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To teach, to learn, to change

Holy writ in secular teaching

One of the most influential books in the Western world has to be The Holy Bible. This is especially true in the English-speaking world. The great labors and sacrifices that lead to the translation and publication of the Bible in English are wonderful stories and important parts of history. But those pale next to the impact that the book itself has had on the legal, cultural, and literary worlds. I don’t think anyone can really understand the world we live in and how we got here unless they have some familiarity with the Bible, its teachings and history.

But how do you teach that without preaching?

The Freeman Academy will not be a religious establishment, not even en ecumenical one. I have nothing against religious schools; I spent a few semesters at one years ago and enjoyed it. But what I want to create is for everyone, which brings me back to the issue. How do you teach the Bible as literature and history? I know such classes exist, but they were not available at any of the colleges I attended. The book and its teachings need to be treated respectfully, thoroughly, and objectively; that seems like a difficult task in these polarized times. Do any of you have experience with this kind of approach? What other important books do you think might present similar challenges?

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One thought on “Holy writ in secular teaching

  1. I grew up in Israel, where we had Old Testament classes from 2nd grade until 12th. In my secular schools, teachers taught it as a combination of history and literature.

    Don’t think of it as “The Bible”. Think of specific books. Psalms is an example of poetry. Kings is history (and parts of it have independent confirmation, from Assyrian or Moabite sources). Isaiah is an example of rhetoric, trying to persuade.

    Can you teach Oedipus without believing the Greek gods? If so, you can teach the Bible from a secular perspective.

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