The Bible is an anthology of narratives originating in oral tradition, and later fixed into written
form by largely anonymous authors, then further edited by equally anonymous redactors. This
process of creating what we commonly refer to as Old and New Testament joined together under
the title of Bible, must be our starting point for the study of its individual books as literary texts.
It is important to understand that the compilation of the Bible spanned a period of some one-
thousand one hundred years; but once established as a divinely inspired work, it has occupied a
central place in Western Civilization. Because it remains sacrosanct to Judaism and Christianity,
it affects some 2 billion people. Yet its collective influence extends even further than that, when
one factors in its perpetual presence in literature, music, art and film. It is just as significant for
secularists and non-believers, as it is relevant to a third of the world’s population. Why?
There is something inherent in the human condition that makes us want to understand our place
in the world. Who are we, really? Where do we come from, and why are we here? We can invoke
, which signifies universal consciousness as the very thing that sets this
elaborate process of understanding in motion. Necessarily, then, the next question must be how
do we explain? We explain through language, first orally, then in written form. The Bible as
Literature proceeds from these ideas; it begins with the first book of the Hebrew Bible called
Genesis, and the subject is Creation.
We might ask ourselves what is literature in and of itself?
Ideally, literature is the expression of human interaction with the world for the purpose of
entertaining, enlightening, or instructing its readers. Not all writing is literature and it seems that
the difference between the recording of data and literary writing, is some dimension of creativity
and artistic treatment that serves entertainment, enlightenment and instruction, while developing
more specific criteria that includes literary form, technique, and formal criticism. In the case of
we will concern our study with the various forms narrative assume, the techniques