From Cosmos to Canaan: The Bible in Verse


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Book Details

Format: Paperback (212 pages)

Publisher: Sacristy Press

Date of Publication:

ISBN: 978-1-910519-96-7

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Does the Christian Bible seem somehow remote, inaccessible, or difficult to penetrate? This unusual book offers a way in to the Bible which has probably never been attempted before...

It introduces the first six books of the Bible through a combination of poetry, conversation and commentary. The poems are written in a variety of styles, from sonnet to Haiku, reflecting the variety of writing in the Bible, and simply to enjoy the art of poetry as one of God’s gifts to humankind.

Sometimes humorous, often challenging, and always accessible, this is a book for anyone who doesn’t know where to start with the Old Testament.

Jock Stein attended Sedbergh School and Emmanuel College Cambridge. After working in the Sheffield steel industry for three years, he studied theology at Edinburgh and was ordained in Kenya by the Presbyterian Church of East Africa. After leading a city centre church in Dundee he became director of the Carberry Tower conference centre.  In retirement he chairs the Scottish Church Theology Society and is engaged in PhD research at Glasgow University.

The theological world is hardly short of introductions to Scripture, but this is like nothing I’ve previously encountered. … The author says he loves ‘crossing boundaries and tearing up labels’. I identify strongly with that, and found this refreshingly impossible to categorise. … I certainly enjoyed journeying through From Cosmos to Canaan. Its insights may sometimes feel a bit left-field, but that’s a bonus for me. I will surely quote it occasionally in sermons, and I suspect there will be liturgical occasions when something less wordy and predictable has the most impact. You probably won’t regret buying this book.

Stuart Thomas, Praxis News of Worship

From Cosmos to Canaan covers Genesis to Joshua, which contain many of the most significant themes (creation, covenant) and events (Exodus, Conquest) of the Bible and key characters such as Abraham and Sarah, Moses and Miriam. Stein’s book brings them all to life. His poems are often very touching, as are also the dialogues between the two friends. This is an original approach to ancient texts, and, in its appeal to modern concerns, and great world events, as well as to culture and common human experience, it speaks to a wide audience—to those interested in poetry and in theology.

Katharine Dell (Director of Studies in Theology and Religious Studies at St Catharine's College, Cambridge), The Church Times

Jock Stein is one of the great figures of the late twentieth-century Scottish Kirk, a renaissance man of theology, music, art, and literature, and a much-loved pastor to many. His new book, From Cosmos to Canaan, is a remarkable volume which deserves to be in the hands of ministers and parishioners everywhere. … In a time when acres of print attempts to tackle the subject of training for ministry, this relatively slim volume gets to the heart of the matter in ways that are wise, deeply focused on God, yet open to revelation in our own times. Highly recommended.

Martin Ritchie, Theology in Scotland

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