Is the Bible a Literary Masterpiece?


The Consolation of Reading

Is the Bible a literary masterpiece? For many it is impossible to disentangle their religious beliefs or their antagonism towards religion to judge the question fairly. Among literary critics this is a rather uncontroversial question. As Harold Bloom states in his book, The Shadow of a Great Rock, the KJV is “the sublime summit of literature in English.” While on an aggregate site that consulted 25 different recommended reading lists put out by literary critics and major colleges, the bible appeared on 7 out of 9 relevant lists (excluding lists that only included novels or were solely 20th century works). It made 77% of the relevant lists.

The influence of the Bible on Western culture is inestimable. Often this influence includes everyday expressions, modes of thought, references, etc. Sometimes it is argued that you don’t need to read the Bible to understand these references, but it is precisely this…

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