampleforth, former chairman of the Oxford University Theology Faculty, and former master of St Benet’s Hall. He’s a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and executive secretary of ICPEL (The International Commission for Producing an English-language Lectionary). He was a guest lecturer in Scripture at Harare University in Zimbabwe, and lectures frequently across the globe. He is the author of Jesus and the Oral Gospel Tradition.