The Influence of Bible on Western Literature
It is well known that in western countries Christianity is the main type of religion, which has an enormous effect on western culture and western literature. In present times, the Bible is often labeled as a " Western book" and is considered a part of western culture. The Bible has been a permanent fixture in American culture since the beginning of the European settlement of North America. A few random facts are enough to suggest the dimensions of the Bible's presence in our early history. I think Bible not only affects western literature, but also in other fields but the literature absorbs the most. Besides this, the western culture is often seen as heritages from the Bible civilizations, in which course we explore the Bible's impact as literature--both in the study of the literature qualities of the Bible itself and in the analysis of the Bible's influence on subsequent works of literature and philosophy. We can see this from many aspects.
First of all, religion always has a great influence on literature. All around the world, almost every parts of the earth has been strongly affected by religion. As we all know, western countries are especially influenced by the Bible. Biblical stories are often the themes of western masterpieces, which then of course would contain biblical figures, especially during the Renaissance. For example, some famous paintings such as "The Last Supper" of Leonard da Vinci, "Deposition of Christ" of Raphael Sanzio, the fresco painting of the Sistine Chapel's ceiling Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni and so on. In history many works are inspired by people's beliefs and reflected their religious life as well and spreaded their thoughts. The Bible, as a classic of Christianity, has permeated into all parts of social life in UK and the USA. Its attraction can be seen in a large number of literal works. The Genesis, the Christ, the Fates of the Apostles are all based on the resources of the Bible. The great poet Milton' s famous work --Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes created during the British revolution also came from the Bible.
Then I will take some famous writers for example.
Shakespeare: Shakespeare' s comedy--<Measure for Measure> is a biblically inspired allegory of justice, showing that as God authorize political officials to maintain order and dispense human justice. Men must be careful never to mistake human justice for divine justice. Moreover, as Original Sin precludes the possibility of perfect human justice, mercy becomes a necessary part of a virtuous political order. Ultimately, <Measure for Measure> demonstrates that only God's Final Judgment at the end of the world can completely realize the Spirit of the Law.
Joyce: James Joyce' s autobiographical novel <A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man> describes the flowering and waning of Joyce' s attachment to Catholicism. Stephen Dedalus (the Joyce figure) negotiates a psychic maze from his earliest schoolboy days to his spiritual emancipation and exile from Ireland. For Stephen, art serves as a substitute for religion and thus he develops a new kind of spirituality unconfined by Catholic tradition.
Dante: The problem of how to represent sin sympathetically without treating vice as virtue was one of the great challenges that Dante overcame in the Divine