An Amazing Book
THE Bible is an amazing book. This was also the opinion of the famous Italian critic, Francesco de Sanctis, who filled the office of Minister of Public Education in the government of Cavour and who wrote: “I had never read the Bible, nor had the students. With an attitude of indifference mixed with contempt, that then prevailed regarding religious items, the Bible, as the Word of God, created sarcasm. I read here and there the marvels of this book, as evidence of its powerful eloquence, and, drawn by the theme of my lessons, I cast a glance at the book of Job. I was stupefied. In my classical studies I found nothing comparable to its greatness. I brought my impressions immediately to school. I had already given a lesson on the origin of evil and the meaning of this book, and this had gained rapt attention. But when I read the entire book, my feelings and my admiration overwhelmed everyone. With this enthusiasm, we plunged into these studies. Greatly enjoyed were the Canticles, a Psalm of David, in which the contemplation of the creation sustains the power and the greatness of the Creator, and some of the Lamentations of Jeremiah. For us it was like a journey in some unknown and distant lands, strange to us. With the enthusiasm of novices, we forgot our classics, even Homer, and for several months nothing was heard except the Bible. . . . I marvel that in our schools, where so many frivolous things are read, Bible anthology has not penetrated.”—La Bibbia nel giudizio di illustri Italiani (The Bible According to Illustrious Italians), by Augusto Jahier, page 34.