A fascinating, surprising and often controversial examination of the real God of the Bible, in all his bodily, uncensored, scandalous forms.
Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou studied theology at Oxford and is currently Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Religion at the University of Exeter. The author of a number of academic works, she also presented the BBC 2 documentary series The Bible's Buried Secrets. She regularly appears on UK TV, Radio and festivals.Her contribution (on the same subject as the book) to Dan Snow's History Hits podcast is currently its most popular ever episode.
A learned but rollicking journey through every aspect of Yahweh's
body. A book that will offend some but delight more.
*Economist Best Books of the Year*
Lively . . . [with] a wealth of scholarly detail and much gusto
Rivetingly fresh and stunning . . . I rather like this inexhaustibly powerful, shouting, bearded giant of a God, a fiery, fierce and startlingly “pagan” God, alive to his very fingertips, laughing at human hubris and singing with unbridled joy.
A marvelous conspectus of references to the divine body in ancient southwest Asian texts. But more than this, it is about recalibrating our understanding of these difficult texts to better understand ourselves.
Professors of Theology are imagined to be dull, gentle souls. This book, however, is a great rebel shout . . . A book that aims to upend the notion of a cloudy, spiritualised creator . . . instructive, vivid and frequently hilarious.
Stavrakopoulou is no literalist — indeed, she’s an atheist — but she maintains that her reading makes far more sense than the traditional ones, and her confident tone never falters.
God: An Anatomy is a tour de force. Stavrakopoulou has created not just an extraordinarily rich and nuanced portrait of Yahweh himself, but an intricate and detailed account of the cultural values and practices he embodied, and the wider world of myth and history out of which he emerged . . . Stavrakopoulou has taken to heart the biblical injunction to seek the face of God, and what emerges is a deity more terrifyingly alive, more damaged, more compelling, more complex than we have encountered before. More human, you might say.
A detailed and scrupulously researched book . . . packed with knowledge and insight
*The New York Times*
Boldly simple in concept, God: An Anatomy is stunning in its execution. It is a tour de force, a triumph, and I write this as one who disagrees with Stavrakopoulou both on broad theoretical grounds and one who finds himself engaged with her in one narrow textual spat after another . . . A stunning book.
The sheer amount of primary evidence examined is staggering . . . Stavrakopoulou’s argumentation is intellectually penetrating, analytically robust, and sophisticated . . . Stavrakopoulou’s book, and her public-facing scholarship, demonstrate what makes an outstanding biblical scholar.
Good Lord, Stavrakopoulou touches that sweet spot that is scholarly, funny, visceral and heavenly. A revelation.
*Adam Rutherford, author of A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived and How to Argue with a Racist*
One of the most remarkable historians and communicators working today.
In both Judaism and Christianity God is conceived as non-physical. In God: An Anatomy Francesca Stavrakopoulou shows that this was not yet so in the Bible, where God appears in a much more corporeal form. This provocative work will surprise and may shock, but it brings to light aspects of the biblical account of God that modern readers seldom appreciate.
*John Barton, Emeritus Professor at Oriel College, Oxford and author of A History of the Bible*
In Stavrakopoulou's stunning dissection of historical religious texts, the real back-story and context of the God of Judaism and Christianity is revealed . . . Where pious theologians have abstracted him into emptiness, Stavrakopolou gives him back his substance, and he’s so much more interesting in this bodily form! Both scholarly and accessible, and full of fascinating stories - I guarantee you’ll never think of this God the same way again.
*Professor Alice Roberts*
Marvelous and stimulating . . . scholarly and beautifully illustrated . . . an exciting read!
This is an extraordinary book. It’ll rewire your thinking, and it’s so readable you won’t notice till it’s too late.
*Tim Whitmarsh, author of Battling the Gods*
Well-researched . . . A refreshing look at ancient Scripture and the people behind it, reminding readers that the concept of ‘God’ in the 21st century is a world away from that of the earliest people of Israel. A challenging, engaging work of scholarship that sheds new light on ancient Hebrew conceptions of the divine.