Saturday, February 14, 2009

The book of books as book

Jutta points us to a review of  The Bible and the People, by Lori Anne Ferrell, which looks at the Bible's long career in European culture. Along the way it seems to speak to the idea of what a classic is and how it thrives, changing yet continuously speaking to radically different generations and cultural constellations.

Amazon blurb: Ferrell, a professor of early modern history and literature at Claremont Graduate University in California, tours the history of the Bible as it has been copied, translated, annotated, dressed up and every which way adapted to changing times for English-speaking readers.

From the review:
The thesis is straightforward: throughout its history in the West, the Bible has rarely appeared ever in its original languages, has been continuously “translated” in every sense of the word, and still the text has remained remarkably, even amazingly, stable over the centuries. Thus, the Bible has, at times, found itself transformed from a working book to a venerated item. It has been universalized through vernacular translations. It has been sliced, diced, and reassembled by figures as different as the pious Nicholas Ferrar and the Deist Thomas Jefferson.

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