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The Gutenberg Bible, the first printed Bible

The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, biblía, "the books") is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred to Christians, Jews, Samaritans, Rastafari and others. They generally consider the Bible to be a product of divine inspiration and a record of the relationship between God and humans. The Bible appears in the form of an anthology, a compilation of texts of a variety of forms that are all linked by the belief that they are collectively revelations of God. These texts include theologically-focused historical accounts, hymns, prayers, proverbs, parables, didactic letters, erotica, poetry, and prophecies.

Those books included in the Bible by a tradition or group are called canonical, indicating that the tradition/group views the collection as the true representation of God's word and will. A number of Biblical canons have evolved, with overlapping and diverging contents from denomination to denomination. The Hebrew Bible overlaps with the Greek Septuagint and the Christian Old Testament. The Christian New Testament is a collection of writings by early Christians, believed to be mostly Jewish disciples of Christ, written in first-century Koine Greek. Among Christian denominations there is some disagreement about what should be included in the canon, primarily about the biblical apocrypha, a list of works that are regarded with varying levels of respect.

Attitudes towards the Bible also differ among Christian groups. Roman Catholics, high church Anglicans, Methodists and Eastern Orthodox Christians stress the harmony and importance of both the Bible and sacred tradition, while many Protestant churches focus on the idea of sola scriptura, or scripture alone. This concept rose to prominence during the Reformation, and many denominations today support the use of the Bible as the only infallible source of Christian teaching. Others though, advance the concept of prima scriptura in contrast.

The Bible has had a massive influence on literature and history, especially in the Western world, where the Gutenberg Bible was the first book printed using movable type. According to the March 2007 edition of Time, the Bible "has done more to shape literature, history, entertainment, and culture than any book ever written. Its influence on world history is unparalleled, and shows no signs of abating." With estimated total sales of over 5 billion copies, it is widely considered to be the best-selling book of all time. As of the 2000s, it sells approximately 100 million copies annually.

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Fruit Basket (painting by Balthasar van der Ast).
First Fruits is a religious offering of the first agricultural produce of the harvest. In classical Greek, Roman, and Hebrew religions, the first fruits were given to priests as an offering to deity. In Christian faiths, the tithe is similarly given as a donation or offering serving as a primary source of income to maintain the religious leaders and facilities. In some Christian texts, Jesus Christ, through his resurrection, is referred to as the first fruits of the dead. Beginning in 1966 a unique "First Fruits" celebration brought the Ancient African harvest festivals that became the African American holiday, Kwanzaa. Read more...
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