Thursday, September 10, 2009

Teach both theories...let the kids decide

Gail Dawson passed this cartoon link from the Washington Post on to me. Although biblical studies is not featured, it could be. And it is a real concern of mine here in Texas where teaching the Bible in public schools is now legal this year. How many secondary school teachers are trained in the difference between theology and history? So I couldn't resist making a quick sketch to add this panel to the cartoon:

9 comments:

Scott F said...

I just encountered a number of places where understanding the Greek was essential to understanding the text. I was utterly at the mercy of the translator (NRSV) and online commentaries. They expect 16 year olds to deal with this material?

pearl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pearl said...

“How many secondary school teachers are trained in the difference between theology and history?”

Training?

Geoff Hudson said...

Understanding Greek is not critical to understanding the NT, especially from a historical point of view, despite what some academics would have us believe. For a start there are not vast differences between the various English translations. But more importantly, there are logical difficulties which arise out of the fact that the writers were editing existing documents, or lying or distorting the truth, or making things up for whatever reason. So that presents one with with an added difficulty of interpretation. How do you train a teacher to cope with that, let alone 16 year olds? In fact how do you train anyone to cope with that? There is a wide range of interpretation among academics. It seems that the only safe way is the historical approach. At least one might get students asking some searching questions, even if you cannot provide the answers.

Michael said...

When they start teaching Evolution in Church I will agree with teaching Creationism in schools.

Pastor Bob said...

If the course is the Bible as Literature that's one thing. It is possible to teach the Bible as literature without doing theology particularly if the course was taught as the Bible as a basis for understanding its use in English literature. One would have to talk about the historical use of the Bible in the time of the literature.

I suspect Texas is doing something different.

Scott F said...

Yes, Bob, but which teachers will limit their analysis of the bible to literary? Literature as much about theme and meaning. It could get sticky fast!

Scott F said...

Actually, Geoff, the verse in question was Matthew 14:33 in which the word translated as "worship" is the same word used in the Septuagint to describe Nathan's behavior in approaching David - another man described as son of God and messiah. Would "prostrate" or "venerate" have been more honest a translation? I have no way of knowing, seeing as I don't know the Greek :)

Geoff Hudson said...

Scott, the experts in Greek had a similar problem. http://www.greeknewtestament.com/B40C014.htm#V33.