Textbook Aims to Teach the Bible from a Neutral Standpoint

October 24, 2005

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


On October 24, 2005 the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported "'The Bible and Its Influence,' [a new textbook] is intended to introduce high school students to the Bible and show its impact on literature, art and social movements. It delves into biblical references in Shakespeare and 'promised land' imagery in the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 'I Have a Dream' speech. It can be used for an elective course or to supplement English or social studies. Its editors argue that it is impossible to understand Western culture without knowing the Bible... Early drafts were critiqued by scholars across the breadth of Christian and Jewish traditions and by experts on church-state law. Its list of Hebrew Scriptures shows the Jewish, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant canons... Mr. Stetson, 59, an Episcopalian from New York City, started the project after his father urged him to use his skills to promote knowledge of the Bible. Surveys showed that 67 percent of Americans wanted students to gain a basic knowledge of the Bible and its impact on society, but fewer than 10 percent of public schools offered such teaching... He had funding from the John Templeton Foundation, which promotes conversation between faith and science. But the book avoids the creation debate."