Bible as Literature
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14-08-2013, 09:17 AM
Bible as Literature
Alright, let's ignore whether or not the Bible is moral or historically accurate. After all, The Iliad and The Odyssey are neither. Are there parts of it that work as great literature?

For example, I find the books of Ecclesiates, Job and Jonah exciting on an aesthetic and rhetorical level.

Maybe someday the phrase "The Bible as literature" will be as strange as "The Aeneid as Literature".
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14-08-2013, 10:33 AM
RE: Bible as Literature
(14-08-2013 09:17 AM)mylittlepretender Wrote:  Alright, let's ignore whether or not the Bible is moral or historically accurate. After all, The Iliad and The Odyssey are neither. Are there parts of it that work as great literature?

For example, I find the books of Ecclesiates, Job and Jonah exciting on an aesthetic and rhetorical level.

Maybe someday the phrase "The Bible as literature" will be as strange as "The Aeneid as Literature".

As lit the bible has good and bad parts. It can be very dry with list after list of who Begat whom but some of the narrative can be entertaining. Overall if your looking for literary value I would go with the King James edition as that has the most poetic language. It is actually a shame that most people don't read the bible it has some entertainment value (once you realise it is fiction) and shows that morality definitely does not come from it's pages.

(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense
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14-08-2013, 10:45 AM
RE: Bible as Literature
(14-08-2013 10:33 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  As lit the bible has good and bad parts. It can be very dry with list after list of who Begat whom but some of the narrative can be entertaining. Overall if your looking for literary value I would go with the King James edition as that has the most poetic language. It is actually a shame that most people don't read the bible it has some entertainment value (once you realise it is fiction) and shows that morality definitely does not come from it's pages.

Oh I know that. I've even found guides for what is actually interesting in the Bible.

I recommend Harold Bloom as a good guide to Jewish and Christian scripture as literature. He believes some rather implausible things about ancient history, but that's insignificant to the heart of his work. The Shadow of a Great Rock: A Literary Appreciation of the King James Bible is probably the most palatable of his religious books for atheist readers. I don't know exactly what to call his theological position, as he calls himself a Jew who doesn't trust in the covenant and sees Yahweh as monstrous and frightening. He was probably subject to much indoctrination, as Yiddish was his first language and he only learned English by reading complex poetry.

Anyways, just about all his life is dedicated to literature of all kinds, and his fluency in Hebrew and Greek are greatly complementary to his commentary.
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14-08-2013, 11:00 AM
RE: Bible as Literature
There are a couple of interesting significant "literary" threads, I've always thought.
One was how some elements of the Sumerian myth systems got changed, and given a unique, original spin, (in Genesis), in a couple places. I think there is no lasting literary value in Job, as it asks questions, (maybe it's interesting to see what they were thinking about), but it doesn't have anything original or unique, as an answer to those questions. Jonah is cool, as myth. IMO. There is also the not so obvious shift/difference from the surrounding Canaanite religions. Many were "nature" cults, but Yahweh was seen as an "actor" in history, (the god of the armies). There is also a more subtle shift to the "symbolic" stage of human religions, ((with the two cherubim, ...... actually they were golden "guardian" sphinxes, which they got from Babylon) ... angels sitting on top of the "arc" on which the (symbolic) presence of Yahweh was thought to "rest".)) It's subtle, but important, in the history of human religions, reflected in their cultural documents/artifacts. Mostly it all makes the most sense as political intrigue, and factions of Hebrew priests documenting their hatred for the opposing groups.
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...ble-Bull-s

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein Certified Ancient Astronaut Theorist and Levitating yogi, CAAT-LY.
Yeah, for verily I say unto thee, and this we know : Jebus no likey that which doth tickle thee unto thy nether regions.

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14-08-2013, 11:12 AM
RE: Bible as Literature
(14-08-2013 11:00 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  There are a couple of interesting significant "literary" threads, I've always thought.
One was how some elements of the Sumerian myth systems got changed, and given a unique, original spin, (in Genesis), in a couple places. I think there is no lasting literary value in Job, as it asks questions, (maybe it's interesting to see what they were thinking about), but it doesn't have anything original or unique, as an answer to those questions. Jonah is cool, as myth. IMO. There is also the not so obvious shift/difference from the surrounding Canaanite religions. Many were "nature" cults, but Yahweh was seen as an "actor" in history, (the god of the armies). There is also a more subtle shift to the "symbolic" stage of human religions, ((with the two cherubim, ...... actually they were golden "guardian" sphinxes, which they got from Babylon) ... angels sitting on top of the "arc" on which the (symbolic) presence of Yahweh was thought to "rest".)) It's subtle, but important, in the history of human religions, reflected in their cultural documents/artifacts. Mostly it all makes the most sense as political intrigue, and factions of Hebrew priests documenting their hatred for the opposing groups.
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...ble-Bull-s

I disagree that Job doesn't have lasting literary value. It might not have anything to offer on a philosophical level, but on a sheer poetic level, Chapters 38-41 have great power. It doesn't have any obligation to answer anything more than Shakespeare's Hamlet or Wordsworth's Prelude have an obligation to answer anything.

I find nothing interesting in political intrigue in the Bible, and I'm only slightly more interested in the similarities to other Canaanite religions.

I guess I'm more impressed by the aesthetic value of the poetry in the Bible than anything else.
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19-08-2013, 06:32 PM
RE: Bible as Literature
As many have said before... read the King James version.

Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, tits... - George Carlin.
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19-08-2013, 06:39 PM
RE: Bible as Literature
Genesis was cool...The new testament is a snooze fest. I still haven't read most of the old I'm sure there is plenty of interesting stuff in there but reading lineages via audio book sucks ***. I get it everyone wants to put their name in the book.

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19-08-2013, 10:11 PM
RE: Bible as Literature
and then, of course, there's this...

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...-available

Share and Enjoy!

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