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The Bible has been the most influential text in all of Western culture. It's difficult to understand medieval or early modern or much of modern literature without knowing it...

Prof. Barbara Newman, Northwestern University
from 2006 Bible Literary project


It's not that it's impossible to read some writers without a Biblical background, but that you would miss a whole dimension to their work.

Prof. Steven Goldsmith, University of California at Berkeley
from 2006 Bible Literary Project


I can only say that if a student doesn't know any Bible literature, he or she will simply not understand whole elements of Shakespeare, Sidney, Spenser, Milton, Pope, Wordsworth

Prof. Robert Kiely, Harvard University
from 2006 Bible Literary Project


...there is truth in the remark. "without Tyndale[Bible translator], no Shakespeare"...

Prof. David Daniell, University College London
from The Bible in English


You can't really study Western literature intelligently or coherently without starting with the Bible.

Prof. Gerald L. Bruns, University of Notre Dame
from 2006 Bible Literary Project


...a familiar understanding of Christian doctrine in historical perspective thus contributes to a fuller appreciation of Shakespeare's art, but Shakespeare's art

Prof. Roland M. Frye
from Shakespeare and the Christian Doctrine


In English tradition and also for an American tradition begun by Puritan writers, a knowledge of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament is even more crucial than classical references.

Prof. Ulrich Knoefplmacher, Princeton University
from 2006 Bible Literary Project


There is no book more important for our culture than the Bible, and it is fundametal to the study of English literature and language.

Prof. David Jasper and Prof. Stephen Prickett
from the Bible and literature

A hair’s breadth (Judges 20:16)

Picture description: Hair
Picture copyright: V. Gilbert and Arlisle F. Beers

bible verse

“Among all these soldiers there were seven hundred chosen men who were left-handed, each of whom could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.” (Judges 20:16)


A very small space or short distance.

origin and application

It follows from the story of “arise as one man” that people of all Israelite tribes gathered to go against the Benjamin tribe after an Israelite concubine was raped in the place of Benjamin. The Israelites asked the people of Benjamin to surrender those wicked men, but they would not listen. At once, Benjaminites mobilized twenty-six thousand soldiers, amongst them were seven hundred chosen ones who were so skillful that they could hurl a stone at “a hair’s breadth.”
A hair’s breadth means a very small space or short distance. Usually when someone just misses a target, or loses a race by a tiny margin, he says, “I missed by a hair’s breadth.”


The gang escaped the police at a hair’s breadth.


arise    breadth    hair    short   

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