Tuesday, March 21, 2006

J, E, D, P, GA?

Earlier this week a bill was passed in Georgia to allow high schools to teach classes on the bible:

The legislation, which passed 151-7, would allow high schools to form elective courses on the history and literature of the Old Testament and New Testament eras. The classes would focus on the law, morals, values and culture of the eras.

This is a step in the right direction. The country will be much better off if people learn how to read the bible more accurately as a result of knowing about its contemporaneous cultural landscape. Perhaps they will learn about competing narratives, priestly rivalries, and if they are really really lucky the Deuteronomist. There are so many folks who use the bible to make inconsistent public policy arguments, perhaps a more solid grounding in the text and its historical circumstances will heighten the quality of public discourse. Then again, this may all just be a front for more unreflective religious dogma in schools.

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