CliffsNotes on the Bible

CliffsNotes on the Bible

CliffsNotes on the Bible

CliffsNotes on the Bible

Synopsis

The importance of The Holy Bible, whether as a master work of literature or religious canon, can hardly be overestimated. This comprehensive study guide provides a unique approach to reading The Holy Bible and helps readers dive deep into the New Testament to analyze the teachings of Jesus through poetry and parable. The guide also leads readers through the Old Testament, the foundation for both Judaism and Christianity and the moral and political beacon for many nations of the Western world.

Excerpt

Although the Old Testament is often referred to as a book, it is really a collection of many books, or separate manuscripts, produced by different individuals over a long period of time. These individual books were not written for the same purpose, nor were they considered to be of equal importance at the times when they were written. Many were in existence in some form long before they were assembled into a single collection and given the status of Scripture, or sacred writing. Not until the sixth and fifth centuries B.C. was any portion of the Old Testament writings arranged in the form in which we have them today. During this period, they came to be regarded as authoritative documents for declaring the word of the deity to the people of Israel. At later times, other writings were added to the original collection, but not until near the close of the first century A.D. was general agreement reached concerning all of the books that are now included in the canon of the Old Testament.

The importance of the Old Testament as reflected in the influence it has had through the centuries can scarcely be overestimated. Its religious significance is indicated primarily by the fact that it is recognized as a part of the inspired sacred literature of three of the major religions of the world. First of all, it was the sacred Bible of Judaism and is so regarded at the present time. Along with the New Testament, it is included in the Bible of Christianity, and it holds a similar place in the religion of Islam, for the followers of Mohammed accept its teachings along with those of the Koran. But the influence of the Old Testament has not been confined to the adherents of these three religions: It has permeated the cultures of many countries of the world and has been one of the main sources of the moral and political ideals that have played so vital a role in the history of Western nations. The ideas of democracy, individual worth, freedom in its various forms, the rights of humans, divine purpose in the world, human destiny—all find their origin, in part, in the literature of the Old Testament. The influence of this book is also reflected in the great literatures of Europe and America. Allusions to passages in the Old Testament are so frequent that many of the great books in English and . . .

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