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Book Review – The Bible in Pop Culture by Kevin Hervey

May 18, 2015

When I first was offered the chance to review All You Want to Know about the Bible in Pop Culture (Kevin Harvey, Thomas Nelson, 2015), I hoped it would be helpful for someone who is not very astute at tracking pop culture (eg. music, movies, literature, online material) in learning how to identify the theologically significant pieces (ie. groups, genres) and connect them to young people – without having to listen/watch/read every artifact of culture available. Regrettably this book did not meet that particular focus in any significant way.

Rather, it seemed to focus Bible Pop Cultureon how you can see Bible-like storylines in many movies from the mid 90’s to present. How heroes in the Marvel series of stories are small pictures of Jesus, the Ultimate SuperHero. And how villains in these stories are really simply borrowed concepts from Scripture’s teaching about evil. Yet the reader would only understand these points of parallel if they were familiar with the storyline and/or the characters in the pop culture artifact being discussed; in other words, you had already watched/heard/read the piece.

Equally disappointing, the book seemed to lack indepth analysis and instead gave general points of biblical connection and contrast. It many ways, it was like reading a compilation of the “Plugged In” reviews from Focus on the Family newsletter. Each “review” identified appropriate points of connection and also points of variation but there seemed to be little macro-level assessment on how or why these themes continued to emerge or analysis of their successfulness in impacting pop culture. The Afterward seemed to be the only chapter where this was considered.

Obviously I was mistaken in my expectations about the book. Nonetheless, because of its cursory observations about the cultural artifact and the fairly obvious connections it made to the biblical narrative, there is little to recommend that will enlighten a Christian with average biblical and theological understanding. Do not spend your money on this book. Instead, see the movie or buy the iTune/eBook, and then go for coffee with another Christian friend to discuss the biblical parallels.

This book was provided free to the reviewer for the purposes of blog review.

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