Friday, April 19, 2013

Biblical Literacy

I'm working my way through one of the classes from The Great Courses, an online business where one can purchase courses recorded by well known professors throughout the country.  I'm listening to The Old Testament, taught by Amy-Jill Levine, a professor of New Testament Studies at Vanderbilt University Divinity School. 

After each lecture, I'm trying to have the discipline to read and answer the questions from the study guide.  This one is from the first lecture.  I thought it might make an interesting blog post.

Cultural critics have claimed that biblical literacy is on the decline among today’s youth.  Is the text as important, culturally or religiously, today as it has been in the past?

Important is a subjective word, and I think the question can be answered two ways.  First, do I believe that the text is deemed to be important to today’s youth?  To some of them, yes.  The decline in biblical literacy could perhaps be attributed more as a failure of an older generation to teach the text than the younger generation to value it.  Blaming young people for biblical illiteracy would be like blaming the kindergartner who can’t read;  has he been taught the value of reading?  Has he been taught to read?

Secondly, is the text important to the youth of today’s society?  Yes.  God speaks through the text – to those who lived 500 years ago, to those who lived 100 years ago, and to those who live today.  My faith tells me that it is a means by which God makes himself known, so it has immeasurable value to all of us.

So, if youth are biblically illiterate and may not value the text, and we believe it is of high value to them because it reveals God, then woe to us for not teaching the faith to the next generation.

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Blogger bob said...

I think the literacy and importance in young people's lives is diminished by religious leaders. Not all leaders of course but leaders who twist the words to fit their world view.

6:06 AM  

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