Top Ten Books

Any surprises?

Source

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • http://stephencswan.wordpress.com/ Steve, Winnipeg, Canada

    Oh, I would that every Holy Bible printed and sold were read!

    Still, we ought to be happy that there are so many Bibles out there in the world.

  • Bo Bannister

    Surely the Quran is at #2 or 3. I would be surprised if it didn’t beat Harry Potter.

  • http://stephencswan.wordpress.com/ Steve, Winnipeg, Canada

    Hey Bo, when I first saw this graphic a while ago I thought the same thing about the Quran. But that assumes that personal, devotional Quran reading assumes a similar place in a Muslim’s life as Bible reading does in a Christian’s. Turns out it doesn’t.

    You’d really have to ask some Muslims and not take it from me, but I gather that their relationship to their holy book is different than mine. Interesting issue though. I would love to be pointed to information which could shed more light on how Muslims use/relate to/read the Quran. Anybody got any leads?

  • http://theepiscopalian.blogspot.com/ William W. Birch

    I’ll admit: I was surprised by The Da Vinci Code being at sixth place.

  • Darrin Snyder Belousek

    I wonder whether a survey of actual reading habits among Christian young adults across the English-speaking world might not have found #1 and #3 (or #7) in reverse order, and whether a survey of actual reading habits among Christian Gen Xers (myself) and Boomers across the English-speaking world might not have found #1 and #6 in reverse order.

  • http://yearningforunion.blogspot.com/ Keith

    Anyone see a common subject among these books? Religion and magic?

  • Jeff

    Top Ten sold books to be more accurate.

  • fb

    isn’t the purpose driven life supposed to be in there somewhere? supposedly 30 million copies sold as of 2007…

  • http://www.psalms4thesinner.blogspot.com/ lawrence

    The source of this is from someone’s blog (with no attribution).

    http://www.squidoo.com/mostreadbooks

    Then Jared Fanning made the graphic from that. (Very nice as far the graphic goes)

  • Joe Canner

    Steve #3 and Bo #2: There are probably at least two or three additional explanations for the Q’uran not being on this list:

    (1) The Q’uran is rarely translated from the original Arabic. Traditionally, converts are expected to know the Q’uran in the original language. This cuts down on the number of copies needed. (Contrast this with the work of various organizations that translate the Bible into other languages, print copies in that language, and teach people to read it in that language.)

    (2) In many Muslim countries the Q’uran is memorized rather than read. This stems both from a history of illiteracy as well as it not being translated into a native language. The memorization is usually done with oral repetition.

    (3) Since the Q’uran is usually only printed in Arabic, there are probably lots of copies printed by small publishers in the Middle East that are not captured by surveys like this.

  • Greg D

    This isn’t very accurate. I can think of a handful of other books that have surpassed some of these. Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities” is missing with nearly 200 million reads. Don Quixote at 500 million. A Chinese novel entitled, “Dream of the Red Chamber” with estimates as high as 1.5 billion. Or, Homer’s Eliad which was a widely read Western classic for over 2,000 years? These are all Western books save perhaps Mao’s Quotations. It would be interesting to see how many unrecorded Eastern books have been sold, copied, and read. For instance, what about the Bhagavad Gita that has been around longer than most other religious text save perhaps the Torah?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Greg D – this is current reading (bought and sold over the last 10 years), not historical reading.

    I’ve only read 3 of those 10.

  • http://tamedcynic.org Jason Micheli

    Just that there are that many preteen girls reading the Twilight novels….gosh, as a book fiend and literary snob to boot, I’m depressed.
    And, there’s no way people truthfully report their bible-reading. There aren’t that many baptists out there.

  • Brian Woodward

    Its not just baptists that read the Bible. That is terrible.

  • Mike M

    In philosophy, religion is magic so this is not surprising. Maybe we really do have an innate propensity for magical thinking.

  • anon

    Some info is incorrect———
    “(1) The Q’uran is rarely translated from the original Arabic. Traditionally, converts are expected to know the Q’uran in the original language. This cuts down on the number of copies needed.”
    —The Quran has been translated into almost every language.
    (It is true that Muslims are expected to read the Arabic Quran—but its ok if they don’t)

    “(2) In many Muslim countries the Q’uran is memorized rather than read. This stems both from a history of illiteracy as well as it not being translated into a native language. The memorization is usually done with oral repetition.”
    —-It is true that the Quran is memorized in Arabic—but translations have nothing to do with the practice.

    (3) “Since the Q’uran is usually only printed in Arabic, there are probably lots of copies printed by small publishers in the Middle East that are not captured by surveys like this.”
    —-Translations are also printed. Some translations have the arabic as well as the translation and also the Tafsir (commentary).

    There are 1.6 billion Muslims who all possess at least one Quran….a family can have multiple Qurans—the big print for the kids to read—-the arabic with the translation—the small print so as to be able to carry the Quran about in a bag…and maybe a Quran with Tafsir. Muslims tend to read the Quran a lot—usually during the fasting month of Ramadan when Muslims read the whole Quran (that is why the Quran is divided into 30 parts—by reading one part a day you can finish reading it in 30 days—–the normal division is into surahs—there are 114 surahs)

  • anon

    (It is true that Muslims are expected to read the Arabic Quran—but its ok if they don’t)—sorry—what I meant to say here was —its ok if converts don’t. pls correct the mistake.


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