October 2, 1989
The Bible is infrequently taught in Western civilization courses in North American universities. The overwhelming number of university students are biblically illiterate and, in most instances, their teachers seem not to be better informed than those whom they are instructing. Attempts to introduce the Bible and other Judaic material in general Western civilization programs will engender opposition from many university faculty including Jewish academics who have chosen to reject what they often see as the confining world of a distinctive Jewish framework. There is also an uncritical appropriation of traditional Christian notions of the "Old Testament." Academics have little trouble teaching the Iliad and the Odyssey, texts that represent oral and written traditions that have evolved and have been rewritten over a period of hundreds of years.