Of course the bible should, in itself, be treated as any other work created by a human. However, it has had significant social, political and educational impact on our society and world for 2000 years, so I don't think it can be looked at in a way that most other works of fiction can be. We need to look at the impact it has had on the world, and analyse the benefits and detrimental aspects of its contribution. As for an authoritave source - well, if there is a god, only he/she/them/it would know. Unless, of course, he/she/them/it chose to reveal the 'truth', unequivocally and irrevocably, and prove for all time that thier book is THE answer (I would suggest the Jerry Springer show for such a significant revelation) - only then could any book be seen as authoritave (or is it authoritative?).