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PREFACE

PROBABLY no one has ever completed a piece of work without the most profound misgivings as to its value. When a writer has been engaged for a long time in the details of a book, it is very difficult to put it away from himself and regard it objectively, as though he had had no hand in its production. In the present case certain criticisms are, of course, obvious. The general scheme may be objected to, or if that is considered praiseworthy, the method in which it is worked out may be held to be deserving of censure. Of course, there are serious and reverent students who dislike any process that seems to tamper with the text of Holy Scripture. To such, naturally, the present book will make no appeal.

With much hesitation I have used the title The Literary Man's Bible, because it more exactly explains than any other the purpose I have in view. There is an implied assumption in the title which I do not like. Doubtless it savours somewhat of arrogance to pretend an ability to select some passages rather than others as representative of a higher literary value. But what I should like the reader to understand is that throughout I concern myself with the Old Testament purely as literature, and that a treatment which would be unpardonable so long as the Bible is regarded as a religious manual may possibly be excused if the standpoint throughout is concerned with the character of Hebraic documents, emanating from a race which was admirably fitted to give us

RICHARD CLAY & SONS, LIMITED, BREAD STREET HILL, E.C., AND

BUNGAY, SUffolk,

107650

PREFACE

PROBABLY no one has ever completed a piece of work without the most profound misgivings as to its value. When a writer has been engaged for a long time in the details of a book, it is very difficult to put it away from himself and regard it objectively, as though he had had no hand in its production. In the present case certain criticisms are, of course, obvious. The general scheme may be objected to, or if that is considered praiseworthy, the method in which it is worked out may be held to be deserving of censure. Of course, there are serious and reverent students who dislike any process that seems to tamper with the text of Holy Scripture. To such, naturally, the present book will make no appeal.

With much hesitation I have used the title The Literary Man's Bible, because it more exactly explains than any other the purpose I have in view. There is an implied assumption in the title which I do not like. Doubtless it savours somewhat of arrogance to pretend an ability to select some passages rather than others as representative of a higher literary value. But what I should like the reader to understand is that throughout I concern myself with the Old Testament purely as literature, and that a treatment which would be unpardonable so long as the Bible is regarded as a religious manual may possibly be excused if the standpoint throughout is concerned with the character of Hebraic documents, emanating from a race which was admirably fitted to give us

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PREFACE

PROBABLY no one has ever completed a piece of work without the most profound misgivings as to its value. When a writer has been engaged for a long time in the details of a book, it is very difficult to put it away from himself and regard it objectively, as though he had had no hand in its production. In the present case certain criticisms are, of course, obvious. The general scheme may be objected to, or if that is considered praiseworthy, the method in which it is worked out may be held to be deserving of censure. Of course, there are serious and reverent students who dislike any process that seems to tamper with the text of Holy Scripture. To such, naturally, the present book will make no appeal.

With much hesitation I have used the title The Literary Man's Bible, because it more exactly explains than any other the purpose I have in view. There is an implied assumption in the title which I do not like. Doubtless it savours somewhat of arrogance to pretend an ability to select some passages rather than others as representative of a higher literary value. But what I should like the reader to understand is that throughout I concern myself with the Old Testament purely as literature, and that a treatment which would be unpardonable so long as the Bible is regarded as a religious manual may possibly be excused if the standpoint throughout is concerned with the character of Hebraic documents, emanating from a race which was admirably fitted to give us

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