Studying the Bible as literature, history

I blogged Tuesday about Time magazine’s cover story on whether the Bible should be taught in public schools — as a cultural and historical document. More and more groups across the religious spectrum are supporting the idea.

Today, the new president of the National Association of Evangelicals, Leith Anderson, put his stamp on the new movement by endorsing The Bible and Its Influence, a textbook about the Bible that was prepared by the “Bible Literacy Project.”:

He wrote:

“In The Bible and Its Influence, the Bible Literacy Project has produced an outstanding textbook that will both encourage literacy and open students’ minds to the significant role the Bible has played in shaping our modern civilization. With excellent scholarship, it provides a broad-based curriculum that explores the history, culture and content of the entire Bible and demonstrates the value and relevance of biblical literacy for today.”

The text is now being used by 83 school districts in 30 states. It’s been endorsed by Marc Stern of the American Jewish Congress, Archbishop Richard Sklba of Milwaukee (representing the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference), evangelical bigwig Charles Colson and many others.

The magazine of the New York State School Boards Association gave the text a very positive “review.”:

Additionally, the “National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools”: has produced a Bible curriculum called “The Bible in History and Literature” that is now being used in 380 school districts in 37 states (NOT including New York). The curriculum has been used in elective courses in 1,500 high schools, according to the NCBCPS.

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.