Monday, April 02, 2007

Cultural Literacy and the Bible - part 4

Since a few months ago, when I wrote four articles on the topic of cultural literacy's dependence upon some Biblical knowledge, I have continued to be aware of regular references to incidents or stories in the Bible as used in public speech and writing. I wonder how children growing up today with no contact with the church can understand the implications of references in what they hear and read.

Kids who grow up with no Bible knowledge cannot understand much of classic literature --which is filled with references such as: someone having the "patience of Job" or a situation being described as "a lion's den". They have no idea what it means to "cast your bread upon the waters" or what being "my brother's keeper" implies. They don't understand references to "the burning bush" or "the coat of many colors" or numerous other Bible-based cultural references in literature.

In addition, famous speeches of the past often drew attention to current political or societal struggles by using terminology from the Bible that was thoroughly understood and symbolic to their listeners. Many of today's listeners wouldn't understand a reference to "the handwriting on the wall" or "going the extra mile" or many other phrases that we take for granted since we have a background in Biblical understanding.

Here are some references I have noticed in my reading and listening in the last few months. In order to understand these references, one would need to understand.....

1. What advantage does a "city set on a hill" enjoy?

2. What is the "beginning of wisdom"?

3. What is the "root of all evil"?

4. What is "the fall of man"?

5. What is the meaning of "facing a Goliath" or "facing a giant"?

6. What is you opinion of a person if you believe that he/she "can walk on water"?

7. Who was this "Solomon" who was so wise that people talk about a person having the wisdom of Solomon?

8. Why is a loose woman referred to as a "Jezabel"?

9. What is a "coat of many colors"?

10. If someone is "just a Philistine", what does that mean?

No comments: