The English Bible as Literature

By Charles Allen Dinsmore | Go to book overview

CONTENTS

PART I
THE GENIUS AND DISCIPLINE OF THE HEBREW PEOPLE
I. THE MARKS OF A SUPREME BOOK3

Affects us and many generations profoundly; interprets life; stirs the emotions; is vivid; contains magic sentences. Definition of literature. The three world classics, compared in scope of truth, background, simplicity, sincerity, charm.

II. AN EPIC OF REDEMPTION14

The marvel of the book; the author; peril of misinterpretation; its truth shaped by the imagination. Epic or drama? Belongs to the literature of power.

III. HOW DID A LITERATURE SO GREAT COME FROM A PEOPLE SO SMALL?25

Early civilizations in the river bottoms; mountainous nature of Palestine; effect on character; a buffer state. Religion and its expression the only outlet for the nation's genius. Effects of inbreeding and selection. Stress of contemporary events. Contrast with the experience of the Greeks.

IV. MENTAL AND SPIRITUAL CHARACTERISTICS WHICH DIFFERENTIATED THE HEBREWS FROM OTHER PEOPLES OF THEIR TIME39

Israel the first nation to outgrow the primitive mind; to conceive a national ideal. Compared with Egypt; with Babylon. Found God through Man and his Experiences rather than through Nature and her Processes. Therefore they wrote the world's first history, believed in an ethical God, had the forward look. Prolific in men of the higher consciousness. Compared with Hellas; the sea and the mountains; know thyself, know thy God; reason versus instinct.

V. THE LITERARY QUALITIES OF THE HEBREW MIND58

Religion stimulates literature. The Hebrew mind intuitive. The Bible a book of glimpses into the divine secret, not a disclosure of the divine plan. Hebrew mind not wide in its interests; peculiarities of imagination; ideas concrete; use of analogy and metaphor; described emotions by picturing them; absence of drama; did not conceive life tragically. Their literature the fruit of adversity. Truth emotionally conceived and rhythmically expressed; applied, not contemplated. Conditions of their art; absence of tradition; small world; the grand manner. Arnold's definition of style.

-ix-

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The English Bible as Literature
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • PART I: THE GENIUS AND DISCIPLINE OF THE HEBREW PEOPLE 1
  • Chapter IV the Mental and Spiritual Characteristics 39
  • PART II: LITERARY VALUES OF THE OLD TESTAMENT BOOKS 109
  • Chapter X Biblical Poetry 175
  • Chapter XIV Prose Fiction 250
  • PART III: THE LITERARY QUALITIES OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 257
  • Chapter XIX Apocalyptical Writings 298
  • Appendix 311
  • Index 327
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