Showing posts from May, 2012

The Bible and Western Culture

In his national bestseller,  From Dawn to Decadence:  500 Years of Western Cultural Life , Jacques Barzun describes the impact of the reformers' efforts in translating the Bible into the common tongues:  The results for Protestants were remarkable. To start with, it gave whole populations a common background of knowledge, a common culture in the high sense of the term... The Bible was a whole literature, a library. It was an anthology of poetry and short stories. It taught history, biography, philosophy, political science, psychology, hygiene, and sociology (statistical at that), in addition to cosmogony, ethics, and theology. What gives the Bible so strong a hold on the minds that once grow familiar with  its contents is its dramatic reporting of human affairs. For all its piety, it presents a worldly panorama, and with particulars so varied that it is hard to think of a domestic or social situation without a biblical example to match and turn to moral ends. With the Bible m