Upstream. A Mohawk Valley Blogzine.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

If You Haven't Read The Bible At Least Once, Can You Call Yourself Educated?

The motto for my book business is "He who can read, but doesn't, is also illiterate." I should add to that "He who does read, but has not read The Bible, is not fully educated."

The Bible is one of the most influential books in western civilization, yet many people, including those who say they believe everything it says, have not read it.

Biblical literacy has nothing to do with religion. The same could be said of The Koran. If there ever was a time when non-Muslims should read The Koran, it is now.

The Bible Literacy Project, a non-sectarian, non-profit group, dedicated to promoting biblical literacy, has just issued a press release, University Professors in New National Report agree: An educated person needs to know about the Bible. The press release concerns the second major report issued by The Bible Literacy Project since its inception.

Here is part of what the press release said:

What Leading English Professors Said When Asked: What do you think about the following statement? “Regardless of a person’s faith, an educated person needs to know about the Bible.”

"Absolutely. [Without the Bible] it’s like using a dictionary with one-third of the words removed.” Dr. George P. Landow, Brown University

“True. You’re simply ignorant of yourself if you don’t know the Bible.” Dr. Ina Lipkowitz, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“Definitely. Agree.” Dr. Robert Kiely, Harvard University

“Not to have that is almost crippling in students’ ability to be sophisticated readers.” Dr. Ulrich Knoefplmacher, Princeton University

“Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.” Dr. Thomas P. Roche, Princeton University

“Incontestable statement.” Dr. Ralph Williams, University of Michigan

“Absolutely necessary. [Bible allusions are] more concentrated and more specific and profound and revisited over and over again; more necessary than classics.” Dr. Stuart K. Culver, University of Utah

“Yes. A no-brainer.” Dr. Gordon M. Braden, University of Virginia

“Every educated person deserves to know the Bible.” Dr. Leland Ryken, Wheaton College, IL

Read the rest of the press release and download the entire report.


  • I would agree that it's a useful thing to know about, though I think an organized effort to get people to read the bible might be counter-productive. People who don't pick it up on their own usually have their reasons and might resent the efforts of those who would have it required reading.

    Having said that, I feel as though I would understand a great deal more in literature and in my field, art history, if I had more of a familiarity with how the bible has been interpreted throughout history/by different sects. Just knowing what happens isn't going far enough. The same could be said of understanding Muslim faiths through the Koran.

    A thought provoking post.

    This is the bible I'll be reading:


    By Blogger York Staters, at 11:41 PM  

  • I took a look at Interesting how a leftist yet also literal interpretation of The Bible can produce good humor.

    As far as an organized effort to get people to read The Bible being counter-productive, you make a good point. That's why I am against compulsory education, at least past the 8th grade. Students might take naturally to Shakespeare and polynomials, if they weren't forced to.

    By Blogger Dan Weaver, at 8:12 AM  

  • against compulsory education past 8th grade? have you been hanging out with the amish too long?


    By Blogger York Staters, at 4:41 PM  

  • I have great respect for the Amish, but they believe in compulsory ignorance after the 8th grade.

    We have got to start thinking outside the box if we are going to improve education. Throwing wads of money at it as we have is not working. Most high schoolers don't see education as a privilege.

    A few bad apples are ruining our schools. If they didn't have to go, they probably wouldn't and teachers could be teachers instead of cops and social workers.

    Let the parents, the cops and social services deal with the students who want to keep everyone else from learning. Let the army, or MacDonald's, or unemployment, or the street be our alternative schools.

    Compulsory education has cheapened education.

    And while we are separating the church from the state, let's separate the school from the state.

    These are stray thoughts. I would like to post more about this in the future.

    By Blogger Dan Weaver, at 7:29 PM  

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