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Bibles, Holy Books and Myths. The word bible comes from Greek bibila meaning 'little books' The Bible is a particular, but sometimes variable, collection of books Jewish (Old Testament) Christian (New Testament). Need to be acquainted with some of the stories, some of the language

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The word bible comes from Greek bibila meaning 'little books'

The Bible is a particular, but sometimes variable, collection of books

Jewish (Old Testament)

Christian (New Testament)

Need to be acquainted with some of the stories, some of the language

Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Abraham and Isaac, Noah's flood...

phrases, 'let there be light...' 'in the beginning was...', plus style and basic oppositions

Authorised King James version – Church of England from 1604-1611

light/dark, good/evil

many other holy books and oral traditions

Greek, Roman, Celtic, Germanic, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, African , Aboriginal...

Qur'an, 4 Vedas, Post-Vedic Samhitas, Brāhmaṇas,

'The Bible' is not one but many languages, literatures and cultures (biblia-books)

Old Testament, written in Hebrew

range of genres representing the historic mission of the Jews

mythic and epic narratives: Genesis to Exodus

chronicles: Kings

laws, moral codes and proverbs: Leviticus, Ecclesiastics, Proverbs

prayers and love songs, sacred and erotic: Psalms, Song of Solomon

lives of heroes and prophets: Job, Jonah, Ruth

New Testament, written in Greek

many narratives of the life of Christ: four gospels

extended letters: epistles of St Paul to the early churches

song of solomon
Song of Solomon

Chapter 4:

5. Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies.

6. Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.

7. Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.

Plus other books have been seen as 'apocryphal' by different sects at different times

counted in and out of various canons of holy books

Gospel of Nicodemus

Christ's harrowing of hell in Middle Ages, later dropped

Roman Catholics accept more books than Protestants

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has Book of Mormon (1830)

northrop frye the great code
Northrop Frye, The Great Code

Vico – poetic, heroric/noble, vulgar

Frye – hieroglyphic, hieratic, demonic

metaphor, metonymy, debate

allegorical, analogical, dialectical

the word, continuous prose, scientific

spirit, soul, mind

gods, God, no god


In this period there is relatively little emphasis on a clear separation of subject and object: the emphasis falls rather on the feeling that subject and object are linked by a common power or energy. ... Thus knowing the name of a god or elemental spirit mayb give the knower some control over it...


In this second phase language is more individualized, and words become primarily the outward expression of inner thoughts or ideas. Subject and object are becoming more consitently separated, and “reflection,” with its overtones of looking into a mirror, moves into the verbal foreground...from the metaphorical to the metonymic...words are “put for” thoughts


Here we start with a clear separation of subject and object, in which teh subject exposes itself, in sense experience, to the impact of an objective is the primary function of literature, more particularly of poetry, to keep re-creating the first or metaphorical phase of language during the domination of the later phases, to keep presenting it to us as a mode of language that we must never be allowed to underestimate, much less lose sight of.


Thus oratorical rhetoric, as we have it in the history of literature, represents a kind of transitional stage of language betwen first-phase metaphor and second-phase argument...(Kerygma) is the vehicle of what is traditionally called revelation,...(meaning) the conveying of information drom an objective divine source to a subjective human receoptor...

In the middle of the book (Deuteronomy 11:1ff) the author is exhorted by an angel to take a “reed” and measure the temple of God. The source for this is Ezekiel 40:3 (see also Zechariah 2:1), where the word for reed is qaneh, from which our word “canon” is ultimately derived. Remembering that in Christian typology the antitypical temple is the body of Christ or the Word of God, one wonders whether the figure of measuring the temple does not have something to do with establishing a canon of writings. (199-200)
...even a century ago many people were rather scandalized to hear that Moses could not have written any part of the Pentareuch, that David and Solomon did not write the Psalms and the Wisdom literature, that “the book of Isiah” is not a book by Isaiah but a collection of oracles extending over several centuries; that the Book of Daniel turns into Aramaic halfway through, and could no more be written by a contemporary of Nebuchadnezzar than a book that turned from Latin into Italian could be Julius Caesar’s; that it is unlikely that any of the twelve disciples mention in the Gospels wrote any part of the New Testament; and that some of Paul’s most typical and personal letters may not be wholly his.

Genesis 7:7-9

7 And Noah and his SONS and his wife and his SONS' wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. 8 PAIRS of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, 9 male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as GOD had commanded Noah.

Genesis 7:1-6

7:1 The LORD then said to Noah, Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. 2 Take with you SEVEN of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, 3 and also SEVEN of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. 4 SEVEN days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made. 5 And Noah did all that the LORD commanded him. 6 Noah was SIX HUNDRED years old when the floodwaters came on the earth.

Genisis Book 2

7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. 8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.


15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him. 19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found a help meet for him. 21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof. 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.


Christian God: