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From the language of Shakespeare to political campaigns in the US, the Bible's influence is all around us. And yet, upon reading it, we are met not by one text but by many: a complex mix of history, parable, law, teaching, and prophecy.In this authoritative introduction, respected Biblical scholar Paula Gooder ably guides the reader in how to approach this multifaceted text, and explores its enduring influence on Western culture, from Renaissance art to the controversial film The LastTemptation of Christ. Covering its history, translation, interpretation, and selection of the cannon, Gooder provides a comprehensive and illuminating framework for understanding the Bible. With informative textboxes focussing on key detailsand an infectious enthusiasm for the topic, this wide-ranging primer will be of invaluable benefit to Christians and those of no faith alike.