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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

Arise as one man (Judges 20:8)

Picture description: The war against the Benjamites(Judges 20:1-13)
Picture copyright: V. Gilbert and Arlisle F. Beers

bible verse

“All the people rose as one man, saying, “None of us will go home. No, not one of us will return to his house.”(Judges 20:8)


To arise as one man is to unite everyone for the same cause.

origin and application

Here is an account of a violent rape scene in the Old Testament. Search through the story and see where this idiom appears.
A man from the Levite tribe in Israel took a concubine, who went back to her father’s house in Bethlehem. The man came to her father’s house to persuade her to return home. While they were on the way back home, an old man let them stay at his house. That night, some wicked men of the city surrounded the house and asked to have sex with the Levite man. The old man persuaded them not to commit such a disgraceful sexual act with a man, but instead brought out from his house the concubine and his own daughter. They raped the concubine throughout the night. At daybreak the woman went back to the house, and lay on the threshold until daylight. Seeing that the concubine had no response on the floor, her master put her on the back of donkey and carried her home. When he reached home, he cut up her dead body into twelve parts and sent them into all parts of Israel. People of all Israeli tribes gathered together and questioned the Levite about this awful act. Upon hearing the story, they all arose as one man and decided to go against the Benjamin tribe, because it was in the place of Benjamin that the rape took place.


strength    unity   

Related Information

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Search idiom or name

A lot of phrases, such as "two-edged sword" and " an eye for an eye", are taken from the English Bible. Learning the stories behind these idioms is fun, and can help boost your vocabulary. Click here to find out now!

What's in a name?

Common names such as Joseph and Rachel have their origins in the Bible. Want to know their stories before picking the right name for yourself? Click here to find out.