The Community of Christ , formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, does not accept the Book of Abraham as canonical, although it was referenced in early church publications. The Strangite branch of the movement does not take an official position on the Book of Abraham. The branch notes, "We know that 'The Book of Abraham' was published in an early periodical as a text 'purporting to be the writings of Abraham' with no indication of its translation process see Times and Seasons, March 1, , and therefore have no authorized position on it.
After Joseph Smith's death, the Egyptian artifacts were in the possession of his mother, Lucy Mack Smith , and she and her son William Smith continued to exhibit the four mummies and associated papyri to visitors. Wood and found their way to the Chicago Museum in about , and were promptly put on display. After the fire, however, it was believed that all the sources for the book had been lost. While the fate of the mummies is unknown, the fragments were passed to Combs' nurse Charlotte Benecke Weaver, who gave them to her daughter, Alice Heusser.
In Heusser approached the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art MMA about purchasing the items; at the time, the museum curators were not interested, but in they changed their mind, and the museum bought the papyri from Heusser's widower husband, Edward.
Hence, already in the Pentateuch the people of Israel were adjured not to ill treat "a fatherless child" Exod. Various prophetical authors of the Old Testament drew on metaphors of childhood to describe Israel's eventual restoration: Israel would suck the milk of nations Isa.
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In Isaiah's vision, "a little child shall lead [the calf and the lion] … the infant shall play over the hole of a cobra, and the young child shall dance over the viper's nest" Isa. Isaiah's infantine image was meant to communicate safety within a mortally threatening environment, but it also communicates a sense of utter vulnerability among the young. Prophetical authors often used metaphors of childhood to convey devastating fear: death "sweeps off the children in the open air" Jer.
Joseph and his brothers generated an enormous literature, both fictional e. The sacrifice of first-born sons in the context of Mediterranean Moloch rituals and requirements in later texts to dedicate a child to God, as well as investigations of birth order comprise the principle research subjects addressed to date.
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Bottigheimer, Ruth B. Hayward, R. Levenson, Jon. Longacre, Robert E. Joseph: A Story of Divine Providence. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns.
Mendelsohn, Isaac. Weinfeld, Moshe. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. No book has influenced American history and culture more than the Bible. For legions of American Protestants, who inherited the Reformation's slogan of "Scripture alone," the English Bible functioned not only as a working text but as the icon of a word-centered piety that supposedly transcended superstition and built religion on solid empirical foundations.
To the extent that Protestants once dominated American religious culture, this veneration of vernacular Scripture influenced other groups, including Roman Catholics and Jews, who published their own biblical translations partly as a statement of their American identity. Indeed, for Americans of many denominations, the Bible was long the wellspring of national mythology, although the prevailing biblical stories and imagery changed with time and circumstance.
The Puritan colonies of seventeenth-century New England were arguably the most biblically saturated culture America has ever known. America in Puritan eyes was the New Israel, although this Old Testament image always coexisted with the New Testament image of the primitive, gathered church, uncorrupted by the accretions of "invented" human traditions. Puritan emphasis on Scripture as the antidote to Catholic "superstition" led to much higher rates of literacy in the New England colonies than in any other part of British America or most of England.
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Probate records reveal that Puritan families who could afford only a few books invariably owned a copy of the Scriptures, either the Geneva Bible a copiously annotated version begun during the reign of Mary Tudor and published in , or the King James, or Authorized, Bible a new translation published in that preserved the verse-numbering system introduced by the Geneva version but eliminated the heavily Calvinist doctrinal glosses.
Even outside of New England, the Bible's influence in the American colonies was considerable. Biblical passages against adultery, blasphemy, sodomy, witchcraft, and other practices influenced legal codes across the American colonies. European settlers also tended to draw on the Bible in the encounter with the Native Americans , whom they variously interpreted as existing in a state of Edenic innocence or as resembling the Canaanites who had to be driven out of the Promised Land.
The first complete Bible printed in America originated in the English encounter with Native Americans. John Eliot 's Indian Bible , a translation into the Massachusett language, was one of a number of non-English Bibles published during the colonial period, including several editions of Luther's German translation, printed in Germantown, Pennsylvania, in the s.
The English Bible was not printed in America until , when the war with England, which curtailed international trade and halted importation of British Bibles, prompted Robert Aitken of Philadelphia to print an American edition of the King James New Testament. The Bible market in the early republic would soon include other English versions as well.
Most Protestant Bibles lacked the Apocrypha, or Deuterocanonical books, which Catholics regarded as authoritative, and Carey's edition filled this void. The Protestant King James Version, however, continued to be required reading in many public schools, leading to periodic conflicts between Catholics and Protestants, especially during the s when large numbers of Catholic immigrants arrived in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and other cities. Riots in Philadelphia in over which Bible to use in the public schools left thirteen people dead and whole blocks of Irish homes in ruins.
Yet the presence of Catholics, and Catholic Bibles, did not deter antebellum American Protestants, who entertained sweeping visions of a Protestant America founded on the rock of Holy Writ. The American Bible Society, founded in by the consolidation of over one hundred local societies, distributed millions of Bibles in successive campaigns to put a copy of the King James Bible in every American home.
Scores of other antebellum reform societies invoked the Scriptures to combat perceived ills such as intemperance and Sabbath breaking. Meanwhile, the Bible was a touchstone for a variety of antebellum religious prophets, from Latter-day Saints founder Joseph Smith , who penned The Book of Mormon in the familiar idiom of the King James Version, to the lay preacher William Miller , who calculated from biblical evidence that the Second Coming of Christ would occur in Perhaps nowhere did the Bible loom larger in the nineteenth century than in the debate over slavery, which revealed as never before the difficulties of forging a universally acceptable civil religion based on Scripture.
As President Abraham Lincoln said of North and South in his second inaugural address, "Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. America instead appeared as Egypt, the land of bondage, which could only be escaped by crossing the " Red Sea of war," as the prominent Brooklyn preacher,. Henry Ward Beecher , put it in a famous sermon. African American Christians used the biblical Exodus motif extensively in preaching, political oratory, and spirituals, even as Southern white supporters of slavery appealed to the "curse of Ham" Genesis as a divine warrant for keeping dark-skinned peoples in perpetual servitude.
The New Testament also admitted of conflicting interpretations on the slavery question. Slavery's opponents frequently invoked Paul's declaration that "there is neither bond nor free … for ye are all one in Jesus Christ" Galatians , while slavery's supporters cited Paul's admonition to servants to "obey in all things your masters" Colossians The exegetical impasse over slavery contributed indirectly to future ideological divisions among American Protestants. On the one hand, it hastened the advent of modern Protestant liberalism, which tended to relativize biblical texts that were not amenable to a progressive ethic.
This liberal theology, in turn, provoked a reaction within Protestant denominations from conservative parties determined to uphold the authority of Scripture as a timeless moral and doctrinal standard. The greatest challenge to traditional biblical authority, however, would come from American colleges and theological seminaries, where a generation of antebellum scholars had pioneered critical biblical studies in America.
After the Civil War , as American scholars looked to the German model of the research university, American biblical studies developed rapidly on two fronts, known popularly as higher and lower criticism. Higher or historical critics tended to question the accuracy of biblical history as well as traditional assumptions about biblical authorship for example, that Moses wrote the Pentateuch.
Among the most celebrated higher critics was Charles Augustus Briggs , who was suspended from the Presbyterian Church in but retained on the faculty of Union Theological Seminary in New York City, which severed its Presbyterian ties because of the affair. Historical criticism also influenced the female authors of The Woman's Bible — , an early feminist Bible commentary whose chief contributor, the woman suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton , argued that the Scriptures "bear the impress of fallible man.
Lower or textual critics were concerned with the most accurate reconstruction of the biblical text from the immense array of surviving manuscript variants. Their work assisted Bible translators, who drew on new manuscript discoveries to improve the English text of Scripture. The Revised Version — , a British American translation and the first major new English Bible since , was a transatlantic publishing sensation that provoked criticism from Americans still committed to the cherished language of the King James Bible.
Opposition to modern translations reached a climax with the Revised Standard Version , which many fundamentalist Protestants vilified as a symbol of the liberal church establishment. By the latter half of the twentieth century, however, the American publishing market was awash in Bibles of every denominational and ideological stripe, even as polls showed relatively low levels of biblical literacy among Americans.
The Bible's continuing influence in twentieth-century American culture was particularly evident in American politics. In crafting his philosophy of nonviolent resistance during the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr. Meanwhile, the U. Supreme Court in outlawed Bible reading in the opening exercises of public schools. This was one of a series of legal cases that helped galvanize political conservatives, who accused liberals of seeking to dethrone Scripture as the standard of American morality. By the s, a powerful new religious right, led by Baptist preacher Jerry Falwell , Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson , and other advocates of biblical norms in public and private morality, helped Ronald Reagan win two terms as president.
The Bible remained a presence in politics at the turn of the twenty-first century, particularly in battles over gay and lesbian rights, with conservatives citing Leviticus and Romans to condemn homosexuality, and liberals echoing biblical refrains about justice and the equality of all persons in Christ. Armory, Hugh, and David D.
Hall, eds. A History of the Book in America. Cambridge, U. Barlow, Philip L. Middletown, Conn.
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Fogarty, Gerald P. The Bible in American Culture. Stanford, Calif. Hatch, Nathan O. Noll, eds. Noll, Mark A.
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