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Religion: Understanding The Bible Essay

1493 words - 6 pages

The first chapter of the Understanding The Bible breaks down the Bible and explains it’s components. The Bible is the sacred text of two religions, Judaism and Christianity. According to Slick (n.d.), The Bible is a collection of 66 books written by about 40 authors, in three different languages, on three different continents, over approximately 1600 years. The Bible contains many different styles of writing such as narration, fiction, poetry, history, law, and many others. It must be understood in the framework of those styles. This makes the Bible very difficult to read cover to cover. The Bible is split up into two main sections, The Old Testament and The New Testament.
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For the first thousand years of its literary history, the Bible existed only as a slowly growing accumulation of individual manuscripts. According to Harris (2011), biblical books were typically written on papyrus, paper like sheets made from the papyrus plant, and then rolled around a small wooden stick to form a scroll. According to Harris (2011), many ancient scribes also acted as editors and commentators, adding explanatory phrases or otherwise modifying the text to reflect the covenant community’s ever-changing circumstances. Many editorial changes were minor, mere errors in copying. Also, the Bible had been written in three different languages. I would assume that by it having been written in three different languages it would have to be interpreted in three different ways.
The worldwide catastrophic Flood, recorded in the book of Genesis, was a real event that affected real people. According to White (2007), if only eight people, Noah’s family, survived the Flood, we would expect there to be historical evidence of a worldwide flood. These eight people were spread through out the ends of the earth, therefore creating many different stories of the Flood. Consequently, stories of the Flood exist in practically all nations, from ancient Babylon onward.

Chapter 3- The Ancient Near East

Chapter 3 discusses the history of the civilization that produced the Bible. According to Harris (2011), sites of prehistoric villages, small towns, and other settlements prosper from central Anatolia, modern day Turkey, to Syria to Mesopotamia, modern day Iraq, however, it was not until about 3200 b.c. that the first large urban centers were established. According to Harris (2011), archaeological evidence indicates that humans have inhabited the Near East for tens of thousands of years. Of course the Hebrew restatement of the Flood story is not an accident. For a while, “the Hebrews lived in Sumer, home to Abraham's people” (The Ancient Near East, n.d.). Nomadic people “left the fertile river valleys and headed for Canaan and later Egypt, taking with them ancient accounts of floods and righteous people whose obedience and wisdom helped them to survive the consuming waters” (The Ancient Near East, n.d.).
According to many scholars, the period of the Babylonian Exile and the following two centuries witnessed the high point of biblical configuration. According to Harris (2011), now without Davidic rulers or political independence, Judean scribes revised earlier documents to produce most of the historical narratives that now make up Joshua through 2 Kings, all edited to reflect the cataclysmic result of Judah’s failure to honor its covenant obligations to Yahweh.
An important failure regarding the covenant happened only five years after Solomon’s death. According to Harris (2011), Pharaoh Shishak, leader of the northern tribal rebellion, who had supported Jeroboam; took all the treasures from the Temple of Yahweh and the treasures from the royal palace, he took...

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