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Critical Companion to the Bible a Literary Reference

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Excerpted from Critical Companion to the Bible a Literary Reference
Reading the Bible as Literature The Bible was written by many human authors, some of whom are known with certainty and some of whom are disputed. What is more, if you were to ask believing Jews or Christians, they would name a different author of the Bible: God is said to have “inspired” the writing of the Scriptures. The Bible is a religious book, not just for one community of faith, but for several: Jews and Christians of different denominations, including both Catholic and Protestant traditions. These groups disagree as to which books actually belong in the Bible. In addition, over time, several different approaches to interpreting the Bible have been developed by these groups. In this volume, the Bible is examined mainly from a literary point of view. A literary approach to this unique book, however, will only be successful if we are conscious of the fact that it is not to be judged according to the rules of modern literature but rather as a document of the ancient Near Eastern and Jewish-Hellenistic cultures.
One Book, Many Books: Which Texts Belong to the Bible The Bible is not a single, unified work but a compilation of individual texts commonly called books. Which books belong to the Bible? This question is answered differently by different religious communities. The Hebrew Bible is the Holy Scripture of the Jews. It contains books originally written in the ancient Hebrew and partly in the ancient Aramaic languages. The five books of Moses, also called the Pentateuch, or Torah, belong to it, as well as some books dealing with the history of ancient Israel. These are followed by the books of the prophets, some books of wisdom, and the Psalms (a complete list of the books of the Bible is given in Part IV of this volume). The first Christians were Jews, and so the Jewish...

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