圣经的影响impact of Bible


来自: Menucha(מנוחה) 2008-10-10 22:30:30

  • Menucha

    Menucha (מנוחה) 2008-10-11 01:36:19

    Despite its best efforts to limit the common person's access to the Bible, in the late Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church found itself fighting a losing battle.
    Most of us know about the Protestant Reformation in early 16th century, but efforts to spread "the Word" actually began many centuries earlier.
    Already by the 14th century disgust with the decadence and corruption of the Church began to create a grass-roots movement of rebellion. One of the earliest acts of defiance was an attempt on the part of several individuals to return the Christian world to its pure roots by re-introducing the Bible to the common man.
    In both northern Europe and England illegal copies of the Bible were printed and distributed in the local vernacular. One such version, produced in England in the late 14th century by Oxford theologian, John Wycliffe, had this in its preface:
    北欧和英格兰开始有非法印刷和发行的本国语圣经。英格兰14世纪晚期由牛津神学家John Wycliffe出版的圣经的前言如下:
    The Bible is for the government of the people, by the people and for the people. (1)
    The people responsible for these "illegal" translations were persecuted and a few of them, such as Jan Hus of Bohemia, were put to death for heresy.
    非法圣经的负责人受到迫害,其中少数人如Jan Hus被处死。
    New technology was also to play a major role in the in the spread of the Bible. In 1453, in Guttenberg, Germany, the printing press was invented. Before the advent of this invention every book was hand copied, often by monks. This made books both rare and expensive. The printing press could not only produce books at a much faster rate, but it also dramatically lowered the cost of each book. It's no accident that the first book printed in Guttenberg was the Bible. The translation of the Bible into local languages and its mass-production via the printing press led to an explosion in both its popularity and impact.
    The 16th century saw tremendous religious changes in Europe: Martin Luther founded a new Christian denomination called Protestantism. The focus of this new movement was primarily to protest against the material excesses of the Catholic Church and re-infuse Christianity with its Biblical spirit.
    In 1538 Henry VIII also broke away from Catholicism and founded The Church of England. He issued a proclamation that a copy of the Bible be placed in every Church in England and public reading of the Bible became a regular feature of church worship.
    Many other countries followed suit, abandoned the Catholic Church, and became Protestant.
    Protestant theologians, realizing that the true religious and ethical spirit of Christianity came from within the Bible (both the Old and New Testaments) put strong emphasis on the individual's right and responsibility to go directly to the Bible and use it as the moral guidebook.
    As Martin Luther wrote in a letter to Pope Leo: "... I cannot allow myself to be bound by fixed rules for the interpretation of the Word of God, for the Word, which is the source of all freedom, must itself be free." (2)
    In countries allied with Protestantism, translation and mass distribution of the Bible became a regular feature. The decline in the power of the Church, the growth of Protestantism with its strong emphasis on the Bible and the development of the printing press all combined together to blast the Bible into a position of unprecedented religious and political influence in Europe.
    One of the best examples of the power of the Bible in modern political development is the 17th century English Civil War known as the Puritan Revolution. The Puritans, who were Protestant fundamentalists, were also devout believers in the Bible. They felt that the Church of England was not in keeping with the true religious spirit which they believed included the right of everyone to interpret God's law. They also rejected the absolutism of the king, then Charles I. The Puritans felt that Parliament, and not the King, should have the final say and that the moral guidance for all legal decision should come from the Bible which they considered to be the highest authority in all matters.
    The climax of the revolution was the execution of Charles I -- a watershed in European history that shook the foundations of European nobility. For the first time in the history of Europe, a monarch was not only dethroned by the masses, but also executed. By the end of the Revolution, Parliament ruled supreme under the leadership of Oliver Cromwell.
    Throughout all these events the Bible played an absolutely central role. The Puritans were obsessed with the book. They came to identify their political struggle against Charles with that of the ancient Hebrews against Pharaoh or the King of Babylon. Because they identified so strongly with ancient Israel, they chose overwhelmingly to identify with the Old Testament, which of course is the Hebrew Bible. They read it everywhere, studied Hebrew and even gave their children Hebrew names. Cromwell's "New Model Army" marched into battle singing Psalms and carrying banners embroidered with the Lion of Judea; their battle cry was "The Lord God of Hosts."
    One has merely to read the writings of the great Puritan poet, John Milton (1608-1674) to appreciate the all-pervasive influence of the Hebrew Bible on the Puritan world view:
    There is no song comparable to the song of Zion; no oration equal to those of the prophets; and no politics like those which scripture teach. (3)

    An interesting side benefit of the Puritan obsession with the Bible was the rapid rise in the rate of literacy. Throughout human history literacy was a luxury out of most peoples reach and often deliberately withheld by the ruling class. But since the Puritans believed that people should use the Bible to connect directly to God, then that meant that those people had to be literate. So the need to have direct access to the Bible led to a significant rise in the literacy rates in England and other Protestant states.
    Although Puritan domination of England did not survive the death of Cromwell in 1658, it did leave a lasting legacy of political reform not only to England, but to the rest of Europe as well. Puritans and other Protestant splinter sects would also play a crucial role in the political and religious formation of America which is the next chapter of our story.
    Sivan, Gabriel, "The Bible and Civilization", Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House, 1973, p. 174.
    Dillenberger John and Welch, Claude, "Protestant Christianity: Interpreted Through Its Development", New York: Charles Scribner and Sons, 1954, p. 68.
    Sivan, p. 70.

  • 大南瓜

    大南瓜 (常乐我净) 2008-10-11 01:38:47


  • Menucha

    Menucha (מנוחה) 2008-10-11 16:43:44

    Now that we have seen the powerful religious, moral and political influence that the Bible had on Europe, it's time to travel across the Atlantic to America for the fascinating conclusion to our story.

    Just as the United States occupies a singular position in history as the only country founded as a democracy, it also has a unique status as the country most-influenced by the Bible in history.


    Many of the earliest colonists who settled on the north-east coast of America in early 17th century were Protestant refugees escaping religious persecutions in Europe. The first were the so-called "Pilgrims" -- Protestant-British settlers who founded the colony on Plymouth Rock in New England. They were followed by many thousands who arrived in the New World in subsequent years.


    Well into the 18th century, America continued to be not only the land of opportunity for many people seeking a better life, but also the land of religious tolerance.


    The majority of the earliest settlers were Puritans from England. Like their cousins back home, these American Puritans strongly identified with both the historical traditions and customs of the ancient Hebrews of the Old Testament. They viewed their emigration from England as a virtual re-enactment of the Jewish exodus from Egypt: England was Egypt, the king was Pharaoh, the Atlantic Ocean their Red Sea, America was the Land of Israel, and the Indians were the ancient Canaanites. They were the new Israelites, entering into a new covenant with God in a new Promised Land. (1)


    Most of the early legislation of the colonies of New England was determined by Scripture.


    These settlers found themselves in a New World which had no existing laws or government. Their first task, therefore, was to create a legal framework for their communities and the first place they looked for guidance was the Hebrew Bible. Thus most of the early legislation of the colonies of New England was determined by Scripture. The most extreme example was the Connecticut Code of 1650 which created a form of fundamentalist government based almost entirely on Mosaic law using numerous citations from the Bible. The same held true for the code of New Haven and many other colonies. (2)


    At the first assembly of New Haven in 1639, John Davenport clearly declared the primacy of the Bible as the legal and moral foundation of the colony:

    1639年new haven会议john davenport清楚声明圣经的第一权威是新世界法律和道德的基础:

    "Scriptures do hold forth a perfect rule for the direction and government of all men in all duties which they are to perform to God and men as well as in the government of families and commonwealth as in matters of the church ... the Word of God shall be the only rule to be attended unto in organizing the affairs of government in this plantation." (3)


    Puritan obsession with the Bible led them to try and incorporate many aspects of the Jewish commandments into their lifestyle based on their literal interpretation of Hebraic laws (which did not always agree with the Jewish interpretation nor with Jewish practice). One of the most significant was the concept of the Sabbath as a day of rest and meditation. Puritan Sabbath observance began at sundown and no work of any kind, even household chores, was allowed for the next 24-hours. Sabbath observance was strictly monitored by local officials.


    Thanksgiving which has evolved into a national day of feasting and celebration was initially conceived by the Pilgrims, in 1621, as day similar to the Jewish Day of Atonement -- Yom Kippur, a day of fasting, introspection and prayer.


    This Puritan focus on the Bible and individual responsibility had an even more significant impact on literacy in the American colonies than in England. All towns in New England with a minimum of 50 households were required by law to establish schools and appoint teachers. Universities were established and many printing presses were imported. This subject we shall examine in the next installment.



    SOURCES 引用:

    Sivan, Gabriel, The Bible and Civilization, Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House, 1973, p. 236.
    Katsh, Abraham I., The Biblical Heritage of American Democracy, New York: Ktav Publishing House, Inc., 1977, Chapter 3 & 5.
    Katsh, p. 97.

  • Menucha

    Menucha (מנוחה) 2008-10-11 23:32:46

    The influence of the Bible was not just limited to the Puritan colonies of New England. During this early period of American history numerous colleges and universities were established under the auspices of various Protestant sects: Harvard, Yale, William and Mary, Rutgers, Princeton, Brown, Kings College (Columbia), Johns Hopkins, Dartmouth, etc.

    圣经的影响不限於清教徒。美国初期历史无数大学是由不同的基督教派别建立的。哈佛,耶鲁,William and Mary, Rutgers, Princeton, Brown, Kings College (Columbia), Johns Hopkins, Dartmouth, 等。

    A major function of many of these institutions was to graduate ministers and pastors to teach the Bible to the Native Americans and convert them to Christianity. Thus the Bible played a central role in the curriculum of all of these institutions of higher learning with both Hebrew and Bible studies required courses.


    Many of these colleges adopted some Hebrew word or phrase as part of their official emblem or seal, and so popular was the Hebrew Language in the 18th century that several students at Yale delivered their commencement orations in Hebrew.


    At the time of the American Revolution, the interest in the knowledge of Hebrew was so widespread as to allow the circulation of the story that "certain members of Congress proposed that the use of English be formally prohibited in the United States, and Hebrew substituted for it." (1)


    Without a doubt the political development of America was also strongly influenced by Jewish ideas communicated through the Bible. Many of the population, including a significant number of the Founding Fathers of America, were products of American universities. The majority of these political leaders were not only well acquainted with the contents of both the New and Old Testaments, but also had a working knowledge of Hebrew. This exposure to the Bible colored not only their religion and ethics, but also their politics.


    Just as the Puritans of England and America saw themselves as modern-day Israelites, bound by covenant to God and in search of religious freedom so too did the these Founding Fathers adopt the same Biblical motifs for political reasons -- the struggle of the ancient Israelites against the wicked Pharaoh or the evil king of Babylon came to embody the struggle of the colonist against English tyranny.


    Numerous examples can be found which clearly illustrate to what a significant extent the political struggles of the colonies was identified with the ancient Hebrews:

    The first design for the official seal of the United States recommended by Franklin, Adams and Jefferson in 1776 depicts the Jews crossing the Red Sea. The motto around the seal read: "REBELLION TO TYRANTS IS OBEDIENCE TO GOD."


    The inscription on the Liberty Bell at Independence Hall in Philadelphia is a direct quote from Leviticus 25:10: "Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof."

    在 遍 地 给 一 切 的 居 民 宣 告 自 由 。

    Patriotic pamphlets and speeches during the period of the struggle for independence were often infused with Biblical motifs and references to the Bible. Thus Benjamin Rush, in denouncing the Tea Act, wrote: "What shining examples of patriotism do we behold in Joshua, Samuel, Maccabees and all the illustrious princes, captains and prophets among the Jews."

    爱国主义册子和演讲把独立斗争和圣经宗旨相连。本杰明在tea act中宣告:“我们所高举的约书亚,撒母耳,马加比,以及我们所高举的犹太杰出的王子们,首领们,先知们是何等荣耀。”

    While many of the ideas incorporated by the framers of the Declaration of Independence reflect the influence of Enlightenment philosophy, there is no doubt that the concept of an absolute standard of morality based on the authority God is a central pillar of American democracy. Nowhere is this more evident than in the opening sentences of the Declaration of Independence:


    "We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."


    The language of the Bill of Rights (1789) also echoes themes and ethical concepts from the Bible. And the notion of a "solemn agreement of the people" is a clear reference to the Biblical idea of covenant.


    And so it is that with the birth of American democracy that we have the next milestone in the process of the spread of Jewish ideas in civilization. For the first time in history Jewish ethical ideas were legally enshrined into the laws of a non-Jewish nation.


    Aside from its early formative influence on American democracy, the Bible continued to play a significant cultural and ethical role in American society throughout the 18th century. Even in the darkest hours of American history the Bible has shone forth as the major inspiration to the American people.


    In 1863, after the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil war (1861-65), President Lincoln gave one of the most stirring speeches in American history, the Gettysburg address. Lincoln concluded his speech with an almost word-for-word repetition of John Wycliffe's 14th century dedication to his English translation of the Bible:

    1863年,美国内战盖茨堡战役,林肯总统发表了美国历史上最激动人心的演讲,就是盖茨堡致辞。林肯逐字逐句重复了14世纪John Wycliffe献身圣经英语翻译的用词:

    "... this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall nor perish from the earth."


    Possibly the best testament to the centrality of the Bible in American life was delivered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in a 1935 radio address:


    "We cannot read the history of our rise and development as a nation, without reckoning with the place the Bible has occupied in shaping the advances of the Republic ... where we have been truest and most consistent in obeying its precepts, we have attained the greatest measure of contentment and prosperity." (2)


    SOURCES 引用:

    Katsh, Abraham I., The Biblical Heritage of American Democracy, New York: Ktav Publishing House, Inc., 1977, p. 70.

    Sivan, Gabriel, The Bible and Civilization, Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House, 1973, p. 178


    Cremin, Lawrence A., American Education: The Colonial Experience 1607-1783, New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1970.

    Innes, Stephen, Creating the Commonwealth: The Economic Culture of Puritan New England, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1995

    Katsh, Abraham I., The Biblical Heritage of American Democracy, New York: Ktav Publishing House, Inc., 1977

    Sivan, Gabriel, The Bible and Civilization, Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House, 1973

  • Menucha

    Menucha (מנוחה) 2008-10-14 00:23:25



  • 大南瓜

    大南瓜 (常乐我净) 2008-10-14 00:30:50



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