Story of the Bible

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Replete With Relative Information This was indeed the story of a book and how it came to actually be a book. We learn of the processes and controversies surrounding the book's content, use, source documents, format and translations. I found this course fascinating and highly recommend it.
Date published: 2020-09-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Superb Biblical study This is an absolutely first rate course for anyone interested in the history and origins of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. The expertise and depth of knowledge of the Instructor is beyond dispute. He clearly loves his subject and is not afraid to point out facts that sometimes challenge conventional wisdom, as well as sharing differing opinions and letting the viewer make up their minds. He is a joy to listen to and has answered all the questions that i have about the makeup and history of the Bible.
Date published: 2020-08-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Better than Expected I was really hoping this course would be just what it is - details and good ones! Of how and when and why and who.....I love that it exceeds expectations. There are no graphics of any kind except the occasional word and I have been taking tours of countries that are nearly all visual. BUT this professor is so engaging and so into his subject that I do not miss them. The twinkle in his eye says he not only has taught this stuff a lot, but he loves it. And the materials covered so far are just what I wanted. Who decided the books of the Bible, how was it translated, what King did what with it, etc. He presents all sides without a lot judging or rationalizing. Just facts. So, to me, it is fascinating, fulfilling and has loads of stuff to pass along to my Sunday School class just for the joy of knowing. Thank you Professor Johnson! And God bless you.
Date published: 2020-03-07
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Too many biased opinions In the first lesson Professor Johnson called the Death and Resurrection of Jesus a myth. I stopped watching the course because in my limited knowledge of the subject I have discovered that there is historical evidence to support eyewitness testimonies of the important fact that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. My husband continued watching several more lessons and thought that Professor Johnson makes assumptions that if there isn't proof of authorship the writing must be false. Also he uses terminology that he doesn't explain. We both found the professor's presentation falls short of interesting.
Date published: 2020-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent review course Professor is engaging, explains his background and reason for opinions
Date published: 2020-01-30
Rated 2 out of 5 by from OK Professor Johnson's lectures provide a broad, but traditional telling of the Biblical narrative. In this respect, the course content was familiar, but rather devoid of new material. I had hoped to receive more discussion and explanation of Biblical controversies.
Date published: 2019-12-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Beginnings Just started to view lectures and have only viewed two at this time, but I have learned much just in these two lectures. Being unfamiliar with the bible, I have found this video series to be very informative.
Date published: 2019-05-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from exceptional critique. The lecturer was very passionate about this subject and knowledgeable with respect to history. It is as if he was speaking from the pulpit and I enjoyed the energy that he gave the presentations.
Date published: 2019-04-19
  • y_2020, m_9, d_19, h_15
  • bvseo_bulk, prod_bvrr, vn_bulk_3.0.12
  • cp_1, bvpage1
  • co_hasreviews, tv_4, tr_60
  • loc_en_CA, sid_6252, prod, sort_[SortEntry(order=SUBMISSION_TIME, direction=DESCENDING)]
  • clientName_teachco
  • bvseo_sdk, p_sdk, 3.2.1
  • CLOUD, getReviews, 3.45ms
Telling the Story of a Book
1: Telling the Story of a Book

The Bible is a book of stories; but the Bible as a book has a fascinating story of its own. In this lecture, we review the Bible's powerful influence throughout Western history and begin to consider the complex process by which this important text was composed....

32 min
Making TaNaK
2: Making TaNaK

We explore the contents and early formation of the Hebrew Bible (or TaNaK, an acronym derived from three ancient compositions, Torah, Nebiim, and Ketubim), and trace how this collection of ancient compositions arose from a centuries-long process of oral and written tradition....

30 min
Forms of Jewish Scripture
3: Forms of Jewish Scripture

By the 1st century B.C.E., the Jewish Bible is both a unifying symbol and an emblem of Jewish diversity as communities across the Diaspora adopt different versions of scripture....

31 min
Birth of the Christian Bible
4: Birth of the Christian Bible

As the early Christian church takes shape, members of this new sect embrace the Greek translation of the Hebrew text and quickly develop their own sacred compositions....

31 min
Formation of Jewish and Christian Canons
5: Formation of Jewish and Christian Canons

During the first centuries of the Common Era, the Jewish and Christian faiths face a similar challenge: the need for a standardized version of scripture. For the Jews, this means confirming centuries of tradition; for the Christians, it is a longer and more contentious process....

30 min
Writing and Copying Manuscripts
6: Writing and Copying Manuscripts

Although the word Bible means "the book," it is anachronistic to call it a book before the 4th century C.E. In this lecture, we explore the techniques by which biblical manuscripts were created and copied prior to the advent of print....

30 min
Imperial Sponsorship and the Bible
7: Imperial Sponsorship and the Bible

When Constantine the Great converts to Christianity in the 4th century, the new faith becomes the official religion of the Roman Empire, an event that lifts the Christian Bible to the status of imperially sanctioned text and forever changes the relationship between Christians and Jews....

30 min
Texts and Translations-The Ancient East
8: Texts and Translations-The Ancient East

The earliest translations of the Christian Bible provide a tantalizing glimpse into cultures throughout the ancient world, including the Syriac and Coptic cultures, and in many cases provides the first instances of written texts in these ancient languages....

30 min
Old Latin and the Vulgate
9: Old Latin and the Vulgate

We examine the rise of Latin translation of the Bible, culminating in the Vulgate of St. Jerome in the 4th century, and learn how these translations underscored the growing divide between the Eastern and Western churches....

30 min
Other Ancient Versions
10: Other Ancient Versions

While many early worshipers read the Christian Bible in Greek and Latin, other translations spread to every corner of the empire, including Armenia, Georgia, Ethiopia, and Arabia. We'll learn how the project of translating the Bible often led to the creation of a written alphabet for these cultures....

28 min
Monasteries and Manuscripts
11: Monasteries and Manuscripts

Throughout the Middle Ages, monasteries provide a stronghold for the production and preservation of biblical manuscripts. Monks' lives are deeply immersed in scripture, whether serving as manuscript copyists, performing the daily recitation of chants, or practicing the fine art of manuscript illumination....

29 min
Interpretation within Judaism
12: Interpretation within Judaism

Jews throughout the Diaspora continue to pursue their faith and debate the meaning of their sacred texts in strong communities of worship. This conversation appears in the development of the Talmud, a constantly evolving interpretation of how God's law should be observed, and in the work of great Jewish Bible scholars....

30 min
Interpretation in Medieval Christianity
13: Interpretation in Medieval Christianity

During the medieval period, Christianity is shaped largely by the Bible and its interpretations. "Reading the Bible" is a many-faceted experience; scripture is heard during Mass, chanted by monks, experienced in daily life through the sacraments and liturgical seasons, and (for a very few) read and interpreted directly....

31 min
The Renaissance, Printing, and the Bible
14: The Renaissance, Printing, and the Bible

With the invention of new printing technology, the Bible is more accessible to private readers. This innovation, coupled with a rebirth of interest in classical learning, leads scholars to challenge the dominance of the Latin Vulgate and develop new translations....

30 min
The Protestant Reformation and the Bible
15: The Protestant Reformation and the Bible

In breaking with the Catholic faith, Protestant reformer Martin Luther introduces a new emphasis on private reading and interpretation and a sole reliance on scripture as a guide for right living....

30 min
Translating the Bible into Modern Languages
16: Translating the Bible into Modern Languages

In the wake of the Reformation, countries across Europe forge new national and religious identities. The Bible is one of the chief battlegrounds for this struggle, as traditional texts are newly translated into vernacular languages and new canons of scripture are championed....

30 min
The First Efforts at Englishing the Bible
17: The First Efforts at Englishing the Bible

From the 14th century, translating the Bible into English appears as a way to challenge the Catholic Church and make scripture available to all. Early translators are persecuted as heretics, but "Englishing the Bible" also becomes a means for exerting political control....

30 min
The King James Version
18: The King James Version

In an attempt to standardize scripture-and, by extension, the religious and civic order in England-King James I marshals a team of scholars to produce an authoritative English text. The impact of the King James Bible is still felt today in English language and literature as well as in the church....

29 min
The Romance of Manuscripts
19: The Romance of Manuscripts

With the advent of printing, manuscripts fall into disuse until scholars begin to appreciate their historical and literary value. The result is an explosion of interest in rescuing these ancient manuscripts from oblivion....

30 min
Searching for the Critical Text
20: Searching for the Critical Text

This lecture reviews the remarkable efforts made to establish a "scholar's Bible," a critical edition synthesizing thousands of ancient manuscripts to provide a guide for readers....

31 min
The Historical-Critical Approach
21: The Historical-Critical Approach

Since the rise of the Enlightenment in the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe, we have seen an expansion of interest in the Bible as a historical document that provides a way to reconstruct the past....

31 min
The Bible in Contemporary Judaism
22: The Bible in Contemporary Judaism

In response to challenges of the modern world, Judaism reinterprets Jewish identity through the Reform movement, Orthodoxy, Conservative Judaism, and Zionism. Cataclysmic events such as the Holocaust forever alter how modern Jews read ancient scripture....

30 min
Contemporary Christians and Their Bibles
23: Contemporary Christians and Their Bibles

While the Bible remains central to worship and theology in contemporary Christianity, it is also an arena for lively disputes. Modern Christians continue to debate the place of scripture in daily and civic life and strive for more accurate and appropriate translations of biblical texts....

30 min
The Bible's Story Continues
24: The Bible's Story Continues

The Bible has maintained its place for centuries as one of the most widely read compositions and continues to hold a special fascination for people all over the world. New technologies extend the Bible's influence even further, and translations of biblical stories into other media never fail to arouse interest and controversy....

31 min
Luke Timothy Johnson

I strive to make philosophy accessible and lovable to everyone. If everyone embraced philosophy, the world would be a much better place.


Yale University


Emory University

About Luke Timothy Johnson

Dr. Luke Timothy Johnson is the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at Emory University's Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, Georgia. Professor Johnson earned a Ph.D. in New Testament Studies from Yale University, as well as an M.A. in Religious Studies from Indiana University, an M.Div. in Theology from Saint Meinrad School of Theology, and a B.A. in Philosophy from Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. A former Benedictine monk, Professor Johnson has taught at Yale Divinity School and Indiana University, where he received the President's Award for Distinguished Teaching, was elected a member of the Faculty Colloquium in Teaching, and won the Brown Derby Teaching Award and the Student Choice Award for teaching. At Emory University, he has twice received the On Eagle's Wings Excellence in Teaching Award. In 2007 he received the Candler School of Theology Outstanding Service Award. His most recent award is the 2011 Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion for the ideas set forth in his 2009 book, Among the Gentiles: Greco-Roman Religion and Christianity. Professor Johnson is the author of more than 20 books, including The Real Jesus: The Misguided Quest for the Historical Jesus and the Truth of the Traditional Gospels and The Writings of the New Testament: An Interpretation, which is widely used as a textbook. He has also published several hundred scholarly articles and reviews.

Also By This Professor