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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

Birthright (Genesis 25:33)

Picture description: Esau and Jacob presented to Isaac.
Picture copyright: Benjamin West / public domain


In today’s context, a birthright means an inborn privilege.

origin and application

A birthright is a Jewish tradition which entitles the eldest son of the family to inherit two times more property than the younger brothers. This kind of right is called such because this is an in-born privilege to the eldest son.
When Rebekeh, the wife of Isaac gave birth to a pair of twin sons – Jacob and Esau, the two babies jostled with each other within the mother’s womb. In the end, it was Esau who was born first, and then came his brother, Jacob. Yet the battle between the two brothers did not end here. Jacob, who came out later, tried to win the birthright that was endowed upon the eldest brother. One day, when Esau came back from hunting, he asked Jacob to give him some red stew. Jacob’s chance came – he asked Esau to sell his birthright for the red stew. Feeling extremely hungry, Esau complied.


birthright    Esau    inborn    Isaac    Jacob    privilege   

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