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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

Eat, drink and be merry (Ecclesiastes 8:15 KJV)

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

bible verse

“…a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry…”

origin and application

Eat, drink and be merry is a common phrase seen in restaurant guides or leisure magazines. Happy hours at pubs are often depicted as a time to “eat, drink and be merry.” With this present-day usage, it may come to you as a surprise that this verse in fact first appeared in the Bible.
It appeared in the Book of Ecclesiastes, believed to be written by King Solomon, a wise king in Israel who is the son of King David. In his later years, he composed a lot of wise sayings which were entered into the Bible as Proverbs and Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament.
The Book of Ecclesiastes is believed to be written during his latter years as he reflected on the meaning of life. To say that “…a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry…” may easily lead us to think of him as a hedonist, a player. But at a deeper level, the author is comparing the limits of man’s life on earth to the limitlessness of eternity that God grants us in heaven.


banquet    drink    eat    feast   

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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.