Should public schools teach the Bible?

USAToday asks if the Bible should be taught in public schools. School districts like those in Texas are seeking a way to include the Bible in the curriculum while respecting the beliefs of students. Professors of Western Civilization and the humanities think students need this background to understand their studies.

“Students who want to do serious study of Western civilization need to know the Bible,” says Barbara Newman, Northwestern University professor of English, Religion and Classics. “They need to know the Bible, even if they do not believe the Bible.”

Harvard professor Robert Kiely, for one, agrees. In 2006, he participated in an academic survey of professors from many of America’s leading universities — including Yale, Princeton, Brown, Rice, California-Berkeley and Stanford. The survey — commissioned by the Bible Literacy Project, which promotes academic Bible study in public schools — found an overwhelming consensus among top professors that incoming college students need to be well-versed in the stories, themes and words of the Bible.

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