Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 1 decade ago

Is it okay for a high school English class to have the Bible as required reading (details)?

I went to a public school, and as part of the required summer reading before my AP English class, we had to read four books of the Bible

The reasoning behind this was that in the history of English literature, authors most commonly allude to three sources: Greek mythology, Shakespeare, and the Bible. We were required to read the four books and analyze them the same we did the mythological books and Shakespeare plays that we read. It was analyzed and applied as a piece of literature, not a holy book.

Do you think that is okay, since it's done objectively and related to the class? (Just reading a book by a Romantic or Victorian author you see how much these three things are referenced.) Or is it wrong to require the reading of the Bible and no other holy books from other religions because of the religious implications, even if they weren't taught?


Also worth noting, it was an advanced placement/college prep class, the class itself wasn't mandatory.

Update 2:

Bro Dan- the problem is that those aren't alluded to as often as the KJV Bible in English literature. It would be nice to read all that, but the point was just to equip us to understand the book we were going to be reading.

Update 3:

Gazoo: I see what you mean, teachers could misconstrue it for their own personal agenda. I did forget to say though that this was just summer reading. We didn't have any lectures on the Bible (or mythology, or Shakespeare), we just had to read it before the class so we could understand the books that made up the curriculum.

25 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    I think it's okay, but the class would have to be closely monitored so the teacher doesn't try to comandeer the class in favor of the Bible.

  • 1 decade ago

    If you are reading the King James Version of the Bible as literature, that is a legitimate subject for an English class. The KJV had a huge influence on the development of the English language. The same is not the case for the holy book of any other religion.

  • 1 decade ago

    Whether the classes were mandatory doesn't speak to the church/state issue, because the standard isn't whether the activity is mandatory, but whether it "respects an establishment of religion."

    I think it's okay, but you have to be careful about it. My suspicion, actually, is that opposition to it would come from religious parents concerned that the Bible isn't being taught as authoritative. If you're taught critical analysis of the Bible the same way you're taught critical analysis of Greek literature, that could easily be perceived as persecution by the famously persecuted majority.

    Having said all that, I think schools should at least try to find a way to teach the Bible in literature classes. You miss out on a lot of cultural references if you don't know anything about the Bible.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I took Bible as Lit, but it was an elective. I can't see forcing it. that seems wrong. Though it is ingrained into out society. If you has specific verse to look at that you would also read in Shakespeare, which it looks like is what you did. There should be an optional class for people opposed to it. Could you imagine the uproar if the quran were required reading in the bible belt?

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  • 1 decade ago

    Sure. When I was in public high school, I took an AP class called "Heroes in Literature". We read the story of King David from the Bible, The Illiad, Gilgamesh, King Arthur, Hamlet, and Spider-man. I loved that class.

  • 1 decade ago

    Yeah sure... It was required reading up till 1960 when they took prayer out of school too.

    I'd like to see it come back,

    but the class would have to be closely monitored so the teacher doesn't try to comandeer the class AGAINST the Bible as HISTORY or LITERATURE.

    Source(s): zipper
  • Hmm This is allowed but the Diary of Anne Frank is not as it gives reference to something about a crush.

    Objectively, no I don't have a problem with it as the language used in the bible is an interesting study.

    But so are other books that I have know have been banned by many schools.

  • 1 decade ago

    I think it would be okay, it was a necessary resource for the class.

    I personally think it's rather difficult to remove everything related to religion from the classroom, absurd actually. The Bible is still a piece of literature, and religions are a part of our past and still effect our present. To not learn these things, it doesn't make sense to me. But to learn about them, and to imply things is a huge difference. :)

  • 1 decade ago

    I think this is harmless as long as there are no religious implications.

    The bible is a book of mythology and legend with a little bit of tribal history and it is useful to have some knowledge of it to understand references in other literature.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    No I think that it is wrong. Not everyone has the same religion and having to raed books like this could offend people who might not belive in the same things that the bible imposes. Although many of these stories might be revelent to many works of literature, alot of the stories in all religious play off each other. A generalized or more universal story should have been found in order to educate everyone in a non offensive or imposing manner

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