Predictable Fare would be more like it: a gracefully written but intellectually feeble introduction to the Bible for Christians and sympathetic unbelievers. Walsh is an Episcopalian priest, a poet and one-time friend of C. S. Lewis. Unsurprisingly, he spends a good deal of time on the literary side of Scripture--and as long as he sticks to that, he does an excellent job. His opening chapters survey the major biblical genres from a broadly humanistic viewpoint, providing the beginner with clear and appealing summaries of what's going on in Proverbs, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Ruth, Samuel I and II, etc. But then, much too rapidly, he shifts the focus from Jewish and Christian culture to its mysterious underlying ""X-Dimension,"" and thence to orthodox notions of Yahweh and Jesus. With a quick conjurer's (apologist's) gesture Walsh transforms all the disparate elements of the ""Hebrew Anthology"" into the. perfect coherence of sacred history. The 66 books of the Protestant canon become a five-act drama (I-Creation, fall, and early myths; II--From Abraham until the III--Coming of Christ; IV--Christianity and the Church; V--Apocalyptic expectations). There's nothing wrong per se with this traditional schema, except that in presenting it Walsh ignores most of the problems every thoughtful newcomer to the Bible inevitably faces: What to make of miracles? What of the strong endorsement by both the Torah and the New Testament Epistles of patriarchy and its outrageous assumptions? Walsh just doesn't ask. A tasteful devotional exercise--and no more.