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Christian Bible -- English or elective?


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DS16 and I have been talking for a while about doing a study of the Christian Bible.  We're Jewish and DS has an excellent grounding in our own religious texts, but he is not at all familiar with the Christian scriptures and I myself know only the major plot points.  We'd use this as a spine and would supplement with some other resources.

The problem is that I'm not sure how to fit it into the schedule, since all of DS's electives time is taken up with Judaics.  Could I possibly frame this as a one-semester English course for purposes of applications to colleges that require 4 years of English?   I could certainly build plenty of writing assignments into our learning.  What I'm imagining wouldn't exactly be a "Bible as Literature" course -- it would be more along the lines of cultural studies/comparative religion -- but maybe it's close enough to qualify as "English"?  How flexible is this category of classes?

Would welcome any thoughts/advice.

 

 

Edited by JennyD
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I took a class in high school called Multicultural Studies that was for both social studies and English credit and it was co-taught by a teacher from each of those departments. There was a lot of assigned writing as well as research and debate. So I think this could qualify as an English credit with the right kind of assignments. I’m not sure exactly how to structure it, but hopefully others can advise you. 

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To be an English credit it does need to be a "Literature of the Old Testament" (or New Testament, or both) sort of course. So, the focus would be on reading through a literary lens -- reading for themes and literary devices; learning about the authors/times and the specific types of writings (history, poetry, prophecy, epistles, etc.); and analyzing the structure/form those types of writing take on in the language/times of the writing of the different Biblical books. For example, the acrostic structure of several of the psalms in the Old Testament, or the structure and purposes (ethics and theology) of the letters of Paul (New Testament books such as Hebrews, Ephesians, Galatians, etc.)

I took a Literature of the Old Testament course in college, and while there was a small amount of background information on authors / times / culture for understanding the literature, it is similar to the sort of background info you would do as prep for reading another work of literature, esp. one of a different time and culture.

If reading with a focus on cultural studies/comparative religion, or for doctrinal content, then no, that would count as a Social Sciences or Religious Studies credit, either of which could also be an Elective, if you have plenty of Social Sciences or Religious Studies credits already.

If just needing 0.5 credit more of English to finish out the 4.0 credits required for possible future college admissions, you might consider going with a "Biblical Literature", and then do additional cultural/comparative religion studies on the side. Or, if only needing 0.5 credit of English, that could be filled in quickly with something completely different, like Speech/Public Speaking, or Journalism... Just brainstorming. 😉 

BEST of luck! Warmly, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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Thanks for the replies!

8 hours ago, Lori D. said:

To be an English credit it does need to be a "Literature of the Old Testament" (or New Testament, or both) sort of course.

 

8 hours ago, Lori D. said:

If reading with a focus on cultural studies/comparative religion, or for doctrinal content, then no, that would count as a Social Sciences or Religious Studies credit,

Lori, can I ask -- are your answers based on discussions with admissions officers, state education officials, or something else?   My state does require 4 years of English but I am not worried about state requirements, only the college stuff.  

Thinking about it more, I think that the best analog would be a class on social philosophy.  Sort of akin to how I approach Homer with my kids -- I know many people primarily analyze the Iliad and the Odyssey as literary works, but we focus more on the political/social dimensions of the texts.

i guess the central question is -- in this day and age, when everyone is All About the Interdisciplinary, can I interpret "four years of English" as "four years of humanities"?  It How would I find out the answer to this question?

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3 hours ago, JennyD said:

... are your answers based on discussions with admissions officers, state education officials, or something else?   My state does require 4 years of English but I am not worried about state requirements, only the college stuff.  

Thinking about it more, I think that the best analog would be a class on social philosophy.  Sort of akin to how I approach Homer with my kids -- I know many people primarily analyze the Iliad and the Odyssey as literary works, but we focus more on the political/social dimensions of the texts.

i guess the central question is -- in this day and age, when everyone is All About the Interdisciplinary, can I interpret "four years of English" as "four years of humanities"?  It How would I find out the answer to this question?

So sorry, I misunderstood your original post, as "cultural studies/comparative religion" are the focus for some of the Social Sciences areas. 😉 But your description in the post quoted above about your approach with Homer's helps me see what you are doing. So yes, that would fit within the scope of an English course.

Yes, a lot of classical homeschoolers do integrated Humanities studies, which usually results in 3 credits each year -- 1 each for Literature (English), History, and Philosophy (or Theology).

Colleges are pretty accepting of what counts as "English" because students are coming from SO many schools that are all so different. But in general, colleges expect that a high school credit course of "English" involved reading literature and/or writing/composition (or speaking/rhetoric). English courses that are just one or the other are fine, too (examples: "Dystopian Literature" and "Journalism").

So as long as your course includes reading of literature (which you would be doing), and/or some writing (which you also said you would be doing), that will be great. Just to be sure to label your courses as English, rather than Humanities. Otherwise, admission officers will assume you did NO English (reading and writing), and instead did lots of Social Sciences (history/geography/culture).

Since future college is your prime concern, and because colleges require certain amounts of credits of certain subjects for admission, you'll want to make your course titles are as clear as possible. You want to make sure that college admission officers quickly and easily understand that this course fulfills part of the 4 credits of English that all colleges require.

So, course titles that are something like: "English: New Testament Literature", or "Literature: The Christian Bible" make it very clear that this course is an English credit. (Note: if you will *also* be doing additional History or Cultural studies in tandem with reading and discussing/analyzing the New Testament, you could label the related courses as: "Integrated Humanities: English: New Testament" and "Integrated Humanities: History: Early Christianity" -- or something along those lines. So that would be like what I mentioned in paragraph 2 above. 😉 )

Also, if you structure your transcript by subject (rather than by grade/year), that will make it very clear that this course is an English credit, because it's listed with all of the other English credits.

Finally, in your separate Course Description document, you would briefly explain the direction and goals of the course and list the major works covered and/or resources used, and you could include a brief overview of "output" (examples: writing assignments, tests/quizzes, a project, etc.).

Hope something there helps! BEST of luck, and best wishes as you and your DS enjoy your journey through the Jewish Annotated New Testament! 😄 Warmest regards, Lori

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