I recently came across an copy of a textbook I used in Grade 7, back in 1993-1994. I enjoy history and I fondly remembered the textbook, so I opened it up and read it a little to see what it said... 20 years later.
I found the passages on early Christianity and was a little bit shocked to see how credulous they were about treating the Gospels as useful historical sources for the life of Jesus. Here are the passages that surprised me:
The tone in these passages clearly supports the Bible-as-history narrative, and they do so in a rather sneaky way. On Page 7, the paragraph sequence leads the reader into accepting the Gospels as legitimate sources:
Ironically, this was also the textbook that introduced me to the nature of "humanism," and this confused me greatly. I had heard sermons about the perils of humanism, but when it was described in the textbook, I couldn't help but feel like it was a good thing. And when I tried to confront the textbook with my own beliefs in my head, my adolescent anti-humanism, pro -theology arguments naturally fell flat.
I'm not a die-hard mythicist, but I do find it annoying when historical books treat religious texts as historically accurate or authoritative sources. It puts the author's intention into question when they mash up history with theology.
I don't think many Canadian textbooks do this any longer; this textbook was published in 1984 and I imagine they've been retired in most schools. But it's nice to see that I'm a more critical thinker than I was in Grade 8.
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