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From the Greek biblia, meaning books. In Hebrew TaNaKh, meaning Torah, Prophets, Writings. The Hebrew Bible came to have many names: the Holy Scriptures, the Book of Books, the Old Testament, Divine Revelation.

Canon. Sometime during the 1st century, the final decision was made as to which sacred books were to be considered part of the biblical canon, also known as the Holy Scriptures. The word “canon,” meaning standard, that was applied by scholars to the holy books, comes from the Greek kanones, meaning models of excellence.

Influence of the Bible. For Jews, the Bible has been the source of life, growth, and survival. They read in it the record of their people’s spiritual progress, from Abraham, the first to reject polytheism, to the prophets’ momentous vision of God as the loving Father of all creation. When the Jews were expelled from Palestine and became wanderers, the Bible became a way of life and a Jewish “portable homeland.”

The influence of the Bible was not limited to Judaism, but has extended to two other religions: Christianity and Islam. Mohammed, the creator of Islam, was so deeply influenced by the Bible that at first he thought of himself as a new prophet of Judaism. His mind was so filled with biblical stories that he traced his descent to Ishmael, son of Abraham and Hagar. The theology of the Koran, the sacred book of Islam, shows Mohammed’s debt to the Bible and to Judaism. As Mohammedanism spread, the Bible influenced many people in the East.

Christianity took over the Hebrew Bible and added the New Testament. As Western civilization took shape, it absorbed the Hebrew Old Testament ideas. Biblical ideas

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