thumbnail of Light unto my path; The Bible
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
Light unto my path. I shall light a candle of understanding in dying heart which shall not be put out. Light unto my path. An exploration of the books of the Old Testament. From these books through the ages has come our concept of man born in the image of God and made to have dominion over all things.
The Bible is the record of man's understanding of the role of the divine. Human life. We know examined that record. When it was written how it was preserved and why it ranks first in our literature. Light unto my path produced by radio station WAGA of the University of Wisconsin under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. These programs are planned and prepared by Dr. Menachem Mansoor chairman of the department of Hebrew and Semitic Studies at the University of Wisconsin. Professor Mansoor. In June 1953 many Americans watched with fascination the adenovirus proceedings of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth the Second. Here was all the pomp and glory of a powerful
kingdom and the traditional ceremonies of crowning a monarch. It was a political but also a religious ceremony. And at one point in the service the queen was given a book. The Archbishop of Canterbury pronounced these words our gracious Queen. To keep your Majesty ever mindful of the law and the gospel of God as the rule for the whole life in government we present you with this book. The most valuable thing that this world affords. Then the moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland added this definition here is wisdom. This is the royal law. These are the lively oracles of God. The book was of course the Bible and the moderators definition and the pronouncement of the Archbishop. Were no mere echoing of an empty ceremony. They are meaningful
words meaningful today as for centuries past. And the book they refer to so far exceeds all other books. It may truly be called the most valuable thing this world affords. In this series of broadcasts we shall add our words to the many words that have been said about the Bible and shall explore it in detail. Why. Because it is the cornerstone of the rule for the whole life in government not only for the Queen of England but for our own nation and indeed for all lands that we call Western civilization. It is the rule in the lives of each of us its influence penetrates All Fears of life political social cultural and of course religious. It cuts across all economic classes across barriers of language and of geography. It is intimately interwoven with history and our heritage from the
past. It illuminates our goals of thinking and action toward the future. We all are influenced by and responsive to the Bible. Yet how many of us can say with confidence that we know the Bible. As children we first were aware of it perhaps as the big black book there rather or some black book on the table at home where Grandfather showed us the family names written down in the front pages. Elizabeth-Jane. Born to John in Mary February 3 1950 Alyssa put Jean that's me. And remember grandfather reading stories from that book. The story of Noah and the ark and the rainbow. The story of David and Goliath of that era in the Lion's Den. Then as we grew older we learned Bible verses in Sunday School Thou shall have no other gods
before me. Thou shall not make unto thee any graven image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven. And there were difficult words to learn from the Bible and difficult ideas puzzling ideas. Job was afflicted with lol some sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his hand and then his wife said to him Do you still hold fast to your integrity. Cursed God in Thai. We have not truly explored the Bible in depth. We have lost our way in the intricacies of its compilation and we have only a vague impression of how to describe it. We may still feel overwhelmed by its size and complexity is inhibited by our childhood impressions of its difficulties. It is our hope to offer guidance and smooth the way for a closer acquaintance with the Bible. And this series of broadcasts. Our approach is that of the Bible
student and scholar. Concerned with background information and then organize approach to reading the Bible. We shall find it not as sad and a small book as the black cover may indicate but a rich and dramatic tapestry of human experience the lives of daring man and brave women love and adventure poetry and wisdom kings and battles and indescribable moving experiences the inspiring experiences of men in search of God and the essence of being their lives and their faith which directed their lives is the universal substance of the Bible and its message comes to us across the centuries in beautiful and vivid writing which is alive and as compelling today as when it first was written. But we recognize the Bible first and foremost as a sacred book. The
Old Testament of the heroes which in turn has given rise to the religions of Christianity and Islam. Yet what makes the Bible a sacred book. Was it such right from the time it was written and when was it written by whom and where. Quite simply we can say that the Bible is not one book but a collection of many books some very short very long. The first were drafted about 3000 years ago. They lost nearly 900 years ago. Many authors did the writing and all sprang from one very small but gifted people in the ancient Mediterranean world. The Hebrew people. The collection of books which make up one book The Old Testament of the Bible tells how these people found the meaning of human existence and the concept of a universal God. The Bible tells how God
revealed himself to this people and through them to all mankind. This is the theme which unites all the books of the Old Testament. To describe the Bible we must first describe these people the Hebrews history which is given and the Bible begins traditionally with Abraham the patriarch from whom came Isaac Jacob and the twelve sons of Jacob the best known of whom was Joseph the boy with the Coat of Many Colors whom his brothers sold in slavery to Egypt. These were the Hebrew fathers in Genesis 35 10. It is recorded that Jacob's name was changed to Israel. Hence the Israelites the children of Israel and the land of Israel. And God said to him no longer shall your name be called Jacob but Israel shall be your name. And God said to him I am
God Almighty be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations shall come from you and kings shall spring from you the land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac. I will give to you and to your descendants after you. What was the land where the Hebrews settled. We would wish at this point to have Nelson's Atlas of the Bible by grow Limburg or the Westminster Atlas of the Bible by Wright and Filson. We would find that the modern state of Israel together with the Kingdom of Jordan cover what was the original land of the heroes. Here they came after Moses led them out of Egypt to the land of Canaan as it is called in the Bible. When it became the Hebrews homeland they called it The Land of Israel with Jerusalem its capital since the time of David. Still later the kingdom was divided into Israel in the north and in the
south. An early Christian times. Palestine was used to designate the whole area a name taken from the people called Philistines who occupied the plain along the coast in the very earliest days recorded in the Bible. The whole area of Palestine today as an engine times is a narrow bridge of land between two great continents. Briefly then these were the people of the Old Testament. And this was their engine plant. In future programs we shall hear much more of them and of the times in their history when the sacred books of Scripture were written. In this our introductory view let us sketch just briefly the problem of which books were written when and by whom and how the books all came together in the form we now have them. The beginnings of the Bible must have been long before the writings were actually made
when they were written down. It was on scrolls made of animals can written in the Hebrew language except for bits of the later books of Daniel and Ezra which are written in Aramaic Biblical Hebrew is a script in which the letters are square in shape and are written from right to left. The words have no vowels. The reader has to decide what vowel should go between the consonants. Thus as Professor Miller borrows a few sais How would you read the consonants B and D. B and D. What vowels should we read with them. And where is it. B a d be d be Id be a d be a d be Id be U D A B I D or A B O D.
Sometimes it's very difficult for scholars to decide and that is not all in engine biblical script. There was no division between words. Not only must the reader divide the consonants with vowels but must also decide what to do with each set of letters to make word divisions concern for these problems began as early as the sixth century A.D. when Jewish scholars started to develop a system of dots and dashes to indicate valid sounds. These dots and dashes were placed above or below or within the letters of the simple consonant old text. The work absorbed scholars for centuries and was not really completed until the tenth century. The collecting of the writings and the compilations of the texts into the Old Testament form we now have was also the work of many men and many ages. It's not a simple matter of all the history being
gathered together here. All the prophets there are all the poetry in one section all the wisdom literature and another the interweaving sophistry and prophecy of the law and history of stories and poetry of poetry and prophecy. There are even different accounts of the same historical events and so-called inconsistences in the biblical texts. These are nothing but a reflection of the different periods of writing and of changes in their understanding of what was sacred from time to time. Furthermore spending the long growth of a people toward deeper awareness of spiritual values as the Bible does. The book shows the change in Hebrew faith. We can trace its emergence from the worship of a purely tribal god to an all embracing universal. It's also national faith. Throughout this progress books were
canonized into the Holy Scriptures as the times demanded their appeal being patriotic literary or devotional. It is not static nor is it a record of perfection unlike writings of other ancient people whose better TISM was their chief concern and whose writings sound boastful and exaggerated. They all Testament writings records all the human experiences good and evil light and shadow. Success and failure. It does not hide the sins of the great nor excuse the mistakes of Israel. It offers a panorama of a people struggling up out of darkness and the struggle includes sometimes failure despair and defeat. We cannot discuss it primarily as an historical or literary work though we shall explore this aspect further in another program. But we
must approach it basically in all our discussions as first and last a religious work divinely inspired. How that inspiration appeared in the lives of the very human Hebrews of old is the amazing story contained in the books of the Old Testament. In its final form the Jewish Bible had twenty four books. There were three major parts to the collection. The first was the law or Pentecost yoke. The most holy Torah comprising the Five Books of Moses. The essence of this part is the law which is enclosed in a framework of history that tells of the life of Moses from God's call to him from the burning bush until Moses death as the children of Israel are about to cross over the Jordan to the land of Canaan. The life of Moses is preceded by an introductory history from the creation of the world.
You will find the books of the Torah or the printer joke at the beginning of your Bible Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy. The second major division of the Jewish Old Testament are the sacred books of the prophets. All the prophets are subdivided into two groups. The first covers the period from the death of Moses to the fall of Jerusalem. When the people were carried into captivity in Babylon in 5 8 6 B.C. These are called the former prophets. The books of Joshua Judges Samuel and Kings the second subdivision is called The latter prophets. Three whose writings were extensive Zaya Jeremiah and Ezekiel plus 12 small books of prophets from Amos to Molokai and lastly they all Testaments the third section
which is called the kid to be or the inspired writings. These cannot be given a chronological listing. They are the books of Psalms Proverbs job. The five scrolls Song of Songs Ruth lamentations Ecclesiastes these and Esther the books of Daniel Ezra Nehemiah and Chronicles. The English Bibles both the Protestant and the Catholic have a slightly different order than the books of the Hebrew Bible. The Catholic bible also includes some books which were not contained in the Hebrew Bible. A group of writings known as the Apocrypha which shall devote an entire broadcast to these books which were written and carefully preserved by the Jews like the other books of the Bible but were hidden away rather than included in the official collection called the Canon.
This warthe Canon needs to be defined as we shall use it often and Bible study Canon according to Webster from the Greek meaning a straight rod or read in general a principle accepted as true fundamental. A critical standard a criterion. In its widest sense we speak of the canon of the Old Testament as those books which were found to be up to the standard for inclusion in the holiest of scriptures. The term canon is of Christian origin as far as we know it was used for the first time by a bishop in Asia Minor and the fourth century A.D.. This canon of the Old Testament the twenty four books just named in the Jewish Bible was the collection of writings in the order given which Jesus was taught as a as a child and which he used in his teaching. We shall
hear more of this in our next broadcast. Exactly when each book was written and when they arrived at this final order in the form we know them are questions of scholarly dispute. There are two schools of thought the traditional and the critical. Let us consider the traditional school first since after all the Bible is the product of a thousand years of sacred traditions learned rabbis writing the Jewish town what our commentary on the Bible make this statement which appears to be quoting a still more ancient source. Moses wrote his own book and Samuel wrote his own book as well as judges and Ruth David wrote the book of Psalms incorporating the production of ten elders. Jeremiah wrote his own book The Book of Kings and lamentations Hezekiah and his company wrote a desire and King Solomon wrote Proverbs the Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes to ease the men of the Great Synagogue wrote
Ezekiel the twelve minor prophets. Daniel and Esther Ezra wrote his own book and the genealogies of the Book of Chronicles including his own. The traditional view is that the process of making the Bible was a matter of continuous addition Evidently the traditional scholar places the time of Ezra or about the 5th century B.C. as the period when the collecting of scriptures or the Canon came to its final and complete. And this view has the advantage of giving an answer to all questions of authorship in the Bible. Unfortunately these answers have not been able to satisfy all scholars and it is not only modern American critics I am referring to as far back as the eleventh century A.D. a Jewish scholar in Cordova whose name was Moses IBN. She quickly began to doubt the traditional authorship
of the book. He noted that the latter part of the book from Chapter 40 to the end reflected a knowledge of history beyond a life time. And he felt this could not be simply attributed to the prophetic gifts of a hundred years later the famous even as RAH made a cautious suggestion which even so brought a denunciation from traditional scholars. Namely that some parts of the Five Books of Moses seem to have been written well after the death of Moses. This gave food for thought to generations of Bible critics coming after even as rest time. Among them the philosopher spinouts and the critic a stroke who has been described as the father of scientific Bible criticism. We note however that a stroke himself believed in the authenticity of them was a authorship of the Penta joke.
Of course among critics there is much disagreement and therefore we cannot weld their opinions into a single theory of the origin and the authorship of the Bible. There remains the question of when the various books of the Penta joke were linked together. The critical view would place it in the period after the Jews had gone into exile in Babylon and after the return to Zion to rebuild the temple and the nation. A group of priestly scribes produced what we would now describe as the Priestly Code linking the traditional books of Moses together. That's the scholarly critics would place the completion of this part of the Bible but not the whole Old Testament at about the fifth century B.C.. We find similar views about the prophets section of the Jewish bible prior to the exile suggesting that it was edited into its final
form several generations after the lifetime of the prophets. Of course with the latter prophets do we encounter enormous difficulties these prophets of old did not speak from prepared scripts. They spoke in the streets and market places. Their words were heard and remembered. And when they were finally written down they were necessarily some discrepancies more over of the order in which their books were arranged was not based on chronology but on size. The largest three books placed first and the shorter ones following. The third part of the Scriptures called the inspired writings is really the most composition of all as we will see in future broadcast on individual books. There must have been considerable controversy about some of them and uncertainty for a time as to whether they should be included in the canon. It was made possible by a growing understanding of the
need to preserve a larger variety of writings than just those about the law and prophecy. That's the Psalms and Proverbs were kept for us and we shall discuss their authorship at length another time. There is needless to say literal advantage in weighing the merits of the traditional and critical points of view. We would not have the Bible at all were it not for the age old love and reverence which so carefully preserved it and transmitted it through the through the centuries intact. The attitude shared by Jews and Christians which may be described as dogmatic. Millions of people today share this conviction that the Bible represents the actual dictation of the work of God to man and that throughout history God at certain moments chose certain men to receive His divine message word for word from this conviction has sprang heroic sacrifice as at the
time of the burning of the Second Temple in Jerusalem when the Jews abandoned everything else to the flames. In order to save the Bible alone this was the real treasure of the temple and as such a treasure. The Bible has been defended protected and preserved throughout the ages. In our next broadcast we shall see the devotion of some of the men who are responsible for preserving the Bible texts we have today. And we shall see the role of the Old Testament in the years of Jesus ministry and the beginnings of the Christian church. In this and in other programs of the series ahead of us we shall hope to awaken new interest in the Bible and to dispel some of the difficulties that may seem to cluster about the big black book which is the heritage of us all. The time has come for the modern world to reclaim the Bible we have lost touch with it to our
infinite hurt and great loss. As a cornerstone of our Western civilization. We have tended to honor it rather than to understand it. As Voltaire said a hundred and fifty years ago the Bible is more celebrated than known and that is still true today. It is a great library of classics a classic is not a book which belongs on the shelf but a book which is perpetually modern vibrantly alive speaking a message of universal concern to man in words of universal power compelling and lightning. These are the words and the message that we shall explore together in the weeks ahead. Lights unto my path. Radio programs exploring the Old Testament. The series is planned prepared and narrated by Dr Menachem Mansoor chairman of the department of Hebrew and Semitic Studies at the University of Wisconsin.
Script writing by Jane Helen Stanley. Music by Don vaguely. Production by Carl Smith. Light unto my path is produced by radio station WAGA of the University of Wisconsin under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the end of the Radio Network.
Light unto my path
The Bible
Producing Organization
University of Wisconsin
WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-7m042n09).
Episode Description
This program opens the series and discusses the Bible and its cultural and spiritual importance.
Series Description
This series explores the books of the Old Testament, how they were written, how they were preserved, and why they continue to have influence.
Broadcast Date
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Composer: Voegeli, Don
Host: Grauer, Ben
Producing Organization: University of Wisconsin
Producing Organization: WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Production Manager: Schmidt, Karl
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 60-50-1 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:40
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Light unto my path; The Bible,” 1960-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 4, 2023,
MLA: “Light unto my path; The Bible.” 1960-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 4, 2023. <>.
APA: Light unto my path; The Bible. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from