Click here to get the answers to the most commonly asked RBL questions.

Review of Biblical Literature Blog

How the Bible Became Holy
Satlow, Michael L.

New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014 pp. 350. $25.37



Description: In this sweeping narrative, Michael Satlow tells the fascinating story of how an ancient collection of obscure Israelite writings became the founding texts of both Judaism and Christianity, considered holy by followers of each faith. Drawing on cutting-edge historical and archeological research, he traces the story of how, when, and why Jews and Christians gradually granted authority to texts that had long lay dormant in a dusty temple archive. The Bible, Satlow maintains, was not the consecrated book it is now until quite late in its history. He describes how elite scribes in the eighth and seventh centuries B.C.E. began the process that led to the creation of several of our biblical texts. It was not until these were translated into Greek in Egypt in the second century B.C.E., however, that some Jews began to see them as culturally authoritative, comparable to Homer’s works in contemporary Greek society. Then, in the first century B.C.E. in Israel, political machinations resulted in the Sadducees assigning legal power to the writings. We see how the world Jesus was born into was largely biblically illiterate and how he knew very little about the texts upon which his apostles would base his spiritual leadership. Synthesizing an enormous body of scholarly work, Satlow’s groundbreaking study offers provocative new assertions about commonly accepted interpretations of biblical history as well as a unique window into how two of the world’s great faiths came into being.

Subjects: Methods, Historical Approaches

Login to Read the Review(s)

You must be a member of SBL to read the review(s). Enter your SBL Member ID and click the "Log in" button. Your use of this site indicates your acceptance of RBL’s Terms of Use.

I don’t remember my SBL Member ID.

Join SBL or renew your membership to read the review(s).



SBL Membership Id:  


Review by Chad Spigel
Published 5/13/2015
Citation: Chad Spigel, review of Micahel L. Satlow, How the Bible Became Holy, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2015).


Adobe Acrobat Reader
All RBL reviews are published in PDF format. To view these reviews, you must have downloaded and installed the FREE version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have the Reader or you have an older version of the Reader, you can download the most recent version now.

 

 
Privacy PolicyTerms of UseContact Us