The Biography of the Bible - by Ernest Sutherland Bates
A brief account of its Character, Authorship, Text, Translation and Influence of the evolution of mankind.
This is an narrative of the development of the Bible, from the earliest manuscripts to the 20th century. It includes the story of the translation of the Bible into English, the 'Higher Criticism' of the 19th century, and presents the Bible in historical and social context. This serves as a short but detailed introduction to the subject, well worth reading whatever one's views on the Bible.
Table of Contents
I. GENERAL CHARACTER
"The content of the Bible is Man."
Emphasis upon the average man and the social whole, realism in treatment, freedom in form.
II. THE AUTHORS
"Anonymity, not personality, affords the clew to Biblical authorship."
Early folk literature; the traditional authorsóMoses, David, Solomon; the Prophets; Postexilic literatureóthe legalists, the humanists, the nationalists; the Apocrypha; the Christian authors.
III. CONFLICT OVER CREED AND CANON
"Blood as well as learning went into the establishment of creed and canon."
The Gnostics; the Manicheans; Arians and Athanasians; Homoousians and Homoiousians; The final victory.
THE BIBLE UNDER MEDIEVALISM
"For a thousand years the Bible held its place in a confused world wherein learning mingled with superstition, piety with persecution, love of beauty with hate and cruelty; and it was interpreted in accordance with all these attitudes."
The consecration to texts; scholastic methods of interpretation; the miracle plays; the war on infidels and heretics; the Biblical themes of art.
V. THE GREAT TRANSLATIONS
"The great translations were part of a social revolution."
Early translations; Martin Luther; Tyndale and his successors; the King James version; typographical errorsó''the Hee and She Bibles," "the Wicked Bible"; the Revised Version; eccentric and literal translations.
THE HIGHER CRITICISM
"There is no mystery about the so-called 'Higher Criticism'; it is simply the scientific combination of textual and historical criticism which is used today in the study of all early literature."
Hobbes and Spinoza; Jean Astruc; Eichhorn; De Wette; Strauss and Renan; the T¸bingen School; more recent criticism.
THE BIBLE AND THE STREAM OF LIFE
"What was once a tributary, small, then mighty, which preserved its own hue amidst the larger stream, has now at last merged into the river, losing the isolation of its identity but giving something of its color to the whole."
The Bible and the Jews; the Bible and the world; the Bible in America; the present and the future.
About the Author:
ERNEST SUTHERLAND BATES comes from a long line of New England deacons and members of the clergy. His father was an Episcopal clergyman, his mother's father a Methodist. Their descendant, however, has devoted himself to the study of philosophy and literature, having taken his Ph.D. from Columbia. Dr. Bates has served as professor of both English literature and philosophy in the Universities of Arizona and of Oregon. He was literary editor of the Dictionary of American Biography. He has written half a dozen books, one of them a narrative prose poem entitled The Friend of Jesus.
By ancestry, training, and natural inclination Dr. Bates is ideally equipped to write about the Bible. When he entered college he planned to become a clergyman but preferred to devote himself to the study of philosophy which increased, rather than diminished, his life-long interest in the Bible. He thus brings to his interpretation of the Bible the learning and wisdom of a varied life.