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The Bible As Literature Course in High Schools

By Linda White
Published: October 21, 2008

Teacher told class, "I can beat this guy myself, and of course they look down on him because he's just a boy."

When modern-day literature refers to a David and Goliath like battle - the reference is taken from here - the Bible.

Teacher told class, "They did just keep both of those beginning points intact."

Welcome to the "Bible as Literature" course at Mortimer Jordan High School.

English Teacher, Joseph Turner, said, "The Bible has influenced more of our culture than say Shakespeare has."

This pilot class was approved by the State Board of Education. "The Bible and Its Influence" is the textbook, but students also bring their own bibles to class.

Turner said to class, "Ok. What is odd about this?"

Just like a government or history class covering today's politics, students are encouraged to express their points of view.

Turner said, "It doesn't have to be taught as a devotional class. As a matter of fact, it's a lot more rigorous from a historical background and from a literary background."

This class includes pop quizzes and tests on historical backgrounds, dates and empires. It's not an easy 'A'. As for any critics and or naysayers of the Bible being taught in a public school - this is Turner's answer.

Turner said, "We're not fighting over denominational issues, we're not fighting over whether God is real, such as that, it's purely an academic pursuit."

Turner hopes these Mortimer Jordan students, will actually take what they've learn in this "Bible As Literature" course into the ACT test as well as into college to master other works of literature.

The State Board of Education may give school districts another option for a 'Bible As Literature' textbook. The board will discuss it at a work session this Thursday in Montgomery.


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