Cover image for Is the Bible true? : how modern debates and discoveries affirm the essence of the Scriptures
Is the Bible true? : how modern debates and discoveries affirm the essence of the Scriptures
Sheler, Jeffery L.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
[San Francisco, Calif.] : HarperSanFrancisco/Zondervan, [1999]

Physical Description:
x, 278 pages ; 24 cm
Personal Subject:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BS635.2 .S55 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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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.

Author Notes

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

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Sheler, the religion correspondent for U.S. News and World Report, offers an excellent overview of his topic. Although the title is catchy, the book is really an examination of current biblical scholarship and how what we know now has affected how we interpret what was written then. Drawing on some of the bigger biblical news stories of the last decade or so (the release of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the publication of The Bible Code), Sheler also looks at how recent archaeological discoveries support bible stories (in many cases, they do). The writing can be staid in places, but the topic itself is endlessly interesting, and the inherent mystery of the subject comes through forcefully. A well-researched, accessible volume, and a strong candidate for public-library collections. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

Sheler, the religion correspondent for U.S. News and World Report, offers an even-handed examination and critique of the Bible as a historical document in his first book. Drawing on biblical scholarship, archeology, modern debate and the Scriptures themselves, and relying on his journalistic sense of balance, Sheler proposes that much of the material in the Bible is based on fact. Did Moses really live? The chances of pinpointing a single, desert wanderer who lived 4000 years ago are virtually nil, but archeological evidence points to the likelihood that many biblical persons and events were, at least partially based on reality: a stele fragment uncovered in Galilee describes the House of David, and ancient hieroglyphics suggest that the departure of the Jews from Egypt happened not in a single exodus but in several large migrations. As the book draws heavily on already published scholarly material, there are few surprises here, yet this is a minor quibble because Sheler deftly presents the arguments side by side, allowing lay readers to decide for themselves if the Bible is true. Particularly enlightening is the segment on the search for the historical Jesus, in which Sheler highlights Jesus scholars' ideas and personalities. Sheler's true strength is his ability to maintain a reasonably impartial perspective as he arrives at his conclusionsÄmostly favorableÄabout the Bible's veracity. This is an excellent book for anyone interested in the Bible both as a work of history and a testament of faith. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Modern study of the Bible as history is in a period of great ferment, currently featuring illuminating research and a plethora of conflicting and sensational claims. Sheler, a writer for U.S. News & World Report, explores this diverse field in order to test the reliability of the Bible as a historical source. Drawing on both the literature and personal interviews with leading scholars, he describes the history of biblical interpretation and research, the evidence of archaeology, the nature and relevance of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the three "quests for the historical Jesus." In the process, he reveals how scholars' presuppositions have shaped biblical scholarship. He doesn't flinch from the ambiguities and apparent contradictions in the BibleÄbut he also gives fair exposure to arguments favoring the core historicity of the text. Neither the ultrafundamentalist nor the ultraliberal will be pleased with the result, but everybody else will find a complete, concise, and reliable overview. A truly scholarly but clearly written text; recommended for public and academic libraries.ÄEugene O. Bowser, Univ. of Northern Colorado, Greeley (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Part 1 The Bible and History
1. Centuries of Conflict: The Battle for the Biblep. 9
2. Canon and Content: The Bible as Sacred Scripturep. 15
3. Author and Authority: Who Wrote the Bible?p. 22
4. History and "His Story": Is There a Difference?p. 42
Part 2 The Bible and Archaeology
5. The Stones Cry Out: A Discovery at Danp. 59
6. Bibles and Spades: The Birth of Biblical Archaeologyp. 64
7. The Patriarchs: In Search of Israel's Originsp. 71
8. The Exodus: Out of Egyptp. 77
9. The Conquest: Settling the Promised Landp. 84
10. Israel's Monarchy: The United and Divided Kingdomsp. 95
11. A New Era: The Days of Jesusp. 110
12. Into the Future: The Promise of Biblical Archaeologyp. 120
Part 3 The Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls
13. Secrets from the Desert: The Discovery at Qumranp. 125
14. Scrolls, Scholars, and Scandals: Fifty Years of Scroll Researchp. 134
15. Scriptures Fixed and Fluid: The Scrolls and the Old Testamentp. 150
16. Rediscovering Christianity's Roots: The Scrolls and the New Testamentp. 160
Part 4 The Bible and the Historical Jesus
17. In Search of Jesus: The Historical Questp. 173
18. The Quest and Its Origins: From the Old Quest to the Third Questp. 176
19. Jesus and His Seekers: Scholars of the Questp. 183
20. Nativity and Nuance: The Birth of Jesusp. 193
21. Message and Miracle: Jesus the Manp. 204
22. Death and Resurrection: The Last Days of Jesusp. 214
Part 5 The Bible Code and Prophecy
23. The Amazing Bible Code: Secret Messages from God?p. 233
24. Cracking the Code: How It Works--and Doesn'tp. 241
Part 6 The Bible and Belief
25. Is the Bible True?: Conclusionp. 253
Notesp. 257