Unless the religious claims of the Bible are again acknowledged, its literary claims will, I think, be given only “mouth honour” and that decreasingly. . . It is, if you like to put it that way, not merely a sacred book but a book so remorselessly and continuously sacred that it does not invite, it excludes or repels, the merely aesthetic approach. You can read it as literature only by a tour de force. You are cutting the wood against the grain, using the tool for a purpose it was not intended to serve. It demands incessantly to be taken on its own terms: it will not continue to give literary delight very long except to those who go to it for something quite different.
From Selected Literary Essays
Compiled in Words to Live By