From a talking donkey to a man being eaten by a giant fish, the Bible has no shortage of strange stories. In her new book “A Most Peculiar Book: The Inherent Strangeness of the Bible” (Oxford University Press, 2021), Kristin Swenson, an associate professor of religious studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, delves into these stories and many others. Here’s a look at 20 of the more bizarre biblical stories that Swenson discusses in the book. Some, such as Jonah being eaten by a giant fish, refer to important archaeological sites, like Nineveh, an ancient Assyrian city in modern-day northern Iraq. Others, such as that of a literal scapegoat, explain how phrases that are commonly used in modern times came into existence.

Human-God hybrids

(Image credit: Hulton Fine Art Collection via Getty Images)

The Bible also introduces mysterious superhumans that influenced God’s decision to send a flood that covered the Earth. 



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