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The Great Story of Israel
Election, Freedom, Holiness
Author: Bishop Robert Barron


Author: Bishop Robert Barron
ISBN: 9781685780197
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 352
Publisher: Word on Fire
Dimensions: 6 x 9
Language: English
Release Date: 2022-11-30

About the Book

How should we read the Old Testament? For many nonbelievers, it is pure nonsense, a work of bronze-age mythology that encourages tribalistic bloodshed. For many Christians, it is a literal account of the world, a work of divine dictation recalling what transpired long ago. And for many theologians, it is a historical puzzle, a collection of works best understood through the intentions of its human authors. 

In this groundbreaking book—the first of two volumes—Bishop Robert Barron offers a new way of understanding the Old Testament rooted in the writings of the Church Fathers. Journeying steadily through the Pentateuch, the historical writings, and the biblical novellas, The Great Story of Israel offers an invigorating theological and spiritual interpretation of these ancient texts, one that draws together the particular concerns of their human authors and the unique purpose of the Holy Spirit.

The parts and the whole, the Old and the New, and doctrine and exegesis all come together in this dramatic story of election, freedom, and holiness—a story read in the light of Christ, the glory of his people Israel.

About the Author

Bishop Robert Barron is the founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries and the host of CATHOLICISM, a groundbreaking, award-winning documentary about the Catholic faith. On July 21, 2015, Pope Francis announced his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and on June 2, 2022, he appointed Bishop Barron the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester (Minnesota). Ordained in 1986 in the Archdiocese of Chicago, Bishop Barron received a master’s degree in philosophy from The Catholic University of America in 1982 and a doctorate in sacred theology from the Institut Catholique de Paris in 1992.

What People are Saying

“Christianity has a future if the Bible has a future. Put simply, does Israel’s story, as handed on by the Church, retain its power to enthrall hearts and minds as the true revelation of the living God in human history? This masterful book by Robert Barron—utterly sure-handed in its theological and literary judgments—shows that the answer is a resounding yes. Required reading!”

- Matthew Levering, James N. Jr. and Mary D. Perry Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary

“If you’ve ever had the feeling that there was so much more meaning in the pages of the Bible, but you weren’t getting it, then Robert Barron’s Great Story of Israel is for you! Barron has a flair for great literary interpretation, combining insights from modern scholars, the Fathers, world literature, and contemporary saints to present a reading of the Bible that is rich, intriguing, and beautiful. You won’t be disappointed!”

- John Bergsma, Professor of Theology, Franciscan University of Steubenville

“For much of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century, a historical approach to the Scriptures has dominated biblical study—in seminaries and theological schools, in colleges and universities, in preaching and teaching. The Great Story of Israel is a frontal challenge to the hegemony of historical criticism as the tool to interpret the Bible. Most refreshing is that Barron offers not a theological treatise on biblical hermeneutics, but a book-by-book commentary on the Old Testament as it is read and understood in Christian tradition—that is, as a living book, a book of the Church in which God speaks. His is a bold and audacious undertaking that will inspire the faithful.” 

- Robert Louis Wilken, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor Emeritus of the History of Christianity, University of Virginia

“Bishop Barron's new book on the Old Testament is a beautiful and accessible guiding light to help a secular generation recapture the jewels which are contained in Scripture. His approach, steeped in the language of the Church Fathers, offers a spiritually fruitful interpretation of these stories which at first glance can seem strange or even off putting to the modern reader.”

- Jonathan Pageau, Orthodox icon carver and host of The Symbolic World

“Many thoughtful Christians find it difficult to traverse the ancient and sometimes quite foreign landscape of the Old Testament. With characteristic aplomb and insight, Bishop Barron provides a clear and compelling account of how a deeper familiarity with God’s relationship to Israel can illuminate Christian life. This book will be a welcome companion and guide to anyone seeking a deeper familiarity with the wisdom of Holy Scripture.”

- Gary Anderson, Hesburgh Professor of Catholic Thought, University of Notre Dame








JOSHUA - 129 

JUDGES - 144

RUTH - 161

1 SAMUEL - 165

2 SAMUEL - 186

1 KINGS - 208

2 KINGS - 233


TOBIT - 257

JUDITH - 267

ESTHER - 275