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From Holy Books To Holy Bible: An Itinerary From Ancient Greece To Modern Islam Via Second Temple Judaism And Early Christianity

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Chapter Summary

This chapter traces the origin of the term holy book and investigates when Jews and Christians began to call their authoritative texts holy. The question may seem banal but, strangely enough, none of the many studies on Holy Books or Holy Writings that have appeared in the last century focuses on the problem of the origin and development of the term. In fact, it is common practice to confuse its emic and etic usage in the sense that almost all modern scholars use the expression holy/sacred book also in cases where the original culture does not, and, as a rule, do not differentiate between the two usages. The chapter makes some observations on the origin and development of the term holy book. It then looks at ancient Greece, Egypt, Second Temple Judaism and early and medieval Christianity. It concludes with a few observations on its usage today, contemporary Islam included.

Keywords: authoritative texts; Christianity; Greece; holy Bible; holy books; Islam; Second Temple Judaism



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