The Bible is the most widely distributed book in the world. Translated into over two thousand languages, it is estimated that more than six billion copies have been sold in the last two hundred years alone. A work made up of sixty-six 'books' and divided into two Testaments, this complex and communal work has been transformed by its various translations into a single work at the heart of the world's largest and most powerful organised religions: Christianity. In this seminal account, Karen Armstrong discusses the conception, gestation, life and afterlife of this collection of 'books' to analyse how this all-pervasive scripture was collected into one work, how it became accepted as Christianity's sacred text and how it continues to exercise profound political and philosophical influence, as well as religious control, over the world around us.
Karen Armstrong is one of the world's foremost commentators on religious affairs. Her bestselling books include Islam: A Short History; Buddha; A History of God; Through The Narrow Gate; The Spiral Staircase and The Great Transformation also published in paperback by Atlantic Books in 2007.