Friday, January 9, 2009

Here's the thing: The (re)play's the thing


John Freshwater, the 8th grade science teacher once fired for keeping a Bible on his classroom desk, is back at it.

(Freshwater: repeat)

What is annoyingly missing in news accounts (the ones I have seen, anyway) is an identification of exactly what version (translation or paraphrase) of the Bible he puts on his desk. (News reporters, like the public in general, are notoriously Bible-illiterate.) I would presume that it is the King James Version, or something close, but I could be wrong. If it is a more current English translation, like Today's New International Version, which I consider the best, the most conservative Christian groups might have pause.

Now I happen to think that two early 1600s English classics should be taught in every public high school, say over the course of a year: The Plays of Shakespeare (technically speaking, they were not collected into a single work at the time, but pretend that they were), and the (Protestant, King James) Bible. Everyone should have a cultural knowledge of this stuff.

Now I do part ways in one sense. I think that this combined Shakespeare, Bible course could be taught just as well with modern versions as the base texts instead of their 1600s precedents (as long as the old versions are around for comparison). Some modern yet poetic Plays for Shakespeare, and at least the TNIV for the Bible. I'm beginning, though, to become rather partial to The Message, even though it is on the paraphrase side of the translation/paraphrase "divide". I mean, it's pretty bitchin', dude. I could, like, totally teach a Bible course like this.