The Bible in History & Literature
   Produced by the National Council on Biblical Curriculum in Public Schools











 An Analysis of the Textbook: by Bruce Gourley (Part 1 of 4)

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The following essay is written for popular consumption, rather than in the form of a formal scholarly review. Links to scholarly reviews are included.

Part 1: Introduction to An Analysis of the Textbook

The Bible in History and Literature is highly touted by the Religious Right, which claims that as of 2005, the curriculum is being taught in over 1000 public high schools in the United States.  The same link quotes Elizabeth Ridenour, president of the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools (the textbook's publisher), as boasting, "We have never in 10 years had one negative comment from any school board, any superintendent, students, teachers, parents, et cetera," Ridenour points out. "Just the opposite. They have been asking if we have even a second year of this course already."

Ridenour's quote is quite fascinating ... especially in light of the fact that the textbook is riddled with inaccuracies and half-truths.  The Bible itself, in the Ten Commandments, declares that lying is a sin.  However, the Religious Right has a track record of repeatedly ignoring this Biblical injunction, as is evidenced yet again in this their showcase public school textbook. 

Indeed, why do some Christian leaders who publicly trumpet the Bible as inerrant truth, at the same time publicly and proudly parrot lies and utilize deception, or at the very least knowingly repeat historical myths, especially in regards to the history of the United States of America?  An analysis of the textbook will help to answer this question.

The two main arguments of the The Bible in History and Literature are:  1) The Bible is literally true down to the smallest degree, and 2) America is a Christian nation.  The curriculum drives home these points through the extensive use of erroneous facts and lengthy plagiarism. 

Beginning with the second theme first, the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools is an organization dedicated to advocating, in public schools, the message of America as a Christian nation.  As the website prominently declares, "The Bible was the foundation and blueprint for our Constitution, Declaration of Independence, our educational systems, and our entire history until the last 20 to 30 years."  Following the statement are a few select quotes chosen to back up this presupposition.

To the modern American Christian, the above statement may sound quite good and reasonable, as well as offer much comfort and reassurance in our contemporary  pluralistic society.

The problem, however, is that the entire statement above is nothing more than a mixture of inaccuracies and half-truths.  In short, it is a myth, rather than the truth ... a myth that some Christians desperately want to be true.  Some Christians will seemingly do whatever it takes to try and turn lies into truth, as is the case with The Bible in History and Literature.

Click here for Part 2, "The Truth About America's Religious Heritage"