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Analyzing the Bible as Literature

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English 175

It seems like over the past few years no matter how much money you made, it was still never enough. This sent many people back to school to advance their career. With fewer classes and more students it was harder than ever to register for the classes you need. Many students took classes outside of their major simply to establish priority registration. This is the reason I signed up for this class. I thought I would be bored and merely attend class and complete assignments while time passed slowly. I could not have been more wrong. Studying the Bible with an academic mind has positively impacted my life in the areas of knowledge and attitude.

In my upbringing the words, "because I said so" were heard often. My parents, grandparents and teachers often used that phrase. This conditioned me to not question authority. What higher authority is there than God? So surely we were not permitted to question the Bible. My exposure to the Bible was limited. I attended Catholic Church every Sunday where the priest would read a passage then translate it for us. Since his interpretation of the message could relate to a current situation or event, then it must be true. This made the Bible even more profound and sacred. How could something written so long ago still be relevant today if it was not divine? When we prayed at home as a family we would recite the rosary. I found comfort in the repetitiveness. It had the power to stabilize unstable emotions. As I grew into adulthood I studied science and eventually questioned my faith. I accepted that there is not ever going to be scientific proof. I found a certain peace in that because it allowed me to close the doubtful part of my mind and look at what I do have in my faith. I knew that I enjoyed how I felt when I attended mass and went through the sacred rituals. The repetitive prayers were soothing. It did not matter to me if this calm was caused by the presence of a higher being or the unity of a community.

It was not until this class that I have ever felt comfortable reading the Bible. Since it was assigned in class I was able to look with an academic eye. Initially I was apprehensive and focused on the literary components like the foreshadowing in Genesis 37 or the setting changes in Job 1. This built on my existing knowledge of literature and allowed me to become at ease with the process of analyzing the Bible.

Once I was comfortable questioning the Bible I was able to expand my knowledge greatly. The process of redaction was completely new to me. I had never questioned the origins of the Bible and had assumed that pieces were discovered over the years and added to the existing text after authentication. I realize now that with very little thought this would have been found illogical. This did not account for translation or the canonization process that yielded the current multiple versions of the Bible. When looking at



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