Which interpretation of the Bible should be used?

Friday, December 13, 2002

The Bible is interpreted in many different ways, religious and secular. For example: In Judaism, the Hebrew Bible is typically read through the eyes of various rabbinic commentators. For Roman Catholics, the authoritative interpretation of the church is crucial for understanding the Bible. Some Christians and Jews use the findings of modern secular scholarship to interpret the Bible, while others reject some or all of modern scholarship.

Because there are many ways to interpret the Bible — religious and secular — public school teachers should expose students to a variety of interpretations. Teachers should allow students to encounter the text directly (like any primary source), and then draw on the resources of different religious and secular interpretative traditions for understanding it. To do this effectively requires the use of secondary sources that provide a discussion of the various religious and secular approaches to the Bible.