The influence of the Bible in Western culture is immeasurable, but these days few of us know much about it. Presenting concise and accessible introductions to the Bible's most important characters, stories and themes, this text encourages better understanding, study and analysis of the Christian element in Western culture. With no prior biblical knowledge required, this clearly presented volume delivers a framework of understanding for those studying Western literature, art, historical events, or for those simply wanting to improve their general knowledge. Filling a gap in the market for an introductory text of this kind, this genuinely multi-disciplinary book provides: * edited extracts from the Bible* explanations of the context and beliefs of each passage* links to related biblical texts* examples of related key works of art and literature * brief biographies of key figures* a comprehensive glossary defining specialist terms* chronology* suggested further reading. Enabling readers to encounter key Bible stories directly, the book also provides useful background information on issues of content, context and influence. Easy to use and follow, it is the essential guide for those wishing to find out more about the Bible and its impact on the world around us.