But then today I was sent a story from the BBC by my friend Linda from the Crux (LGBT etc Christian) email list that I've been on for so many years now almost since it started back in the mid/late 90s.
Students 'do not know the Bible'
The Poet Laureate says it is becoming increasingly difficult to teach English Literature because students do not know the Bible or classical mythology.
Andrew Motion told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the lack of knowledge made it "difficult to even get beyond go" when teaching some of his recent students.
John Mullan, professor of English at University College London, said it was up to academics to solve the problem.
Mullan goes on to say:
"I've always been concerned about the levels of not-knowing since I started teaching, but quite recently I had a very bad experience of trying to teach some of my, in other respects, extremely good students about Paradise Lost.
"They knew so little about the context in which the poem was written and about the references that the poem itself makes that it was very difficult even to get beyond go in talking about it."
What's been done at Mullan's university is the introduction of a module in the English Literature course through which students are brought up to speed with the classical texts. I think that's a great idea although I'd like to see something like that in schools too, get kids reading the biblical stories together with classical Greek and Roman mythology. I have a friend teaching sessionally at Bond Uni a course on bible and literature. I'd love to see courses on Bible and Film, Bible and Art, Bible and Sci Fi the possibilities are many. But I also rather like the idea of teaching Bible together with classical mythology, maybe at university level, expand out into Egyptian, Levantine, Mesopotamian and Persian mythology to boot.
Biblical studies should be liberated from the confines of Religious and Theological Studies (although I think there is defintely a place for both disciplines in modern universities, and maybe even moreso in postmodern universities. But the impact of the biblical literature goes much further than a theological dimension, it's social, cultural, artistic even linguistic. I also like the idea of reading biblical litgerature beside the mythology of its matrix in the ancient Mediterranean world. Of course understanding anything of Engish or other European culture without knowing something of classical mythology does as the Poet Laureate says make it "difficult to even get beyond go". I have a great love of Russian poetry and many of the great poets such as Osip Mandelstam pepper their work with references to Homer and Greek mythology, as well as the biblical literature. As the Poet Laureate says: "these stories achieve archetypal status because they tell us recurring truths about human nature that is a pleasure and an important thing in and of itself."
So lets have Bible taught in English Lit, in European Lit, in philosophy, in Gender Studies, in Peace and Conflict Studies, in History, in Queer Studies, in Cultural Studies, throughout the Humanities and beyond.