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The Bible in American Life$
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Philip Goff, Arthur Farnsley, and Peter Thuesen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190468910

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190468910.001.0001

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The Curious Case of the Christian Bible and the U.S. Constitution

The Curious Case of the Christian Bible and the U.S. Constitution

Challenges for Educators Teaching the Bible in a Multireligious Context

(p.240) 19 The Curious Case of the Christian Bible and the U.S. Constitution
The Bible in American Life

John F. Kutsko

Oxford University Press

This chapter demonstrates how two fundamental documents in American life—the Bible and the Constitution—overlie each other in the hearts and minds of Americans and how unique that is for a modern, democratic nation. The public reads both texts with a similar type of literalism, as if they are inerrant and infallible. The association between the Bible and the Constitution contributes to what the Bible in American Life study calls “American Christians’ complex relationship with their scripture.” Many of the findings in the study should sound alarms in the ears of educators, who face reinforcing, interrelated, and long-standing challenges to teaching the Bible in a multireligious context. These challenges make themselves felt in political and social discourse in the public square, and the challenges will escalate as religious diversity increases. Finally, this chapter recommends that these challenges are best faced through interdisciplinary attention and commitment in the humanities and social sciences.

Keywords:   Constitution, Bible, inerrant, infallible, literalism, religious diversity, public square

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