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Название: The Blackwell companion to the Bible and culture
Автор: Sawyer J.F. (ed.)
If we exclude those parts of the world where the Bible was entirely unknown before the
advent of Christian missionaries, there are few aspects of culture, ancient, mediaeval
and modern, European and non-European, religious and secular, that have not interacted
in some way with the Bible. Outside the United Nations building in New York the
representatives of at least 191 countries are daily confronted by a bronze statue,
3 metres high, entitled ‘Let us beat our swords into ploughshares’ (cf. Isa. 2:4; Mic. 4:3).
According to the latest statistics provided by the United Bible Societies, there are 2,377
languages in which the Bible or parts of it can be read, while another, probably rather
less reliable, calculation sets at more than six billion the number of copies of ‘the world’s
best-seller’ sold since the invention of printing. The title of this Companion reflects the
scale of the subject and sets no boundaries on the areas to be explored, chronological,
geographical or thematic. The only limits are arbitrary and practical, namely the size
of the volume and its date of publication. As the authors faced with the challenge of
contributing to it have frequently pointed out over the past few years, they could not
possibly give adequate coverage to every aspect of their topic and have had to be selective.
The same is true of the editor. There are many topics that would have been relevant
and interesting and which some readers will be disappointed to find missing. What
no-one can say, however, is that this project was too narrowly defined, or that the vast
range of material covered is not broadly representative of the extraordinary phenomenon
implied by the title.