With a suddenness that no one could have predicted, courses in the Bible as literature have become common in high schools and colleges during the past five years. Each year more publishers add anthologies of biblical literature to their offerings. Two years ago one textbook publisher found through market research that the literature of the Bible was one of the three areas of greatest demand in high school literature, and since then the demand has greatly increased.

The literary study of the Bible is currently a leading subject on the programs at teachers’ conventions. For the past two years, for the first time, the annual meeting of the Modern Language Association included a section on teaching the Bible as literature. The Indiana University Summer Institute on Teaching the Bible in Secondary English, designed for high school teachers, has completed its fifth year and has attracted wide attention. A national clearinghouse called the Public Education Religion Studies Center (Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio 45431) has devoted a major part of its program to promoting the literary study of the Bible in public schools.

This trend has obvious implications for evangelical Christians. Interest in the Bible goes far beyond the academic world, where the revival of interest began. Reading the Bible as literature is something that involves parents (especially those whose children are enrolled in courses in biblical literature), biblical scholars, ministers, Bible study leaders, and anyone else who reads the Bible.

There has long been a latent, half-articulate resistance among evangelical Christians to the idea of the Bible as literature. One of the most frequently quoted statements on the subject is this one by C. S. Lewis:

[The Bible ...
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