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There's always a problem with judging artistic works from different time periods. Shakespeare might be better than the Bible, but Shakespeare would not exist without the Bible. The Bible is an 'influence', as we would call it in indie music. Sure, you might not enjoy listening to Can all the time (witness the terrible "Drunk and Hot Girls" on the new Kanye West album), but Can's influence is seen throughout experimental music. So you don't diss Can either, or you'll lose all your cred. In the same way, the Bible's historical period gives it value, because it created so much cultural motion and thought. I think this is a deeper point than mere 'renown'. It's not even that the Bible is necessarily an 'innovative' literary work. It's that, rightly or wrongly, people thought it was deep and exciting stuff and copied and wrote about it until, rightly or wrongly, it became important. But that's how all art becomes art.

The Bible has a bunch of beautiful metaphors/parables in the New Testament, and beautiful poetry in the Old Testament. I think Job is an excellent literary work for its time, as is Ecclesiastes for its time. Hell, Ecclesiastes is an important literary work for any time, and should be required reading for anyone educated, IMO.

And what on Earth makes you think that a neutral reading of the Bible is easy if you're not a Christian? Are you saying that anti-Christian biases do not exist?

I don't think a neutral search is at all the right metaphor, as art's historical nature is inescapable. Plato isn't good because a modern reader finds it immediately appealing when compared to other books, or because it is the deepest philosophy ever, it's good because of its place in the history of thought.

I like a lot of your posts about religion, by the way. I only comment to argue. But keep up the good work.