No other book ever had such strange vitality and inspiration as the Bible. It has set new ideals for civilization, new models for character and new conceptions of virtue and deeper hopes for happiness. It is a provoker of literature -
The Bible contains the essence of Hebrew thought. It is a collection of the best in the ancient literature of the Jews. Aside from this there is little else of exceptional charm or of the human appeal which is the genius of this Book of Books. As a historian, Josephus is outclassed by Herodotus, Thucydides, Tacitus or Gibbon and the few legendary gems scattered about in the Talmuds are negligible. The sacred volume is in reality a collection of sixty-
The problem of how one nation put so much richness and unity into such a collection would require for its answer a more intimate knowledge of those forces "beyond our present understanding," or in other words an appeal to divine inspiration for an explanation. Without going into that, the Book reflects the history and philosophy of the chosen race through a long, varied experience. Very close to the beginning God told Abraham that "in thy seed shall all nations of the earth be blessed," thus stamping upon the nation an early impression of future greatness under the direction of a Supreme Being ever present in the affairs of men. Now loyal, again rebellious, the race was led by the voices of the prophets into a fuller understanding and a profounder feeling of the righteousness and spirituality of God. The religious sense was developed in the most absolute form until finally in a time of national humiliation, the greatest prophet of all arose, claimed to fulfill the hopes of Israel in his own person and declared a new era of spiritual life -
The influence of the Bible on literature is literally universal. Although it arose in the East and is clothed in Oriental form and imagery, like the sun it enters all lands and speaks to the heart of the world in hundreds of languages. It has an appeal for kings and peasants; for wise men and children. If it should be destroyed, it could be replaced from the quotations on the shelves of our school libraries. There are many works written showing to what extent the Book has influenced the great masters of literature.
Cled Wallace, Excerpted from The One Book Analyzed and Outlined