I’m still worrying about biblical illiteracy. Seriously. In this excellent article non-religious biblical scholar Philip Davies explains why secular biblical scholarship is important. And not only a national art gallery is unimaginable without biblical scenes — imagine literature without biblical allusions and phrases, imagine opera, classical and modern music (from Bach over Samson et Dalila or Salome to Boney M) without biblical stories or poetry. Theatre, sculpture, the very languages we speak in Europe.
I’m all for knowing where Abraham gets his mustard.
Gove’s Bibles: good for schools?
This week, copies of the King James Bible were sent out to every state school in the country, courtesy of the education secretary Michael Gove. They were paid for by donations, not from the public purse. Tell us if you think the scheme is a good idea, and if you don’t, use the thread below to suggest books that could have been donated instead.
The mind-boggling result:
Don’t miss the conspiracy theories, hilarious alternatives suggested and sheer ignorance in the readers’ comments!
I briefly thought of the Gilgamesh Epic. Gilgamesh certainly has higher literary qualities then a lot of Bible writings. But the Bible has such a variety of themes, stories, history, philosophical-musings-next-to-erotic-poetry and so on, such an overwhelming range of characters and plots and literary styles — it remains one of the absolute masterpieces of world literature. The King James Version, of course, should be read because of its fine English. But, apart from the intrinsic qualities of the Bible and of this translation, there is another excellent reason for handing out Bibles: if the kids are going to be able to appreciate some of our finest works of art — painting, sculpture, literature, music, film, … — it might be a good idea to tell them what those works are about.
These are just a very few examples of the bloody *grin* good stories in the bible, and the art inspired by them — See if you can spot them!
The Bible is on my List of Deserted-Island-Books