From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [1]

a writing composed on some point of knowledge by a person intelligent therein, for the instruction or amusement of the reader. The word is formed from the Gothic boka, or Saxon boc, which comes from the Northern buech, of buechaus, a beech or service tree, on the bark of which our ancestors used to write. Book is distinguished from pamphlet, or single paper, by its greater length; and from tome or volume, by its containing the whole writing on the subject. Isidore makes this distinction between liber and codex; that the former denotes a single book, the latter a collection of several; though, according to Scipio Maffei, codex signifies a book in the square form; liber, a book in the roll form. The primary distinction between liber and codex seems to have been derived, as Dr. Heylin has observed, from the different materials used for writing among the ancients: from the innerside of the bark of a tree, used for this purpose, and called in Latin liber, the name of

liber applied to a book was deduced; and from that tablet, formed from the main body of a tree, called caudex, was derived the appellation of codex.

2. Several sorts of materials were formerly used in making books: stone and wood were the first materials employed to engrave such things upon as men were desirous of having transmitted to posterity. Porphyry makes mention of some pillars preserved in Crete, on which the ceremonies observed by the Corybantes in their sacrifices were recorded. The works of Hesiod were originally written on tables of lead, and deposited in the temple of the Muses in Boeotia. The laws of Jehovah were written on tables of stone, and those of Solon on wooden planks. Tables of wood and ivory were common among the ancients: those of wood, were very frequently covered with wax, that persons might write on them with more ease, or blot out what they had written. And the instrument used to write with was a piece of iron, called a style; and hence the word "style" came to be taken for the composition of the writing. The leaves of the palm-tree were afterward used instead of wooden planks, and the finest and thinnest part of the bark of such trees as the lime, ash, maple, and elm; and especially the tilio, or phillyrea, and Egyptian papyrus. Hence came the word liber, (a book,) which signifies the inner bark of the trees. And as these barks were rolled up in order to be removed with greater ease, each roll was called volumen, a volume; a name afterward given to the like rolls of paper or parchment. From the Egyptian papyrus the word paper is derived. After this, leather was introduced, especially the skins of goats and sheep. For the king of Pergamus, in collecting his library, was led to the invention of parchment made of those skins. The ancients likewise wrote upon linen. Pliny says, the Parthians, even in his time, wrote upon their clothes; and Livy speaks of certain books made of linen, lintei libri, upon which the names of magistrates, and the history of the Roman commonwealth, were written, and preserved in the temple of the goddess Moneta.

3. The materials generally used by the ancients for their books, were liable to be easily destroyed by the damp, when hidden in the earth; and in times of war, devastation, and rapacity, it was necessary to bury in the earth whatever they wished to preserve from the attacks of fraud and violence. With this view, Jeremiah ordered the writings, which he delivered to Baruch, to be put in an earthen vessel, Jeremiah 32. In the same manner the ancient Egyptians made use of earthen urns, or pots of a proper shape, for containing whatever they wanted to inter in the earth, and which, without such care, would have been soon destroyed. We need not wonder then, that the Prophet Jeremiah should think it necessary to inclose those writings in an earthen pot, which were to be buried in Judea, in some place where they might be found without much difficulty on the return of the Jews from captivity. Accordingly two different writings, or small rolls of writing, called books in the original Hebrew, were designed to be inclosed in such an earthen vessel; but commentators have been much embarrassed in giving any probable account of the necessity of two writings, one sealed, the other open; or, as the passage has been commonly understood, the one sealed up, the other left open for any one to read; more especially, as both were to be alike buried in the earth and concealed from every eye, and both were to be examined at the return from the captivity. But the word translated open, in reference to the evidence, or book which was open, (   1 Samuel 3:7;  1 Samuel 3:21;  Daniel 2:19;  Daniel 2:30;  Daniel 10:1 ,) signifies the revealing of future events to the minds of men by a divine agency; and it is particularly used in the book of Esther,  Esther 8:13 , to express a book's making known the decree of an earthly king. Consequently the open book of Jeremiah seems to signify, not its being then lying open or unrolled before them, while the other was sealed up; but the book that had revealed the will of God, to bring back Israel into their own country, and to cause buying and selling of houses and lands again to take place among them. This was a book of prophecy, opening and revealing the future return of Israel, and the other little book, which was ordered to be buried along with it, was the purchase deed.

4. By adverting to the different modes of writing in eastern countries, we obtain a satisfactory interpretation of a passage in the book of   Job 19:23-24 , and a distinct view of the beautiful gradation which is lost in our translation: "O that my words were now written! O that they were printed (written) in a book! that they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!" In the east there is a mode of writing, which is designed to fix words in the memory, but the writing is not intended for duration. Accordingly we are informed by Dr. Shaw, that children learn to write in Barbary by means of a smooth thin board, slightly covered with whiting, which may be wiped off or renewed at pleasure. Job expresses his wish not only that his words were written, but also written in a book, from which they should not be blotted out, nay, still farther, graven in a rock, the most permanent mode of recording them, and especially if the engraved letters were filled with lead; or the rock was made to receive leaden tablets, the use of which was known among the ancients. So Pliny, "At first men wrote on the leaves of palm, and the bark of certain trees, but afterward public documents were preserved on leaden plates, and those of a private nature on wax, or linen."

5. The first books were in the form of blocks and tables, of which we find frequent mention in Scripture, under the appellation sepher, which the Septuagint render αξινες , that is, square tables: of which form the book of the covenant, book of the law, book or bill of divorce, book of curses, &c, appear to have been. As flexible matters came to be written on, they found it more convenient to make their books in form of rolls, called by the Greeks κοντακια , by the Latins volumina, which appear to have been in use among the ancient Jews as well as the Grecians, Romans, Persians, and even Indians; and of such did the libraries chiefly consist, till some centuries after Christ. The form which obtains among us is the square, composed of separate leaves; which was also known, though little used, among the ancients; having been invented by Attalus, king of Pergamus, the same who also invented parchment: but it has now been so long in possession, that the oldest manuscripts are found in it. Montfaucon assures us, that of all the ancient Greek manuscripts he has seen, there are but two in the roll form; the rest being made up much after the manner of the modern books. The rolls, or volumes, were composed of several sheets, fastened to each other, and rolled upon a stick, or umbilicus; the whole making a kind of column, or cylinder, which was to be managed by the umbilicus, as a handle; it being reputed a kind of crime to take hold of the roll itself. The outside of the volume was called frons; the ends of the umbilicus were called cornua, "horns;" which were usually carved and adorned likewise with silver, ivory, or even gold and precious stones. Whilst the Egyptian papyrus was in common use, its brittle nature made it proper to roll up what they wrote; and as this had been a customary practice, many continued it when they used other materials, which might very safely have been treated in a different manner. To the form of books belongs the economy of the inside, or the order and arrangement of points and letters into lines and pages, with margins and other appurtenances.

This has undergone many varieties: at first, the letters were only divided into lines, then into separate words; which, by degrees, were noted with accents, and distributed by points and stops into periods, paragraphs, chapters, and other divisions. In some countries, as among the orientals, the lines began from the right, and ran to the left; in others, as in northern and western nations, from the left to the right; others, as the Grecians, followed both directions alternately, going in the one and returning in the other, called boustrophedon, because it was after the manner of oxen turning when at plough. In the Chinese books, the lines ran from top to bottom. Again: the page in some is entire, and uniform; in others, divided into columns; in others distinguished into texts and notes, either marginal, or at the bottom: usually it is furnished with signatures and catch words; also with a register to discover whether the book be complete. To these are occasionally added the apparatus of summaries, or side notes; the embellishments of red, gold, or figured initial letters, head pieces, tail pieces, effigies, schemes, maps, and the like. The end of the book now denoted by finis, was anciently marked with a coronis, and the whole frequently washed with an oil drawn from cedar, or citron chips, strewed between the leaves to preserve it from rotting. There also occur certain formulae at the beginning and end of books; as among the Jews, the word חזק , esto fortis, which we find at the end of the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Ezekiel, &c, to exhort the reader to be courageous, and proceed on to the following book. The conclusions were also often guarded with imprecations against such as should falsify them; of which we have an instance in the Apocalypse. The Mohammedans, for the like reason, place the name of God at the beginning of all their books, which cannot fail to procure them protection, on account of the infinite regard which they pay to that name, wherever found. For the like reason it is, that divers of the laws of the ancient emperors begin with the formula, In nomine Dei. [In the name of God.] At the end of each book the Jews also added the number of verses contained in it, and at the end of the Pentateuch the number of sections; that it might be transmitted to posterity entire. The Masorites and Mohammedan doctors have gone farther; so as to number the several words and letters in each book, chapter, verse, &c, of the Old Testament and the Alcoran. The scarcity and high price of books in former ages, ought to render us the more grateful for the discovery of the great art of printing, as especially by that means the Holy Bible, "the word of truth and Gospel of our salvation," is made familiar to all classes.

The universal ignorance that prevailed in Europe, from the seventh to the eleventh century, may be ascribed to the scarcity of books during that period, and the difficulty of rendering them more common, concurring with other causes arising from the state of government and manners. The Romans wrote their books either on parchment, or on paper made of the Egyptian papyrus. The latter, being the cheapest, was of course the most commonly used. But after the Saracens conquered Egypt, in the seventh century, the communication between that country and the people settled in Italy, or in other parts of Europe, was almost entirely broken off, and the papyrus was no longer in use among them. They were obliged on that account to write all their books upon parchment; and as the price of that was high, books became extremely rare and of great value. We may judge of the scarcity of materials for writing them from one circumstance. There still remain several manuscripts of the eighth, ninth, and following centuries, written on parchment, from which some former writing had been erased, in order to substitute a new composition in its place. Thus, it is probable, several of the works of the ancients perished. A book of Livy or of Tacitus might be erased, to make room for the legendary tale of a saint, or the superstitious prayers of a missal. Nay, worse instances are recorded, of obliterating copies of the Holy Scriptures to make room for the lucubrations of some of the more modern fathers of the church. Manuscripts thus defaced, the vellum or parchment of which is occupied with some other writings, are called "palimpsests," codices rescripti or palimpsesti, from παλιμψηστος . "that which has been twice scraped." As this want of materials for writing will serve to account for the loss of many of the works of the ancients, and for the small number of MSS. previous to the eleventh century, many facts prove the scarcity of books at this period. Private persons seldom possessed any books whatever; and even monasteries of note had only one missal. In 1299, John de Pontissara, bishop of Winchester, borrows of his cathedral convent of St. Swithin, at Winchester, "bibliam bene glossatam," that is, the Bible, with marginal annotations, in two folio volumes; but gives a bond for the return of it, drawn up with great solemnity. For the bequest of this Bible to the convent, and one hundred marks, the monks founded a daily mass for the soul of the donor. If any person gave a book to a religious house, he believed that so valuable a donation merited eternal salvation, and he offered it on the altar with great ceremony. The prior and convent of Rochester declare, that they will every year pronounce the irrevocable sentence of damnation on him who shall purloin or conceal a Latin translation of Aristotle's Poetics, or even obliterate the title. Sometimes a book was given to a monastery, on condition that the donor should have the use of it for his life; and sometimes to a private person, with the reservation that he who receives it should pray for the soul of his benefactor. In the year 1225, Roger de Insula, dean of York, gave several Latin Bibles to the university of Oxford, on condition that the students who perused them should deposit a cautionary pledge. The library of that university, before the year 1300, consisted only of a few tracts, chained or kept in chests, in the choir of St. Mary's church. The price of books became so high, that persons of a moderate fortune could not afford to purchase them. In the year 1174, Walter, prior of St. Swithin's at Winchester, purchased of the monks of Dorchester, in Oxfordshire, Bede's homilies, and St. Austin's psalter, for twelve measures of barley and a pall, on which was embroidered in silver the history of St. Birinus converting a Saxon king. About the year 1400, a copy of John of Meun's "Roman de la Rose" was sold before the palace gate at Paris for forty crowns, or 33 l . 6 s . 6 d . The countess of Anjou paid, for a copy of the homilies of Haimon, bishop of Halberstadt, two hundred sheep, five quarters of wheat, and the same quantity of rye and millet. Even so late as the year 1471, when Louis XI. of France borrowed the works of Rhasis, the Arabian physician, from the faculty of medicine at Paris, he not only deposited by way of pledge a considerable quantity of plate, but he was obliged to procure a nobleman to join with him as surety in a deed, binding himself under a great forfeiture to restore it. But when, in the eleventh century, the art of making paper was invented, and more especially after the manufacture became general, the number of MSS. increased, and the study of the sciences was wonderfully facilitated. Indeed, the invention of the art of making paper, and the invention of the art of printing, are two very memorable events in the history of literature and of human civilization. It is remarkable, that the former preceded the first dawning of letters and improvement in knowledge, toward the close of the eleventh century; and the latter ushered in the light which spread over Europe at the aera of the reformation.

6. If the ancient books were large, they were formed of a number of skins, of a number of pieces of linen and cotton cloth, or of papyrus, or parchment, connected together. The leaves were rarely written over on both sides,   Ezekiel 2:9;  Zechariah 5:1 . Books, when written upon very flexible materials, were, as stated above, rolled round a stick; and, if they were very long, round two, from the two extremities. The reader unrolled the book to the place which he wanted, αναπτυξας το βιβλιον , and rolled it up again, when he had read it, πτυξας το βιβλιον ,  Luke 4:17-20; whence the name מגלה , a volume, or thing rolled up,   Psalms 40:7;  Isaiah 34:4;  Ezekiel 2:9;  2 Kings 19:14;  Ezra 6:2 . The leaves thus rolled round the stick, which has been mentioned, and bound with a string, could be easily sealed,  Isaiah 29:11;  Daniel 12:4;  Revelation 5:1;  Revelation 6:7 . Those books, which were inscribed on tablets of wood, lead, brass, or ivory, were connected together by rings at the back, through which a rod was passed to carry them by. The orientals appear to have taken pleasure in giving tropical or enigmatical titles to their books. The titles, prefixed to the fifty-sixth, sixtieth, and eightieth psalms, appear to be of this description. And there can be no doubt that David's elegy upon Saul and Jonathan,  2 Samuel 1:18 , is called קשת or the bow, in conformity with this peculiarity of taste.

The book, or flying roll, spoken of in  Zechariah 5:1-2 , twenty cubits long, and ten wide, was one of the ancient rolls, composed of many skins, or parchments, glued or sewed together at the end. Though some of these rolls or volumes were very long, yet none, probably, was ever made of such a size as this. This contained the curses and calamities which should befal the Jews. The extreme length and breadth of it shows the excessive number and enormity of their sins, and the extent of their punishment.

Isaiah, describing the effects of God's wrath, says, "The heavens shall be folded up like a book," (scroll,)  Isaiah 34:4 . He alludes to the way among the ancients of rolling up books, when they purposed to close them. A volume of several feet in length was suddenly rolled up into a very small compass. Thus the heavens should shrink into themselves, and disappear, as it were, from the eyes of God, when his wrath should be kindled. These ways of speaking are figurative, and very energetic.

7. Book is sometimes used for letters, memoirs, an edict, or contract. In short, the word book, in Hebrew, sepher, is much more extensive than the Latin liber. The letters which Rabshakeh delivered from Sennacherib to Hezekiah, are called a book. The English translation, indeed, reads letter; but the Septuagint has βιβλιον , and the Hebrew text, הספרים . The contract, confirmed by Jeremiah for the purchase of a field, is called by the same name,  Jeremiah 32:10; and also the edict of Ahasuerus in favour of the Jews,  Esther 9:20 , though our translators have called it letters. The writing which a man gave to his wife when he divorced her, was denominated, in Hebrew, "a book of divorce," Deuteronomy 24.

Books Writers of. The ancients seldom wrote their treatises with their own hand, but dictated them to their freedmen and slaves. These were either ταχυγραφοι , amanuenses, notarii, " hasty writers," or καλλιγραφοι , librarii, fair writers," or βιβλιογραφοι , librarii, "copyists." The office of these last was to transcribe fairly that which the former had written hastily and from dictation; they were those who were obliged to write books and other documents which were intended to be durable. The correctness of the copies was under the care of the emendator, corrector, ο δοκιμαζων τα γεγραμμενα . A great part of the books of the New Testament was dictated after this custom. St. Paul noted it as a particular circumstance in the Epistle to the Galatians, that he had written it with his own hand,  Galatians 6:11 . But he affixed the salutation with his own hand,  2 Thessalonians 3:17;  1 Corinthians 16:21;  Colossians 4:18 . The amanuensis who wrote the Epistle to the Romans, has mentioned himself near the conclusion,  Romans 16:22 .

BOOKS, modes of publication. Works could only be multiplied by means of transcripts. Whenever in this way they passed over to others, they were beyond the control of the author, and published. The edition, or publication, by means, of the booksellers, was, only at a later period, advantageous to the Christians. The recitatio [reading aloud] preceded the publication, which took place often merely among some few friends, and often with great preparations before many persons, who were invited for that purpose. From hence the author became known as the writer and the world became previously informed of all which they might expect from the work. If the composition pleased them, he was requested to permit its transcription; and thus the work left the hands of the author, and belonged to the publicum: [public.] Frequently an individual sent his literary labours to some illustrious man, as a present, strena, [a new-year's gift,] munusculum; [a small present;] or he prefixed his name to it, for the sake of giving him a proof of friendship or regard, by means of this express and particular direction of his work. When it was only thus presented or sent to him, and he accepted it, he was considered as the person bound to introduce it to the world, or as the patronus libri, [patron of the book,]

who had pledged himself, as the patronus personae, [patron of the person,]

to this duty. It now became his office to provide for its publication by means of transcripts, to facilitate its approach ad limina potentiorum to the gates of men of great influence, and to be its defensor. Thus the works of the first founders of the Christian church made their appearance before their community. Their Epistles were read in those congregations to which they were directed; and whoever wished to possess them either took a transcript of them, or caused one to be procured for him. The historical works were made known by the authors in the congregations of the Christians, per recitationem: [by reading aloud:] the object and general interest in them procured for them readers and transcribers. St. Luke dedicated his writings to an illustrious man of the name of Theophilus.

Book Of Life or Book Of The Living or Book Of The Lord  Psalms 69:28 . Some have thought it very probable that these descriptive phrases, which are frequent in Scripture, are taken from the custom, observed generally in the courts of princes, of keeping a list of persons who are in their service, of the provinces which they govern, of the officers of their armies, of the number of their troops, and sometimes even of the names of their soldiers. Thus, when it is said that any one is written in the book of life, it means that he particularly belongs to God, and is enrolled among the number of his friends and servants: and to be "blotted out of the book of life," is to be erased from the list of God's friends and servants, as those who are guilty of treachery are struck off the roll of officers belonging to a prince. The most satisfactory explanation of these phrases is, however, that which refers them to the genealogical lists of the Jews, or to the registers kept of the living, from which the names of all the dead were blotted out.

Book Of Judgment Daniel, speaking of God's judgment, says, "The judgment was set, and the books were opened,"  Daniel 7:10 . This is an allusion to what was practised when a prince called his servants to account. The accounts are produced and examined. It is possible he might allude, also to a custom of the Persians, among whom it was a constant practice every day to write down the services rendered to the king, and the rewards given to those who had performed them. Of this we see an instance in the history of Ahasuerus and Mordecai, Esther 4:12, 34. When, therefore, the king sits in judgment, the books are opened: he obliges all his servants to reckon with him; he punishes those who have failed in their duty; he compels those to pay who are indebted to him; and he rewards those who have done him services. A similar proceeding will take place at the day of God's final judgment.

Sealed Book mentioned  Isaiah 29:11 , and the book sealed with seven seals, in the  Revelation 5:1-3 , are the prophecies of Isaiah and of John, which were written in a book, or roll, after the manner of the ancients, and were sealed, which figure truly signifies that they were mysterious: they had respect to times remote, and to future events; so that a complete knowledge of their meaning could not be obtained till after what was foretold should happen, and the seals, as it were, taken off. In old times, letters, and other writings that were to be sealed, were first wrapped round with thread or flax, and then wax and the seal were applied to them. To read them, it was necessary to cut the thread or flax, and to break the seals.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [2]

Several sorts of materials were anciently used in making books. Plates of lead or copper, the bark of trees, brick, stone, and wood, were originally employed to engrave such things and documents upon as men desired to transmit to posterity,  Deuteronomy 27:2,3   Job 19:23,24 . God's laws were written on stone tablets. Inscriptions were also made on tiles and bricks, which were afterwards hardened by fire. Many of these are found in the ruins of Babylon. Tablets of wood, box, and ivory were common among the ancients: when they were of wood only, they were oftentimes coated over with wax, which received the writing inscribed on them with the point of a style, or iron pen,  Jeremiah 17:13; and what was written might be effaced by the broad end of a style,  Luke 1:63 . Afterwards, the leaves of the palm-tree were used instead of wooden tablets, and also the finest and thinnest bark of trees, such as the lime, the ash, the maple, the elm: hence the word liber, which denotes the inner bark of trees, signifies also a book. As these barks were rolled up, to be more readily carried about, the united rolls were called volumen, a volume; a name given likewise to rolls of paper or of parchment. The ancients wrote like-wise on linen. But the oldest material commonly employed for writing upon, appears to have been the papyrus, a reed very common in Egypt and other places, and still found in Sicily and Chaldea. From this comes our word paper. At a later period, parchment from skins was invented in Pergamos, and was there used for rolls or volumes. The pen for writing on these soft materials was a small brush, or a reed split at the end,  Jeremiah 36:23 . The ink was prepared with lampblack coal of ivory, various gums, etc., and the writing was sometimes permanently fixed by fire. Scribes carried their inkhorns hanging to their girdles,  Ezekiel 9:2 . The making of paper from linen in its modern form was first known in Europe about A. D. 1300. The art of printing was introduced about one hundred and fifty years later.

An ancient book therefore had the appearance of a thick roll of some paper-like substance, written usually in parallel columns on one side only, and read by gradually unrolling it by means of two small rollers, one at the beginning and the other at the end of the volume. A roll was sometimes sealed, being first tied or wrapped about with a cord, on which the wax was dropped, and stamped by a signet,  Isaiah 29:11   Revelation 5:1-3 .

The writing was practiced very early, may be inferred from allusions to the art in  Genesis 5:1   Exodus 17:14   Job 9:25   19:23   31:5 . The Egyptians were accustomed to it from the earliest ages.

Ancient writers, instead of writing their books, etc., with their own hand, often employed amanuenses. St. Paul notes it as a particular circumstance, in the epistle to the Galatians, that he had written it with his own hand,  Galatians 6:11 . To other letters he only affixed his salutation with his own hand,  1 Corinthians 16:21   Colossians 4:18   2 Thessalonians 3:17 . The amanuensis who wrote the epistle to the Romans, has mentioned himself at the close,  Romans 16:22 . See Letter

Book of the Generation, is used in  Genesis 5:1   Matthew 1:1 , in the sense of a genealogical record. See Generation .

Book of the Wars of the Lord,  Numbers 21:14 , was probably a sort of military journal, formed of detached odes.

The Book of the Chronicles of the kings of Judah and Israel were apparently public journals,  1 Kings 14:19,29 .

The Book of Jasher,  2 Samuel 1:18 , may perhaps have been a collection of national ballads, one of the forms most used for perpetuating the history of ancient times.

The Books of the Chronicles of the kings of Judah and Israel were apparently public journals,  1 Kings 14:19,29 .

Book of Life, or of the Living,  Psalm 69:28 . It is probable that these descriptive phrases are taken from the custom observed in the courts of princes, of keeping a list of persons who are in their service, of the provinces which they govern, of the officers of their armies, of the number of their troops, and sometimes even of the names of their soldiers. In the figurative style of oriental poetry, God is represented as inscribing the names, acts, and destinies of men in volumes; and the volume in which are thus entered the names of those who are chosen to salvation, is "the book of life,"  Philippians 4:3 .

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [3]

1: Βίβλος (Strong'S #976 — Noun Neuter — biblos — bib'-los )

(Eng. "Bible") was the inner part, or rather the cellular substance, of the stem of the papyrus (Eng. "paper"). It came to denote the paper made from this bark in Egypt, and then a written "book," roll, or volume. It is used in referring to "books" of Scripture, the "book," or scroll, of Matthew's Gospel,  Matthew 1:1; the Pentateuch, as the "book" of Moses,  Mark 12:26; Isaiah, as "the book of the words of Isaiah,"  Luke 3:4; the Psalms,  Luke 20:42;  Acts 1:20; "the prophets,"  Acts 7:42; to "the Book of Life,"  Philippians 4:3;  Revelation 3:5;  20:15 . Once only it is used of secular writings,  Acts 19:19 .

2: Βιβλίον (Strong'S #975 — Noun Neuter — biblion — bib-lee'-on )

a diminutive of No. 1, had in Hellenistic Greek almost lost its diminutive force and was ousting biblos in ordinary use; it denotes "a scroll or a small book." It is used in  Luke 4:17,20 , of the "book" of Isaiah; in  John 20:30 , of the Gospel of John; in  Galatians 3:10;  Hebrews 10:7 , of the whole of the OT; in  Hebrews 9:19 , of the "book" of Exodus; in  Revelation 1:11;  22:7,9,10,18 (twice), 19, of the Apocalypse; in   John 21:25;  2—Timothy 4:13 , of "books" in general; in  Revelation 13:8;  17:8;  20:12;  21:27 , of the "Book" of Life (see Note, below); in  Revelation 20:12 , of other "books" to be opened in the Day of Judgment, containing, it would seem, the record of human deeds. In  Revelation 5:1-9 the "Book" represents the revelation of God's purposes and counsels concerning the world. So with the "little book" in   Revelation 10:8 . In  Revelation 6:14 it is used of a scroll, the rolling up of which illustrates the removal of the heaven.

 Matthew 19:7 Mark 10:4Bill. Revelation 22:19

3: Βιβλαρίδιον (Strong'S #974 — Noun Neuter — biblaridion — bib-lee-ar-id'-ee-on )

another diminutive of No. 1, is always rendered "little book," in  Revelation 10:2,9,10 . Some texts have it also in verse  Revelation 10:8 , instead of biblion (but see beginning of No. 2).

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words [4]

Sêpher ( סִפְרָה , Strong'S #5612), “book; document; writing.” Sêpher seems to be a loanword from the Akkadian sêpher  : (“written message,” “document”). The word appears 187 times in the Hebrew Old Testament, and the first occurrence is in Gen. 5:1: “This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God” (RSV). The word is rare in the Pentateuch except for Deuteronomy (11 times). The usage increases in the later historical books (Kings 60 times but Chronicles 24 times; cf. Esther 11 times and Nehemiah 9 times).The most common translation of sêpher is “book.” A manuscript was written (Exod. 32:32; Deut. 17:18) and sealed (Isa. 29:11), to be read by the addressee (2 Kings 22:16). The sense of sêpher is similar to “scroll” ( megillah ): “Therefore go thou, and read in the roll [ sêpher ] which thou hast written from my mouth, the words of the Lord in the ears of the people in the Lord’s house upon the fasting day: and also thou shalt read them in the ears of all Judah that come out of their cities” (Jer. 36:6). Sêpher is also closely related to “book” ( sêpher ) (Ps. 56:8).

Many “books” are named in the Old Testament: the “book” of remembrance (Mal. 3:16), “book” of life (Ps. 69:28), “book” of Jasher (Josh. 10:13), “book” of the generations (Gen. 5:1), “book” of the Lord, “book” of the chronicles of the kings of Israel and of Judah, and the annotations on the “book” of the Kings (2 Chron. 24:27). Prophets wrote “books” in their lifetime. Nahum’s prophecy begins with this introduction: “The burden of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite” (1:1). Jeremiah had several “books” written in addition to his letters to the exiles. He wrote a “book” on the disasters that were to befall Jerusalem, but the “book” was torn up and burned in the fireplace of King Jehoiakim (Jer. 36). In this context, we learn about the nature of writing a “book.”

Jeremiah dictated to Baruch, who wrote with ink on the scroll (36:18). Baruch took the “book” to the Judeans who had come to the temple to fast. When the “book” had been confiscated and burned, Jeremiah wrote another scroll and had another “book” written with a strong condemnation of Jehoiakim and his family: “Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire: and there were added besides unto them many like words” (Jer. 36:32).

Ezekiel was commanded to eat a “book” (Ezek. 2:8-3:1) as a symbolic act of God’s judgment on and restoration of Judah.

Sêpher can also signify “letter.” The prophet Jeremiah wrote a letter to the Babylonian exiles, instructing them to settle themselves, as they were to be in Babylon for 70 years: “Now these are the words of the letter ( sêpher ) that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem unto the residue of the elders which were carried away captives, and to the priests, and to the prophets, and to all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon …” (Jer. 29:1).

The contents of the sêpher varied. It might contain a written order, a commission, a request, or a decree, as in: “And [Mordecai] wrote in the king Ahasuerus’ name, and sealed it [ sêpher ] with the king’s ring, and sent letters by posts on horseback, and riders on mules, camels, and young dromedaries” (Esth. 8:10). In divorcing his wife, a man gave her a legal document known as the sêpher of divorce (Deut. 24:1). Here sêpher meant a “certificate” or “legal document.” Some other legal document might also be referred to as a sêpher . As a “legal document,” the sêpher might be published or hidden for the appropriate time: “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences [ sêpher ], this evidence of the purchase, both which is sealed, and this evidence which is open; and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days” (Jer. 32:14).

The Septuagint gives the following translations: biblion (“scroll; document”) and gramma (“letter; document; writing; book”). The KJV gives these senses: “book; letter; evidence.”

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [5]

"Eat ... a roll of a book" ( Ezekiel 2:8-9), meaning, Appropriate its contents in thy mind so entirely that it shall become part of thyself ( Ezekiel 3:2). God's messenger must first inwardly possess as his own and him. self digest the truth of God before he can speak it effectually to others, to their believing appropriation of it ( Revelation 10:9).  Jeremiah 15:16 is the inspired explanation of the phrase: "Thy words were found, and I did eat them, and Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart." A seal secured books anciently, when designed to be kept secret. A book was then a roll of paper, often written within and on the back ( Revelation 5:1), so as not to be wholly readable until the seal was broken. The fragments readable outside would excite curiosity and the desire to read the whole.

Precisely the nature of God's roll of inspired Scripture, the successive parts being unfolded as God's grand scheme of redemption develops itself; the parts revealed whetting the desire for more and more, until the whole stands forth in its finally consummated perfection. Unbelief seals up to many (however learned) even what is revealed. Docile, childlike receptivity is needed ( Isaiah 29:11;  Matthew 13:10-17;  Matthew 11:25). Prophecy in the Old Testament was comparatively a sealed volume until Jesus, who "alone is worthy," "opened the seals" ( Daniel 12:4-9). John reveals what Daniel veils; therefore Daniel is told to "seal the book," John "not to seal the book" ( Revelation 22:10).

Daniel's book was sealed because referring to the then distant future; John's unsealed because the events foretold were immediately to begin their fulfillment. "The book of the living" ( Psalms 69:28);  Philippians 4:3, "the book of life." the Israelites who came up out of Egypt were entered in a muster roll of the living citizens, called "the writing of the house of Israel," "the book of life" ( Ezekiel 13:9). Those who died were erased each year.

An image of God's book of predestination to eternal life ( Psalms 139:16;  Psalms 87:6;  Exodus 32:32;  Daniel 12:1;  Luke 10:20;  Philippians 4:3;  Revelation 13:8;  Revelation 17:8;  Revelation 21:27). In man's point of view it has in it names of highly privileged professors who have but a name to live, but are dead spiritually, and therefore may be blotted out, as was Judas ( Revelation 3:5;  Matthew 13:12;  Matthew 25:29); but in God's point of view it contains those only who are never blotted out, but elected finally to life ( John 10:28-29;  Acts 13:48;  Revelation 20:12;  Revelation 20:15), "written among the living in (the heavenly) Jerusalem" ( Isaiah 4:3).

People's Dictionary of the Bible [6]

Book.  1 Chronicles 29:29;  Revelation 10:2. Books in the form we have them were unknown to the ancients. The materials employed by them to write upon, and sometimes now called books, were of various kinds. Plates of lead or copper or of wood, coated with wax, were in common use, the inscriptions being made with a stylus. Tablets of this latter kind were in use in England as late as 1300. Leaves and the bark of trees were also used, such as the Egyptian papyrus, from which our word paper is derived. The skins of animals were also in use, the books being prepared in the form of long rolls, twelve or fourteen inches wide, and fastened at each end to sticks, not unlike the rollers to which maps are attached. A very good idea may be formed of an ancient roll by supposing a common newspaper to have rods or rollers at the right and left sides. The reader takes hold of the rods, and unrolls the sheet until he comes to the desired column. Thus, in  Luke 4:17, the phrase "opened the book," should probably read "unrolled the scroll." and in verse 20, for "closed the book," read "rolled up the volume," or "scroll." This shows the force of the figure,  Isaiah 34:4, where the heavens are represented as rolled together as suddenly as the opposite ends of an unrolled scroll fly to meet each other when the hand of the reader is withdrawn from it. Thus a book means one complete "roll;" so we read of the "book of the law;" the "book of life,"  Revelation 21:27; see  Psalms 69:28; "books of judgment,"  Daniel 7:10; "book of Jasher" (or righteous),  Joshua 10:13; "book of the Chronicles of," etc., R. V., "the kings of Judah,"  1 Kings 14:19;  1 Kings 14:29; "book of the generation," or the genealogical records,  Genesis 5:1;  Matthew 1:1. A kind of paper was made from the stalk of an Egyptian vegetable called papyrus, or paper reed, which is still found in various parts of India. The stalk was slit with a needle into plates or layers as broad and thin as possible. Some of them were ten or fifteen inches broad. These strips were laid side by side upon a flat horizontal surface, and then immersed in the water of the Nile, which not only served "as a kind of sizing, but also caused the edges of the strips to adhere together as if glued. The sheets thus formed were dried in the sun, and then covered with a fine wash, which made them smooth and flexible. They were finally beaten with hammers, and polished. Twenty or more of these sheets were sometimes connected in one roll. In ancient times, writings that were to be sealed were first wrapped round with thread or flax, to which the wax and seal were applied. These seals must be broken before the book could be read. In Assyria, the ancient writings were upon tablets, and cylinders made of clay. Large libraries of this character have been round in the ruins of Nineveh, Babylon, and adjacent cities. The pen was either a stylus made of some hard substance,  Jeremiah 17:1, or a reed pen similar to that now in use in the East. See  Jeremiah 36:23. The ink was carried in a hollow horn fastened to the girdle.  Ezekiel 9:2. See Bulrush.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [7]

The form of ancient books was a long roll with a roller at each end. These rollers were held one in each hand and the book was unrolled from off the one on to the other as the book was read; and this had to be reversed before the book could be read again. They were made of skins, and the writing was usually on one side only; to be written on both sideswould show a full record, as in   Ezekiel 2:9,10;  Revelation 5:1 . The form of a roll explains how a book could have several seals, a portion being rolled up and a seal attached; then another portion rolled up and another seal, like the seven-sealed book of Revelation.

By the ancient nations records were made on cylinders or slabs of stone, or on clay, which was then baked or sun-dried. Many such tablets have been found in the excavations made at Nineveh, Babylon and other places. When Ezra was at work on the city and temple of Jerusalem his opponents wrote to the king of Persia asking that 'the book of the records' might be searched for corroboration of their assertion that Jerusalem had been rebellious.  Ezra 4:15 . The 'book of the records' was doubtless a collection of stone or clay tablets. In some cases these have been found in such numbers as to form quite a library.

The word BOOK is used symbolically for what a book might contain, as prophecy or predictions. Ezekiel and John were told to eat the books presented to them.  Ezekiel 2:8,9;  Ezekiel 3:1-3;  Revelation 10:9 : cf.  Jeremiah 15:16 . It is also symbolical of the records that are with man usually written in a book.  Psalm 56:8;  Daniel 7:10;  Malachi 3:16;  Revelation 20:12 .

Various books are mentioned in scripture which are not now extant.

1. The wars of the Lord.  Numbers 21:14 . The quotation is poetry, so that the book may have been a collection of odes by Moses on the wars of Jehovah.

2. Book of Jasher,  Joshua 10:13;  2 Samuel 1:18 . These quotations also are poetry.

3. Book of Samuel, concerning 'the manner of the kingdom,'  1 Samuel 10:25; which was laid up before the Lord.

4. The Acts of Solomon, 1Kings 11:41: probably the public records of the kingdom.

5. Books of Nathan, Gad, Ahijah, and Iddo, concerning the acts of David, and of Solomon, which were doubtless the public records of the nation, with which are associated prophecies of Ahijah and the visions of Iddo.  1 Chronicles 29:29;  2 Chronicles 9:29 .

6. Book of Shemaiah the prophet.  2 Chronicles 12:15 .

7. Book of Jehu.  2 Chronicles 20:34 . These various references show that when the historical parts of the O.T. were written, further information respecting the kingdom was obtainable from the books referred to, if such had been needed; but which was not required for the inspired volume of God.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [8]

Sepher   Exodus 17:14 Deuteronomy 28:58 29:20 Job 19:23 Jeremiah 36:2,4

Books were originally written on skins, on linen or cotton cloth, and on Egyptian papyrus, whence our word "paper." The leaves of the book were generally written in columns, designated by a Hebrew word properly meaning "doors" and "valves" ( Jeremiah 36:23 , RSV, marg. "columns").

Among the Hebrews books were generally rolled up like our maps, or if very long they were rolled from both ends, forming two rolls ( Luke 4:17-20 ). Thus they were arranged when the writing was on flexible materials; but if the writing was on tablets of wood or brass or lead, then the several tablets were bound together by rings through which a rod was passed.

A sealed book is one whose contents are secret ( Isaiah 29:11;  Revelation 5:1-3 ). To "eat" a book ( Jeremiah 15:16;  Ezekiel 2:8-10;  3:1-3;  Revelation 10:9 ) is to study its contents carefully.

The book of judgment ( Daniel 7:10 ) refers to the method of human courts of justice as illustrating the proceedings which will take place at the day of God's final judgment.

The book of the wars of the Lord ( Numbers 21:14 ), the book of Jasher ( Joshua 10:13 ), and the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah and Israel ( 2 Chronicles 25:26 ), were probably ancient documents known to the Hebrews, but not forming a part of the canon.

The book of life ( Psalm 69:28 ) suggests the idea that as the redeemed form a community or citizenship ( Philippians 3:20;  4:3 ), a catalogue of the citizens' names is preserved ( Luke 10:20;  Revelation 20:15 ). Their names are registered in heaven ( Luke 10:20;  Revelation 3:5 ).

The book of the covenant ( Exodus 24:7 ), containing  Exodus 20:22-23:33 ,, is the first book actually mentioned as a part of the written word. It contains a series of laws, civil, social, and religious, given to Moses at Sinai immediately after the delivery of the decalogue. These were written in this "book."

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [9]

See Bible.

And in addition to what is there said, I would beg to remark, that the Hebrews had several names for distinguishing their several books; such as "the book of the covenant," ( Exodus 24:7;  2 Kings 23:21) "the book of the law."  Deuteronomy 30:10 and  Deuteronomy 31:26. Their general term for a book was Sepher. In the New Testament, we read of "the book of life." ( Philippians 4:3;  Revelation 20:12) It is our happiness to have all that it behoves us to know, concerning the book of life, in the copy of it of the Bible, which becomes indeed, in the proclamation of grace it contains, "the book of life." Here we find the characters of those whose names are written in heaven fully drawn out, and they altogether correspond to those for whom JEHOVAH gave Christ as a covenant. See  Isaiah 42:6-7;  Luke 4:18. See also  Daniel 7:10 and  Daniel 12:1;  Revelation 5:1-3;  Psalms 2:7

Webster's Dictionary [10]

(1): (n.) A part or subdivision of a treatise or literary work; as, the tenth book of "Paradise Lost."

(2): (n.) A volume or collection of sheets in which accounts are kept; a register of debts and credits, receipts and expenditures, etc.

(3): (n.) Six tricks taken by one side, in the game of whist; in certain other games, two or more corresponding cards, forming a set.

(4): (n.) A composition, written or printed; a treatise.

(5): (n.) A collection of sheets of paper, or similar material, blank, written, or printed, bound together; commonly, many folded and bound sheets containing continuous printing or writing.

(6): (v. t.) To mark out for; to destine or assign for; as, he is booked for the valedictory.

(7): (v. t.) To enter, write, or register in a book or list.

(8): (v. t.) To enter the name of (any one) in a book for the purpose of securing a passage, conveyance, or seat; as, to be booked for Southampton; to book a seat in a theater.

King James Dictionary [11]

BOOK, n. Like the Latin liber, book signifies primarily bark and beech, the tree being probably named from its bark.

A general name of every literary composition which is printed but appropriately, a printed composition bound a volume. The name is given also to any number of written sheets when bound or sewed together, and to a volume of blank paper, intended for any species of writing, as for memorandums, for accounts, or receipts.

1. A particular part of a literary composition a division of a subject in the same volume. 2. A volume or collection of sheets in which accounts are kept a register of debts and credits, receipts and expenditures, &c.

In books, in kind remembrance in favor.

I was so much in his books, that at his decease he left me his lamp.

Without book, by memory without reading without notes as, a sermon was delivered without book. This phrase is used also in the sense of without authority as,a man asserts without book.

BOOK, To enter, write or register in a book.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [12]

BOOK . 1 . A roll of papyrus or parchment; see Writing. 2 . A sacred or canonical document (  Daniel 9:2 ); see Canon of OT. 3 . ‘Book of life,’ etc.; see next art. and Eschatology.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [13]

Book. See Writing .

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [14]

See Writing.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [15]

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [16]

book ( ספר , ṣēpher  ; ἡ βίβλος , hē bı́blos ):

1. Definition

2. Inward Books

3. Publication

(1) Mechanical Copies

(2) Personal Copies

4. Oral Transmission

5. Manuscripts

(1) Epigraphy

(2) Sphragistics

(3) Numismatics

(4) Diplomatics

(5) Paleography

6. Printed Books

7. Variations

8. Textual Criticism

9. Higher Criticism

10. Literary Criticism

11. Origin of New Forms

12. Survival

13. Book Collections

14. Early History of Books in Bible Lands


A book is any record of thought in words. It consists of a fixed form of words embodied in some kind of substance.

1. Definition

The form of words is the main factor, but it has no existence without the record. The kind of record is indifferent; it may be carved on stone, stamped on clay, written or printed on vellum, papyrus or paper, or only stamped on the mind of author or hearer, if so be it keeps the words in fixed form. Looked on as a form of words the book is called a work, and looked on as a record it is called a volume, document, inscription, etc., as the case may be; but neither volume nor work has any real existence as book save as united.

The Biblical words for book, both Greek and Hebrew, oscillate in meaning (as they do in all languages) between the two elements, the form of words and the material form. The common words for book in the New Testament, from which too the word "Bible" comes, refer back to the papyrus plant or the material on which the book is written, just as the English word "book" was long supposed to be derived from the beech tree, on whose bark the book was written. The usual word in the Hebrew of the Old Testament ( ṣēpher ) may possibly refer to the act of writing, just as the Greek word grámmata and the English "writings" do, but more likely, as its other meanings of "numbering" and "narration" or even "missive" indicate, it refers neither to the material nor to the writing process but to the literary work itself. It suggests at least the fact that the earliest books were, indeed, books of tallies. The knot-books and various notchbook tallies are true books. In the King James' version the "word" ( dābhār ) is sometimes translated book, and, althoug h changed in these places in the Revised Version (British and American) to "acts" or "deeds," it was nevertheless quite properly translated a book, just as the "word" in Greek is used for book, and indeed in English when the Bible is called the Word. Besides these terms commonly translated book in the English Versions of the Bible, various book forms are referred to in the Bible as roll or volume (which is the same in origin), tablet, and perhaps rock inscription ( Job 19:23 ,  Job 19:24 ).

The fact that the Bible is a book, or indeed a library of many kinds of books, makes necessary that to approach its study one should have some systematic idea of the nature of the book; the origin of new forms and their survival, oral and manuscript transmission, the nature of the inward book and the various kinds of inward books. Apart from the matter of general archaeological use for historical interpretation, the questions of inspiration, the incarnate, creative, and indwelling word and many other doctrines are wholly bound up with this question of the nature of the book, and many phrases, such as the Book of Life, can hardly be understood without knowing with some degree of clearness what a book is.

The archaeology, text criticism and higher criticism of the past few years have revolutionized book history and theory in their respective fields. Above all the young science of experimental psychology has, in its short life, contributed more even than the others to an understanding of the book and The Book, the word of God and the Word of God, the Bible and Jesus Christ.

2. Inward Books

Modern experimental psychology by its study of inward images, inward speech, inward writings and other kinds of inward book forms has, in particular, thrown on Biblical inspiration, higher criticism and text criticism and the various aspects of the doctrine of the word, an unexpected light. Inward books, it appears, are not only real, but of many kinds, visual and auditory, oral and written, sensory and motor, and these different kinds have perhaps a material basis and local habitation in different parts of the brain. At least they have real existence; they are real records which preserve a fixed form of words, to be brought out of the recesses of the mind from time to time for re-shaping, re-study or utterance. (See Dittrich, Sprachpsychologie , 1903; LeRoy, Le langage , Paris, 1905; Van Ginneken, Principes de linguistique psychol ., 1907; A. Marty, Untersuch. Sprachphilosophie , 1908; Macnamara, Human Speech , 1909; the classical work is Wundt, Völkerpsychologie: Die Sprache , Leipzig, 1900.)

Inward books may be originals or copies. Every book is, to begin with, inward. Men sometimes speak of an autograph as the "original," but it is in fact only a first-hand copy of the original, which is inward, and never by any chance becomes or can become outward. Besides these originals there are also inward copies of the books of others. The fact that a book may be memorized is no new thing, but the analysis of the process is. It seems that a book may be inwardly copied through eye or ear or touch or any sense from some outward book; or again it may be copied back and forth within, from sense copy to motor copy, from visual to oral, auditory to inward writing. In reading aloud the visual image is copied over into oral; in taking dictation the auditory image is copied over into inward writing. Many men, even in reading from print, cannot understand unless they translate as they go into oral images or even move their lips. Many others either hearing or reading a French book, e.g. have to translate inwardly into English and have in the end two memory copies, one French and one English, both of which may be recalled. In whatever way they are recorded, these memory impressions are real copies of outward books, and in the case of tribal medicine men, Vedic priests, the ancient minstrels, village gossips, and professional story-tellers of all kinds, the inward collection of books may become a veritable library.

3. Publication

The end for which a book is created is in general to reach another mind. This means the utterance or copying into some outward material and the re-copying by another into memory. The commonest modes of utterance are oral speech and writing; but there are many others, some appealing to eye, some to ear, some to touch: e.g. gesture language of the Indian and the deaf mute, pressure signs for the blind and deaf, signal codes, drum language, the telegraph click, etc. If the persons to be reached are few, a single oral speech or manuscript may be enough to supply all needs of publication, but if there are very many the speech or writing must somehow be multiplied. This may be done by the author himself. Blind Homer, it is alleged, repeated the Iliad in many cities; and the modern political orator may repeat the same speech several times in the same evening to different audiences. So too the author may, as many Latin writers did, copy out several autographs. If the audience is still too great to be reached by authors' utterances, the aid of heralds, minstrels, scribes and the printing-press must be called in to copy from the autographs or other author's utterances; and in case of need more help yet is called in, copies made from these copies, and copies again, and so on to perhaps hundreds of copyings. This process may be represented as x plus x 1 plus x 2 plus x 3 plus x n where x = an original, x 1 a first-hand copy of author's utterance, x 2 a second-hand copy, x 3 a third-hand, etc.

Books may Thus be divided into originals, first-hand or authors' copies and re-copies. Re-copies in turn whether at second-, third-, fourth- or nth-hand, may be either mechanical or personal, according as the copy is direct from outward material to outward material or from the outward material to a human memory.

(1) Mechanical Copies

Mechanical copies include photographic copies of manuscripts, or of the lips in speaking, or of gesture, or any other form of utterance which may be photographed. They include also phonographic records, telegraph records, and any other mechanical records of sound or other forms of utterance. Besides photographic and phonographic processes, mechanical copies include founding, stamping by seal or die, stereographic, electrotype, stencil, gelatine pad and printing-press processes, any processes, in short, which do not pass via the human mind, but direct from copy to copy by material means. They do not include composition in movable types or by type-setting machines, typewriting machines and the like, which, like writing, require the interposition of a human mind. These mechanical copies are subject to defects of material, but are free from psychological defects and error, and defect of material is practically negligible.

(2) Personal Copies

Personal copies include inward copies, or memory books, and the re-uttered copies from these copies, to which latter class belong all copied manuscripts. The memory copy may be by eye from writing, or from the lips of a speaker in the case of the deaf. Or it may be by ear from oral speech, telegraph key, drum or other sound utterances. Or it may be again from touch, as in the case of finger-tip lip-reading or the reading of raised characters by the blind. Each of these kinds may perhaps be located in a different part of the mind or brain, and its molecular substratum may be as different from other kinds of inward record as a wave of light is different from a wave of sound, or a photograph from the wax roll of a phonograph; but whatever the form or nature, it somehow records a certain fixed form of words which is substantially equivalent to the original. This memory copy, unlike the mechanical copy, is liable to substantial error. This may arise from defects of sense or of the inward processes of record and it is nearly always present. Why this need be so is one of the mysteries of human nature, but that it is, is one of the obvious facts; and when memory copies are reuttered there is still another crop of errors, "slips of tongue and pen," equally mysterious but equally inevitable. It comes to pass, therefore, that where oral or manuscript transmission exists, there is sure to be a double crop of errors between the successive outward copies. When Thus a form of words is frequently re-copied or reprinted via the human mind the resulting book becomes more and more unlike the original as to its form of words, until in the late manuscript copies of early works there may often be thousands of variations from the original. Even an inspired revelation would Thus be subject to at least one and perhaps two or three sets of errors from copying before it reached even the autograph stage.

4. Oral Transmission

Before the knowledge of handwriting became general, oral publication was usual, and it is still not uncommon. The king's laws and proclamations, the works of poets and historians, and the sacred books were in ancient times published orally by heralds and minstrels and prophets; and these primitive publishers are survived still by town criers, actors, reciters, and Scripture readers.

Up to the point of the first impression on another mind, oral publication has many advantages. The impression is generally more vivid, and the voice conveys many nice shades of feeling through inflection, stress, and the delicate variations in tone quality which cannot be expressed in writing. When it comes to transmission, however, oral tradition tends to rapid deterioration with each re-copy. It is true that such transmission may be quite exact with enough painstaking and repetition; Thus the modern stage affords many examples of actors with large and exact repertories, and the Vedas were, it is alleged, handed down for centuries by a rigidly trained body of memorizers. The memorizing of Confucian books by Chinese students and of the Koran by Moslem students is very exact. Nevertheless, exact transmission orally is rare, and exists only under strictly artificial conditions. Ear impressions, to begin with, tend to be less exact than eye impressions, in any event, because they depend on a brief sense impression, while in reading the eye lingers until the matter is understood. Moreover, the memory copy is not fixed and tends to fade away rapidly; unless very rigidly guarded and frequently repeated it soon breaks up its verbal form. This is readily seen by the great variety in the related legends of closely related tribes; and in modern times in the tales of village gossips and after-dinner stories, which soon lose their fixed verbal form, save as to the main point.

There is great difference of opinion as to the part which oral transmission played in the composition of the Old Testament. The prevailing theory of the higher critics of the 19th century made this the prime factor of transmission to at earliest the 8th century bc, but the recent remarkable revelations of archaeology regarding the use of written documents in Palestine at the time of the Exodus and before has changed the situation somewhat. The still more recent developments as to the Semitic character of Palestine before the invasion of the Israelites, together with the growing evidence of the prevailing use of handwriting all over Palestine by not later than the 9th century, point in the same direction. It is now even asserted (Clay, Amorites ) that the Semitic wave was from the north rather than the south, in which case the only possible ground for ascribing illiteracy to the Hebrews at the time of the conquest, and therefore exclusive oral tradition, would be removed.

Whatever may be the facts, it may be said with some definiteness that theory which implies two sets of traditions, handed down for several centuries and retaining a considerable amount of verbal likeness, implies written tradition, not oral, for no popular tradition keeps identical verbal forms for so long a time, and there is little ground for supposing artificial transmission by professional memorizers. The schools of the prophets might, indeed, have served as such, but there is no evidence that they did; and it would have been curious if, writing being within easy reach, this should have been done. As in almost all literatures, it is far more likely that the popular traditions are derived from and refreshed by literary sources, than that literature was compiled from traditions with long oral transmission.

Biblical references to oral publication are found in the references to heralds (see under the word), to Solomon's wisdom as "spoken" ( 1 Kings 4:32-34 ), proclamations and edicts, the public reading of the law in the Old Testament, and the reading in the synagogue in the New Testament. All the oracles, "Thus saith the Lord" and "the word of Yahweh," to Moses, etc., and all allusions to preaching the word, belong to this class of oral publication and transmission. A direct allusion to oral transmission is found in  Psalm 44:1 , "We have heard with our ears, O G od, our fathers have told us."

5. Manuscripts

The distinction of handwriting as against oral utterance lies first in the permanence of the record, but it has also a curious psychological advantage over speech. The latter reaches the mind through hearing one letter at a time as uttered. With writing, on the other hand, the eye grasps three to six letters at a time, and takes in words as wholes instead of spelling them out. The ear always lags, therefore, the eye anticipates, although it may also linger if it needs to. While therefore impressions from hearing may perhaps be deeper, one may gather many more in the same time from reading.

When it comes to transmission, the advantage of handwriting is obvious. In the first place, even the poorest ink hardly fades as rapidly as memory. Then at best few men reach a hundred years, and therefore no memory, copy, while on the other hand the limit to the life of writing has never been reached. We have writings that have lasted 6,000 years, at least; while if the Palermo stone, e.g. had been orally transmitted it must needs have passed through some 200 copyists at least, each producing two sets of errors. The advantage of manuscript transmission over oral tradition in its permanence is Thus very great. It is true, of course, that in the case of fragile material like papyrus, paper, or even leather, transmission ordinarily implies many re-copyings and corresponding corruption, but even at worst these will be very much better than the best popular oral tradition.

In the broad sense manuscripts include all kinds of written books without regard to material, form or instruments used. In the narrowest sense they are limited to rolls and codices, i.e. to literary manuscripts. Inscriptions are properly written matter engraved or inscribed on hard material. Documents, whether private letters or official records, are characteristically folded in pliable material. Literary works again are usually rolls or else codices, which latter is the usual form of the printed books as well. These three classes of written books have their corresponding sciences in epigraphy, diplomatics and paleography.

(1) Epigraphy

Epigraphy has to do primarily with inscriptions set up for record in public places. These include published laws, inscriptions, biographical memorials like the modern gravestone inscriptions and those on memorial statues, battle monuments and the like. It includes also votive inscriptions, inscriptions on gems, jewels, weights and measures, weapons, utensils, etc. Seals and coins from all points of view belong here and form another division under printing. These have their own sciences in numismatics and sphragistics. The chief Biblical reference is to the "tables of stone" ( Exodus 24:12 ). See Table; Alphabet; Weight; Writing; etc.

(See Lidzbarski, Handb. nordsemit. Epigr ., 1898-.)

(2) Sphragistics

Sphragistics is the science of seals. Scripture references to the seal or signet ( Genesis 38:18;  Job 38:14;  Revelation 5:1; etc.) are many. See Seal; Signet .

(3) Numismatics

Numismatics has to do with inscriptions on coins and medals, and is becoming one of the greatest sources of our knowledge of ancient history, especially on account of the aid derived from coins in the matter of dating, and because of the vast quantity of them discovered. See Money .

(4) Diplomatics

Diplomatics , or the science of documents, has to do with contracts of sale and purchase ( Jeremiah 3:8;  Jeremiah 32:14 ), bills of divorce ( Deuteronomy 24:1 ) and certificates of all sorts of the nature of those registered in the modern public records. These may be on clay tablets, as in Babylonia and the neighboring regions, or on ostraca as found especially in Egypt, but everywhere in the ancient Mediterranean world, and notably for Biblical history, in Samaria, as discovered by the Harvard expedition. Multitudes of the Egyptian papyri discovered in modern times are of this character as well as the Italian papyri until papyrus was succeeded by vellum. Many are also found on wax, gold, silver, brass, lead tablets, etc. See Letters; Ostraca; Papyri .

(5) Paleography

Paleography has to do with volumes or books of considerable bulk, chiefly. It has, therefore, to do mainly with literary works of all sorts, but it shades into diplomatics when official documents, such as collections of laws (e.g. Deuteronomy), treatises, such as the famous treaty between the Hittites and Egypt, and modern leases are of such bulk as to be best transmitted in volume form. It has to do chiefly with the clay tablets, papyrus, leather, vellum and paper volumes. The clay tablet is mentioned in the Old Testament at various points (see Tablet ), the roll in both Old Testament and New Testament (see Roll ). The leather roll is the traditional form for the Hebrew Scriptures up to the present day, although the codex or modern volume form had been invented before the conclusion of the New Testament, and the earliest extant copies are in this form. The books of the Old Testament and New Testament were all probably first written on rolls. For the different methods of producing these var ious forms - graving, casting, pressing, pen and ink, etc., see Writing .

6. Printed Books

Printing differs from writing chiefly in being executed in two dimensions. In writing, a chisel or brush or pen follows a continuous or interrupted line, while printing stamps, a letter or a part of a letter, a line, a page, or many pages at a stroke. The die, the wedge for clay tablets, seals, molds, xylographic plates, as well as the typewriter, movable type or electrotype plates, etc., belong properly to printing rather than writing. The wedge stamp, or single-letter die, the typewriter, the matrix and movable type form, however, a sort of transition between the pen point and the printing-press in that they follow letter after letter. Coins and seals, on the other hand, differ little from true printing save in the lengths of the writings; Babylonian seals and the rotary press are one in principle. Sphragistics, or the science of seals, and numismatics, or the science of coins, medals, etc., belong Thus with printing from this point of view, but are more commonly and conveniently classed with epigrap hy, on the principle that they depend on the light and shade of incision or relief in one color as distinguished from the color contrasts of ink or paint. Printed books include the xylographic process of Chinese and early European printing, page and form printing from movable type, and all electrotype, stencil, gelatine pad, etc., processes.

The advantage of printing over writing is in the more rapid multiplication of copies, and still more in the accuracy of the copies. The first setting in movable type is as liable to error as any written copy, but all impressions from this are wholly without textual variations. For printed editions of the Bible see Text; Versions , etc.

7. Variations

In the natural process of transmission all reprints in movable type, manuscripts or oral repetitions accumulate variations with each re-copying. These are, in general, errors, and the process is one of degeneration. In oral transmission the average error with each generation is very great, and it is only with incredible pains that the best copies are made equal to even the average manuscript, which in turn at its best only equals the first type-set copy. The same expenditure of care on this type-set copy produces thousands of copies in printing where it produces one in manuscript. The phonograph, the typewriter, type-bar composition, photographic and electrotype methods have reduced the average error in modern books to a very low point. But even after incredible pains on the part of the authors and professional proofreaders, the offered reward of a guinea for each detected error in the Oxford revised version of the Bible brought several errors to light. This version is however about as nearly free from textual error as any large book ever made, and millions of copies of it are now printed wholly without textual variation.

But textual errors are not the only variations. It often happens that the author or someone else undertakes to correct the errors and makes substitutions or additions of one sort or another. The result is a revised edition, which is, in general, an improvement, or evolution upward. Variations are Thus of two kinds: involuntary and intentional, corresponding pretty well with the words "copies" and "editions" of a work.

Strictly speaking, every book with intentional changes is a new work, but colloquially it is counted the "same work" until the changes become so great that the resemblance of the form of words to the original is hard to recognize. It is a common thing for a work to be edited and reëdited under a certain author's name (Herzog), then become known by the joint name of the author and editor (Herzog-Plitt or Schaff-Herzog), and finally become known under the name of the latest editor (Hauck). In this case it is often described for a time on a title-page as "founded" on its predecessor, but generally the original author's name is dropped from the title-page altogether when no great portions retain the original verbal form. All editions of a work are recognized in common use in some sense as new works; and in the bookshop or library a man is careful to specify the latest edition of Smith, or Brown's edition of Smith, to avoid getting the older and outdated original work.

Sometimes the original work and the additions, corrections, explanations, etc., are kept quite separate and distinct - additional matter being given in manuscripts in the margins, or between lines, and in printed books as footnotes or in brackets or parentheses. This is commonly the case with the text-and-comment editions of Biblical books and great writers. Sometimes, as often in ancient manuscripts, it happens in copying that what were marginal and interlinear notes become run in as an undistinguished part of the text and, still more often, what was indicated as quotation in an original work loses its indications and becomes an undistinguished part of the work. In the case of the paraphrase the comment is intentionally run in with the words of the text; and most editors of scientific works likewise make no attempt to distinguish between the original matter and additions by another hand, the whole responsibility being thrown forward on the editor. Sometimes the original work itself to begin with is largely made up of quotation, or is a mere compilation or collection of works in which the "originality" is confined to title-page or preface or even a mere title, as in the case of the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Bible, and the order of arrangement of parts.

Almost all books are Thus composite. Even in a manuscript copy of a manuscript, or an oral repetition of an oral tale, two human minds have contributed to the net result, and the work of each may perhaps be distinguished from that of the other. In the case of a new edition by the same author, the result is still composite - a new work composed of old and new material. With all new editions by other authors the compositeness increases until, e.g. an edition of the Bible with textual variants and select comments from various writers becomes the combined work of thousands of writers, each distinguished as to his work from all the rest by his name or some symbol.

The work proper or work unchanged, save for involuntary error, includes Thus copies, translates, abridgments, selections and quotations; the revised work or work with voluntary changes includes editions and paraphrases (which are simply texts with commentary run into the text), digests, redactions, etc., and perhaps compilations.

These two kinds of variations give rise to the two sciences of text-criticism and higher or historical criticism. The former distinguishes all accidental errors of transmission, the latter all the voluntary changes; the former aims to reconstruct the original, the latter to separate in any given book between the work of the original and each editor.

In this connection it must not be forgotten that the original itself may be a composite work - containing long quotations, made up wholly of selections or even made up of whole works bound together by a mere title. In these cases textual criticism restores not the original of each, but the original text of the whole, while higher criticism takes up the task of separating out the elements first of later editions and redactions of this original, then of the original itself.

8. Textual Criticism

The involuntary variations of manuscripts or oral tradition give rise to the science of text-criticism. The point of the science is to reconstruct exactly the original form of words or text. Formerly the method for this was a mere balancing of probabilities, but since Tregelles it has become a rigid logical process which traces copies to their near ancestors, and these in turn farther back, until a genealogical tree has been formed of actual descent. The law of this is in effect that "like variations point to a common ancestor," the biological law of "homology," and if the groupings reveal as many as three independent lines of copies from the original, the correct text can be constructed with mathematical precision, since the readings of two lines will always be right against the third - granting a very small margin of error in the psychological tendency of habit in a scribe to repeat the same error. The method proceeds (1) to describe all variations of each manuscript (or equally of each oral or printed copy) from the standard text; (2) to group the manuscripts which have the most pronounced variations; (3) to unite these groups on the principle of homology into larger and larger groups until authors' utterances have been reached and through these the inward original. The results are expressed in a text and variants - the text being a corrected copy of the original, and the variants showing the exact contribution of each copyist to the manuscripts which he produced.

It is carefully to be remembered that text-criticism proper has only to do with a particular form of words. Every translation or edition is a separate problem complete in itself when the very words used by translator and the editor have been reconstructed. These may in turn be useful in reconstructing the original, but care must be had not to amend, translate or edition from the original, and the original in turn, when it contains quotations from other writers, must not be amended from the originals of these writers. The task of textual criticism is to set forth each man's words - each original author, each copyist, each translator, each editor, just as his words were - no more and no less. See Text Of The Old Testament; Text Of The New Testament .

9. Higher Criticism

Higher criticism has to do with voluntary variations or variations in subject-matter. Like text-criticism it has to do with distinguishing the share of each of several coöperators in a composite work; and like it higher criticism traces the contributions of various authors each to its source. It differs, however, in dealing with original matter. While the variations by officious scribes, or intelligent scribes who correct spelling, grammar, wrong dates and the like, come pretty closely into the region of editing, and on the other hand the redactor is sometimes little more than an officious copyist, still the line of involuntary and voluntary change holds good, whether it be the grafting into an original work by the author of many quotations, or the grafting onto the work by others of the work of themselves or of other authors. It is not the business of the textual critic to separate out either of these (it is expressly his business not to), although his work may greatly help and even furnish results which can be used automatically. The whole of this double field of composite authorship belongs to higher criticism.

In the case of most modern works the task of the higher critic is a simple one. Quotation marks, a growing ethical feeling against plagiarism, the mechanical conveniences of typographical display, and the like, all contribute to a careful separation of the work of each contributor. Nevertheless, in many cases as, for example, in the editing of textbooks and newspapers, this is not regarded. While the signed article in the encyclopedia is now nearly universal, the signed review more and more common, the signed editorial is still rare, and the others by no means universal. It is still a matter of interest to many to pick out by his "style" the author of an unsigned article, review or editorial - which is higher criticism.

In ancient literature, where there were few such mechanical conveniences in discriminating, and little or no conscience had been developed about incorporating anything which suited the purpose of the writer in part or as a whole, the result was often a complete patchwork of verbal forms of many writers. The task of higher criticism is to sort out the original and each of its literary variants, and to trace these variants to their originals. The net result in the case of any work does not differ much from an ordinary modern work with quotation marks and footnotes referring to the sources of the quotations. It restores, so to speak, the punctuation and footnotes which the author omitted or later copyists lost. It includes many nice questions of discrimination through style and the historical connection of the fragments with the works from which they were taken; and after these have been analyzed out, many nice questions also of tracing their authorship or at least the time, place and environment of their composition. It includes Thus the questions of superhuman authorship and inspiration.

10. Literary Criticism

Literary criticism has to do with originals as originals, or, in composite works, the original parts of originals. An original work may include quotations from others or be mainly quotations, and its "originality" consists in part in the way these quotations are introduced and used. By "original," however, is meant in the main new verbal forms. The original work must not plagiarize nor even use stereotyped phrases, although it may introduce proverbs or idiomatic phrases. In general, however, originality means that literary food has been digested - reduced to its chemical elements of word or briefest phrase and rebuilt into a wholly new structure in the mind. The building in of old doorways and ornaments may be a part of the literary architect's originality, but they themselves were not "original" with him.

The literary critic has Thus to do with a man's originality - the contribution that he has made to the subject, the peculiar quality of this in its fitness to influence other minds which is effected by the "reaction of the whole personality," all his learning and emotional experience, on every part of his material - what in short we call style. This involves a judgment or comparison with all other works on the same subject as to its contribution of new matter and its readability.

11. Origin of New Forms

The chief problems of book science may be described in the words of biological science as (1) The origin of new forms, (2) survival. The question of the origin of a new literary work and its survival is so like that of the origin of a new species and its survival that it may be regarded less as analogy than as falling under the same laws of variations, multiplication, heredity and natural selection. The origin of variant forms of the same original through involuntary and voluntary changes has been traced above up to the point where editorial variants overwhelm the original and a new author's name takes the place of the old. After this step has been taken it is a new work, and at bottom the origin of all new works is much the same. The process is most clearly seen in treatises of some branch of science, say physics. A general treatise, say on Heat, is published, giving the state of knowledge on the subject at that time. Then monographs begin to be produced. The monograph may and generally does include, in bibliographical or historical outline, the substance of previous works, and in every event it implies the previous total. The point of the monograph itself is, however, not the summary of common knowledge but the contribution that it makes, or, in the language of natural science, the "useful variant" of the subject which it produces. After some accumulation of these monographs, or useful variants of previous treatises, some author gathers them together and unites them with previous treatises into a new general treatise or textbook, which is in effect the latest previous treatise with all variants developed in the meantime.

In either case a permanent new form has been produced - the old common knowledge with a difference, and the process goes on again: the new work is multiplied by publication into many like individuals; these like individuals develop each its variations; the variations in the same direction unite in some new accepted fact, idea or law, expressed in a monograph; common knowledge with this new variation forms a new general work which again is multiplied, and so on.

And what is true of scientific monographs is just as true in substance of literature, of oral tradition and of the whole history of ideas. It is the perpetual putting together of variations experienced two or more times by one individual or one or more times each by two or more individuals, with the common body of our ideas, and producing Thus a new fixed form. Popular proverbs, for example, and all poetry, fiction and the like, come Thus to sum up a long human experience.

And carrying the matter still farther back, what is true of the scientific book and of poetry and of folk-literature, is true also of the inward evolution of every thought, even those phrased for conversation or indeed for self-communion - it is the result of a series of variations and integrations. The workings of the scientist's mind in producing a contribution and the workings of the farmer's mind in evolving a shrewd maxim, are alike the result of a long series of these observations, variations and integrations. Repeated observations and the union of observations which vary in the same direction is the history of the thought process all the way along from the simplest perception of the infant, up through the ordinary thinking of the average man, to the most complex concept of the philosopher.

Through all the processes of inward thought and outward expression Thus the same process of evolution in the production of a new form holds good: it is the synthesis of all works on a given subject (i.e. any more or less narrow field of reality), the multiplication of this synthetic work, the development of new variations in it and the reunion again of all these variations in a more comprehensive work.

12. Survival

When it comes to the matter of the survival of a new work when it has been produced, the problem is a double one: (1) The survival of the individual book, and (2) The survival of the work, i.e. any copy of the original whose text does not vary so far that it may not be recognized as the "same" work. The original book is in a man's mind and survives only so long as its author survives. In the same sense that the author dies, the individual book dies. No new book, therefore, survives its author. If, however, by survival is meant the existence of any copy, or copy of a copy of this original, containing much (but never quite) the same form of words, then the book survives in this world, in the same sense that the author survives, i.e. in its descendants; it is the difference between personal immortality and race immortality. At the same time, however, the survival of species depends on the individual. A work or a species is no metaphysical reality, but a sum total of individuals with, of course, their relations to one another.

On the average, the chance of long survival for any individual copy of a book is small. Every new book enters into a struggle for existence; wind and weather, wear and tear conspire to destroy it. On the whole they succeed sooner or later. Some books live longer than others, but however durable the material, and however carefully treated they may be, an autograph rarely lasts a thousand years. If survival depended on permanence of the individual, there would be no Bible and no classics.

The average chance of an individual book for long life depends (1) on the intrinsic durability of its material, or its ability to resist hostile environment, (2) on isolation.

The enemies to which books are exposed are various: wind, fire, moisture, mold, human negligence and vandalism, and human use. Some materials are naturally more durable than others. Stone and metal inscriptions survive better than wood or clay, vellum than papyrus or paper.

On the other hand, however, if isolated or protected from hostile environment, very fragile material may outlast more substantial. Papyrus has survived in the mounds of Egypt, and unbaked clay tablets in the mounds of Babylonia, while millions of stone and metal inscriptions written thousands of years later have already perished. Here the factor of isolation comes in. Fire and pillage, moth and rust and the bookworm destroy for the most part without respect of persons. It is only those books which are out of the way of destructive agencies which survive. An unbaked tablet which has survived 5,000 years under rubbish may crumble to dust in 5 years after it has been dug up and exposed to the air. This isolation may be accidental or "natural," as when tablets and papyri are preserved under ruins, but it may also be artificial and the result of human care. A third factor of survival is therefore the ability of a work to procure for itself human protection, or artificial isolation. In brief this ability is the "value" of a book to its owner. This value may lie in the material, artistic excellence, association or rarity. Any variation in the direction of value which may be expressed financially tends to preserve. In fire or shipwreck, these are the ones saved, in pillage the ones spared. They are the ones for whom fireproof buildings and special guardians are provided. An exception to this rule is when the material is more valuable for other than book purposes. In times of war the book engraved on gold or lead or paper may be melted down for coin or bullets or torn up for cartridges, while stone and vellum books are spared. The general law is, however, that value tends to preserve, and it has been remarked that all the oldest codices which have survived in free environment are sumptuous copies.

Literary value on the other hand is, on the whole, a factor of destruction for the individual rather than of survival. The better a book is the more it is read, and the more it is read, the faster it wears out. The worthless book on the top shelf outlasts all the rest. In cases of fire or shipwreck an owner will save books which cannot be replaced and the books most easily replaced are those with literary value. A man will sometimes save his favorite books, and does treat them often with a certain reverent care, which tends to preservation but, on the whole, literary value tends to destruction.

When it comes to the survival of the work or race survival, matters are reversed. Literary value is the prime factor. It is the ability of a book to get itself multiplied or re-copied which counts - the quality, whatever it may be, which tends to make a man wish to replace his copy when it is worn out, and to make many men wish to read the work.

This literary interest operates first to produce a large number of copies in order to meet the demand, each of which copies has its chance of survival. It operates also by inducing men to use the very best material, paper, ink, binding, etc., which results in giving each individual book a longer time to produce a new copy.

The modern newspaper published in a million copies is ephemeral, in the first place, because it is printed upon paper which cannot last, save in very favorable conditions of isolation, for more than forty or fifty years. In the second place, it is very rarely reprinted save for an occasional memorial copy. Books like the Bible or Virgil, Dante or Shakespeare, on the other hand, are reprinted in multitudes of editions and in many instances in the most permanent material that art can devise.

It often happens that a book is popular for a short time, but will not survive a changed environment. The newspaper is popular for a few hours, but the time environment changes and interest is gone. It sometimes happens that a book is very popular in one country and wholly fails to interest in another. Millions of copies of Uncle Tom's Cabin and Ben Hur were required to fill the demand of one generation where a few hundreds may suffice for the next.

All the time popular taste, which is only another name for average human experience, is judging a book. A book survives because it is popular - not necessarily because it is popular with the uneducated majority, but because it appeals continually to the average human experience of some considerable class, good or bad. Survival is, therefore, natural. Skilled critics help popular judgment, and select lists aid, but in the long run the test is simply of its correspondence with human experience; in short, it is because men "like" it that a book survives.

There is Thus going on all the time a process of struggle and "natural selection" which in the end is a survival of the fittest in the true evolutionary sense, i.e. books survive because fitted to their environment of human experience or taste. There grows up, therefore, continually in every country a certain class of books which are counted classics. These are those which have survived their tests, and are being still further tested. Some have been tested from remote antiquity, and it is the books which survive the test of many periods of time, many kinds of geographical environment, and many varieties of intellectual environment, i.e. which appeal to many classes of readers, which are the true classics and which, on the other hand, show that they do correspond with the fundamental facts of human experience, simply because they have survived. In general it is the religious books which have survived in all nations, and the only books which have been tested in all lands and ages and appeal to Oriental and Western, ancient and modern alike, are those of the Christian Bible.

13. Book Collections

It has been noticed above that the process of forming a new work is the bringing together of all works on the same subject in order to unite all their variations in the new work. It is for this purpose that every student brings together the working library on his specialty; it is what the librarian does when he brings together all the books on a subject for the use of students. Every man who reads up on a subject is performing the same task for himself, and likewise every man who does general reading.

There are few libraries, however, which attempt to get together all the books on a subject. Most libraries are select libraries containing the best books on the subject: by this is meant all books which have anything new or in short have a useful variation. This is an artificial process of the critical human mind, but in humanity in general it is going on all the time as a natural process. Men are perpetually at work choosing their "five-foot shelves," the collections of the very "best of best books." The reason for this lies in the fact that the average human mind can read and hold only a limited number of books; an unconscious process is all the time going on tending to pick out the small number of books which on the whole contain the greatest amount of human experience to the average page. The mass of world's books, however enormous, is Thus boiled down by a natural selection to a few books, which contain the essence of all the rest. The process tends to go on in every country and every language. The most universal example is the Bible, which represents a long process of natural selection through many periods of time and considerable variety of geographical influence. It unites the quintessence of Semitic ideas with the corresponding quintessence of Indo-European ideas, each embodied in a correspondingly perfect language - for language itself is in the last analysis the quintessence of the experience of any people in its likeness and unlikeness to other peoples. It is therefore by the mere fact o f "survival" and "natural selection" proved to be the "fittest" to survive, i.e. that which corresponds most nearly to universal human experience. Councils do not form the canon of Scripture: they simply set a seal upon a natural process. The Bible is Thus the climax of evolution among books as man is among animals. It is as unique among books as man is unique among all living things. See Libraries .

14. Early History of Books in Bible Lands

The history of books begins at least with the history of writing. Some of the pictures on the cave walls of the neolithic age (Dechelette, Man: Archaeol. , Prehist . (1908), 201-37) seem to have the essential characteristics of books and certainly the earliest clay tablets and inscriptions do. These seem to carry back with certainty to at least 4,200 years bc. By a thousand years later, tablet books and inscriptions were common and papyrus books seem to have been well begun. Another thousand years, or some time before H̬ammurabi , books of many sorts were numerous. At the time of Abraham, books were common all over Egypt, Babylonia, Palestine, and the eastern Mediterranean as far at least as Crete and Asia Minor. In the time of Moses, whenever that may have been, the alphabet had perhaps been invented, books were common among all priestly and official classes, not only in Babylonia, Assyria and Egypt, but at least in two or three scores of places in Palestine, north Syria and Cyprus. In the time of David not only was historical, official and religious literature common in Egypt and Assyria, but poetry and fiction had been a good deal developed in the countries round about Palestine; and very soon after, if not long before, as the Moabitic, Siloam, Zkr, Zenjirli, Baal-Lebanon, Gezer and Samaritan inscriptions show, Semitic writing was common all over Palestine and its neighborhood.


Articles by Dziatzko on "Buch" and "Bibliotheken," in Pauly-Wissowa, Real-encyclopedia d. class. Altertumsw. , V, 5, and his Antikes Buchwesen , Leipzig, 1900, are mines of material, and the bibliographical reference thorough. The rapid developments in the history of most ancient books may be followed in Hortzschansky's admirable annual volume, Bibliographie des Bibliotheks und Buchwesens , Leipzig, 1904ff. For a first orientation the little book of O, Wiese, Schrift und Buchwesen in alter u. neuer Zeit (3rd edition, Leipzig, 1910), or in English, the respective articles in the Encyclopedia Britannica , are perhaps best. On the scientific side the best introductions are Vol I of Iwan Müller's Handb. d. klass. Altertumsw . and T. Birt's D. antike Buchwesen (Berlin, 1882). For Biblical aspects of the Book, the best of all, and very adequate indeed, is the long article of E. von Dobschütz on the "Bible in the Church" in the Hastings' Encyclopedia of Religion , II, 579-615, and especially on account of the bibliographical apparatus at the end of each section. These little bibliographies give a complete apparatus on many of the above subjects. Paragraphs with bibliographies on others of above topics will be found in the W. Sanday article on "Bible," just preceding.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [17]