we had a “bible as literature” class in my public high school. no one thought anything of it, in terms of controversy. time mag has an article on this newly hot issue.
SIMPLY PUT, THE BIBLE IS THE MOST influential book ever written. Not only is the Bible the best-selling book of all time, it is the best-selling book of the year every year. In a 1992 survey of English teachers to determine the top-10 required “book-length works” in high school English classes, plays by Shakespeare occupied three spots and the Bible none. And yet, let’s compare the two: Beauty of language: Shakespeare, by a nose. Depth of subject matter: toss-up. Breadth of subject matter: the Bible. Numbers published, translated etc: Bible. Number of people martyred for: Bible. Number of wars attributed to: Bible. Solace and hope provided to billions: you guessed it. And Shakespeare would almost surely have agreed. According to one estimate, he alludes to Scripture some 1,300 times. As for the rest of literature, when your seventh-grader reads The Old Man and the Sea, a teacher could tick off the references to Christ’s Passion–the bleeding of the old man’s palms, his stumbles while carrying his mast over his shoulder, his hat cutting his head–but wouldn’t the thrill of recognition have been more satisfying on their/own?
(ht to brian buchanan)