Bible As Factor in the Shaping of Literatures

The Jewish Bible in particular and Hebraism in general are among the principal factors which have helped to mold modern European literature, is convincingly shown in the “History of European Literature,” the last book by Laurie Magnus, published posthumously. When one considers European literature during the Renaissance, what is most striking is the dominant place which the Jewish Bible and its translations into the European vernaculars occupy. Under the stimulus of the need of Bible translations for the religious purposes, European scholars of the Renaissance period endeavored to surpass each other in molding and remolding their crude vernaculars for use in expressing the lofty thoughts and high poetic form of the Bible. As a result the specially created King James Bible in England, Luther’s Bible in Germany, which is often referred to as Biblicized German and corresponding masterpieces in the vernaculars of the other European countries and form important milestones in all the literatures of Europe, upon which subsequent works were modeled.

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