• Login

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

The eleventh hour (Matthew 20:6)

Picture description: Parable
Picture copyright: V.

bible verse

“He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?” (Matthew 20:6)


Today, when you do something at the eleventh hour, you do something at the last minute.

origin and application

This phrase comes from a parable that Jesus used in his teaching. One day, a landowner went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. They agreed on working for a penny a day. At the eleventh hour, when the landowner went out, he saw others idling around and decided to hire them. Although they came to work late at the eleventh hour, they were paid the same as those who worked since the early morning. There are several interpretations to this story. In one school of thought, it is believed that Jesus used this story to send a message that those who set their eyes on monetary return for work done would not be appreciated. On the other hand, those who were hired at the eleventh hour were rewarded the same, because they cared not for the return of work, but for the opportunity to work.
In another school of thought, it is believed that however late in life you turn to Christ or follow his teachings, you will be rewarded.



eleventh    last   

Related Information

NIV official site
Chinese Bible (???)

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.