his letters, John Steinbeck wrote that there is one story in the
world, "and only one," of humans caught in a net of hunger and
ambition, good and evil—and that is the Biblical story of Cain and
Abel, the basis of his powerful 1952 novel East of Eden.
Within that story can be found a half-dozen or more archetypal plot
motifs, including the classic detective's tale or the story of the
innocent victim, suggests a new textbook, The Bible and Its
Influence, released in September.
The book, produced by the Bible Literacy Project, aims to
familiarize high school students with biblical language, literary
forms, plot lines, and characters so they can better understand art,
literature, and culture. It's a touchy topic, isn't it?
Bible study in public schools immediately raises questions of
Constitutionality, but organizers have a ready answer. If the Bible
is taught academically, "not devotionally," and if the students
aren't engaged in the practice of religion, then it's all kosher, so
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