California school district adopts Bible course

I took a course like this as a senior in a public high school. It didn't hurt me none, even though it was taught from a secular/Protestant perspective, in that the teacher wasn't particularaly religious and the Bible being used was the King James version.

I remember somebody asked the teacher what the difference was between the King James and the Bible the Catholics used; the teacher hesistated and said she really had no idea; I raised my hnad and said I did, so I spent the next twenty minutes explaining the difference between the Torah, the Hagiographa, the Pseudopigrapha, the Aprocrypha, the Septuagint, the Masora, the Council of Jamnia, the Council of Hippo, Pope Innocent I's "Epistle VI", the Latin Vulgate, and good old Marty Luther's German version of 1534.

Probably most of the kids had glazed eyes by then, but the teacher was fascinated. :) Then somebody asked of there was a difference between that and the Bible the Orthodox used, and I raised my hand again, but the teacher held up her hands and said, "We're out of time." I later answered the kid's question out in the hallway.

[quote="rlg94086, post:18, topic:204483"]

1.) Who wrote the Bible?

People did. In some cases, historians are clear about the author (e.g. Paul). In others, the teacher would convey what historians know, as well as what traditions teach.

[/quote]

But teacher, why was Paul telling the people of Corinth those things? What was going on there that he felt he had to put them in their place like that? But when you say "traditions" don't you just mean religions?

2.) Why are some Bibles different?

Again, simple history. We know why some Bibles are different. There is not controversy about the reason they are different.

I'm sorry teacher - what do you mean by "simple history"? Isn't that what we are here to learn? I was told that some books of the Bible were pulled out because some people thought they supported the position of the Catholic Church - is that true?

3.) How was it decided what books were to be included or not?

Ditto.

Ok teacher - So councils of the Catholic Church decided what books are in the Bible? Does that mean that that Catholic Church wrote the Bible as some people claim?

Quite the contrary - there is only ONE truth, there can not be multiple truths. And if a student is given wishy washy watered down history, they will not know the TRUTH of the matter, which is that the Catholic Church wrote (New Testament) and assembled the books of the Bible. Period.

[quote]I have no problem with having my kids learn the historical and literal understanding of the Bible. I agree that there are incredible challenges in finding teachers who will teach it objectively, but if done right, it is of great benefit to society.

I don't either - as long as it is complete and accurate, and I do not believe you can do that without discussing religion. It is by its very nature and creation a religious document. It was assembled by the Catholic Church, the writings are Divinely inspired, it was created for the sole purpose of collecting the sacred writings of Christianity. How in the world do you pull religion out of the discussion and just make it "history"? :confused:

You can't.

~Liza
[/quote]

[quote="lizaanne, post:22, topic:204483"]
But teacher, why was Paul telling the people of Corinth those things? What was going on there that he felt he had to put them in their place like that? But when you say "traditions" don't you just mean religions?

[/quote]

Sure - traditions, religions. There is nothing wrong with explaining why Paul wrote the letters. That is history.

Well, since the authors were part of the Catholic Church, it could be said that the Bible was written by the Catholic Church. :shrug: There was only one Church during the writing of the New Testament.

Sure. That's historical fact. Why do you assume that it wouldn't be taught? There is no way to teach anything different. The books didn't appear out of nowhere.

Sure you can, but it depends on what you mean by "pulling religion out of the discussion." Religion will, of course, be mentioned. Theological debate/discussion, however, would not.

[quote="lizaanne, post:22, topic:204483"]

There are varying opinions in the field of bible research as to what the "truth" is. In the case of forbidding reading, there were some versions of the Bible that were forbidden, but not reading the Bible in general.

[quote]Quite the contrary - there is only ONE truth, there can not be multiple truths. And if a student is given wishy washy watered down history, they will not know the TRUTH of the matter, which is that the Catholic Church wrote (New Testament) and assembled the books of the Bible. Period.

[/quote]

You are in error. The truth is that the Catholic Church did not write the New Testament.

Various written works such as letters and historical accounts by such as those by Paul, Matthew, Mark. Luke, John, Peter, James, and other literary works such as the Shepherd of Hermes and some Gnostic works were considered valuable and even canonical by early Christians. There were a great number of such writings. An early church council went over them and determined which should be included in the canon of New Testament scripture.

It was assembled by the Catholic Church, the writings are Divinely inspired, it was created for the sole purpose of collecting the sacred writings of Christianity. How in the world do you pull religion out of the discussion and just make it "history"? :confused:

You can't.

You can take any religion's holy books, be it the Bible or the Qu'ran, and study them as literature or as insights into history. Divine inspiration has nothing to do with reading the Bible as a historical set of documents.
[/quote]

[quote="rlg94086, post:23, topic:204483"]

Sure you can, but it depends on what you mean by "pulling religion out of the discussion." Religion will, of course, be mentioned. Theological debate/discussion, however, would not.

[/quote]

The article states:

The Chino Valley Board of Education must make sure that the course will adhere to the state education code and to California state laws, so it will remain neutral in its religious teachings and will portray the Bible as a monumental piece of literature.

How can you give the answers you did above (there was only one Church at the time and it was Catholic, etc.) and remain "neutral"?

Sorry - I don't see it happening.

~Liza

[quote="lizaanne, post:25, topic:204483"]
The article states:

How can you give the answers you did above (there was only one Church at the time and it was Catholic, etc.) and remain "neutral"?

Sorry - I don't see it happening.

~Liza

[/quote]

Catholic claims that it was the only game in town at the time would be avoided by not considering such sectarian arguments. I suspect that the term "Christian" would be used instead. Otherwise, one is interjecting the claims of one's particular faith into the discussion, which is exactly what is to be avoided in a literary and historical examination of the book..

Rich is right; however, there is nothing slanted about explaining the origins of the Bible. It is a neutral subject. There shouldn’t be a discussion about which version is best theologically. My class used the Oxford edition w/apocrypha, so it had all the books.

As someone who has just recently taken a course similar to the one described, I'd figure I would chime in.

My class was taught by a non-Catholic, but that did not bother me. Nor the fact that the class mas made up of Christians, since this was the first time the class had been offered at my school. Still, we did not talk about anything that really went away from the course. We were there to study the Bible as literature and history. (I realize not all schools will be like that, but this was my experience.)

Our school used The Bible and Its Influence. (Info here bibleliteracy.org/site/Curriculum/index.htm).
Yes it did explain the differences between Catholic and non-Catholic Bibles, it included the history and most importantly, the influence.

The class was heavily involved in finding allusions from the Bible in everyday life (movies, songs, novels, poems, speeches by famous people etc). Our teacher stressed the importance Biblical literacy. We all study Greek myth and literature and Shakespear, but why also not the Bible?

The class and the textbook were all very unbiased. And I honestly learned a lot. About the Scriptures and the world around me. I realize not all classes would be like mine, but I do believe that it is a wonderful idea that more students should take a class similar to mine. I believe that it would benefit them in the long run.

So there is my :twocents:.

In Christ,
Never

[quote="Nevermore22, post:28, topic:204483"]
As someone who has just recently taken a course similar to the one described, I'd figure I would chime in.

My class was taught by a non-Catholic, but that did not bother me. Nor the fact that the class mas made up of Christians, since this was the first time the class had been offered at my school. Still, we did not talk about anything that really went away from the course. We were there to study the Bible as literature and history. (I realize not all schools will be like that, but this was my experience.)

Our school used The Bible and Its Influence. (Info here bibleliteracy.org/site/Curriculum/index.htm).
Yes it did explain the differences between Catholic and non-Catholic Bibles, it included the history and most importantly, the influence.

The class was heavily involved in finding allusions from the Bible in everyday life (movies, songs, novels, poems, speeches by famous people etc). Our teacher stressed the importance Biblical literacy. We all study Greek myth and literature and Shakespear, but why also not the Bible?

The class and the textbook were all very unbiased. And I honestly learned a lot. About the Scriptures and the world around me. I realize not all classes would be like mine, but I do believe that it is a wonderful idea that more students should take a class similar to mine. I believe that it would benefit them in the long run.

So there is my :twocents:.

In Christ,
Never

[/quote]

Thanks for sharing your experience! I'm glad your teacher did a good job.

I'm just *seriously *wondering what they are going to say as they read through Romans chapters 2-4 or James chapter 2.

[quote="Nevermore22, post:28, topic:204483"]
The class was heavily involved in finding allusions from the Bible in everyday life (movies, songs, novels, poems, speeches by famous people etc). Our teacher stressed the importance Biblical literacy. We all study Greek myth and literature and Shakespear, but why also not the Bible?

[/quote]

This is a very important point. Due to the historical import of the text and its ubiquity in various forms of culture (both pop culture and so-called "high" culture), a working knowledge of the Bible is necessary to participate fully in a proper interpretation of many key texts.

Thanks for a good post.

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