The Various Attitudes of Scholars and People toward the Bible
The Biblical World
THE Bible is the most important book, or collection of books, in the world, and has exerted, and still exerts, a greater moral influence on mankind than any other. The sacred books of China and India are older than a considerable part at least, if not the whole, of the biblical writings, and they represent constituencies numerically larger than do the latter; but the Bible has influenced the more progressive and virile races, and, through these, is powerfully affecting the character and
... aracter and fortunes of mankind. The author of "Locksley Hall" exclaimed: Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay. A book which shapes the ideals and even partially directs the conduct of the English-speaking race alone is more significant than all the sacred books of China and India and the Moslem empire combined. It also is true that the Bible is attracting more attention today than ever before. It is studied by more people; it commands a more absorbed interest; and its influence on life is more direct and powerful. Within the last fifty years, and especially within the last twenty-five, the critical study of the Bible has enormously increased. To many anxious lovers of the sacred book this has seemed to threaten the disintegration of their treasure and the destruction of its unique character as a divine revelation. To some extent critical study has disintegrated the Bible, as it has come down to us; it has destroyed in many minds a superstitious veneration for the letter. But, on the other hand, it has brought out into clearer light the continuity and the essential moral integrity of the divine revelation which the book, or rather the literature, and the history which it 341 This content downloaded from 138.073.001.036 on July 31, 2016 11:11:34 AM All use subject to University of Chicago Press Terms and Conditions (http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/t-and-c).