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The Modern Reader's Bible

Select Masterpieces

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THE MODERN READER'S BIBLE

A SERIES OF WORKS FROM THE SACRED SCRIPTURES PRESENTED

IN MODERN LITERARY FORM

SELECT MASTERPIECES

OF

BIBLICAL LITERATURE

EDITED, WITH AN INTRODUCTION AND NOTES

BY

RICHARD G. MOULTON, M.A. (CAMB.), PH.D. (PENN.)
PROFESSOR OF LITERATURE IN ENGLISH IN THE

UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO

New York
THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
LONDON: MACMILLAN & CO., LTD.

All rights reserved

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Set up and electrotyped September, 1897. Reprinted December, 1897 ; August, 1898.

Norwood Press
J. S. Cushing & Co. - Berwick & Smith

Norwood Mass. U.S.A.

INTRODUCTION

That which we call · The Bible' has the outward appearance of a book: in reality it is — what the word “bible' implies in the original Greek a whole library.

More than fifty books, the production of a large number of different authors, representing periods of time extending over many centuries, are all comprehended between the covers of a single volume. There is no greater monument of the power of printing to diffuse thought than this fact, that the whole classic literature of one of the world's greatest peoples can be carried about in the hand or the pocket.

But there is another side to the matter. A high price has been paid for this feat of manufacturing a portable literature: no less a price than the effacement from the books of the Bible of their whole literary structure. Where the literature is dramatic, there are (except in one book) no names of speakers nor divisions of speeches ; there are no titles to essays or poems, nor anything to mark where one poem or discourse ends and another begins; not only is there nothing to reflect finer rhythmic distinctions in poetry, but (in King James's version) there is not even a distinction made between poetry and prose.

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