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The lessons have explained many important reasons for Christians to study secular literature. Below are included the lecture notes ENGL 102 LECTURE NOTES: A Christian Holistic Approach to the Study of Literature I. There are three primary considerations to keep before us regarding the nature of this course. A. God has constructed the mind in such a way that it controls what comes in as well as what goes out. B. While learning is a result of good study, it is more a result of good thought processing. C. The job of the Christian educator is not to force the student into the assimilation of x amount of sterile facts; rather, the teacher should stimulate thinking— thinking that is designed for life. II. Much of the emphasis in education now, however, is upon the parts that make up life. A. Within these fragments of history, the humanities, the sciences, etc., the emphasis is upon quantity: the number of pages covered and the amount of facts assimilated. B. When life is dissected into sterile components, it dies. III. History does provide examples of education which were holistic, interdisciplinary, and designed for life. A. One clear example is Jewish education under the Old Testament economy: 1. In Jewish education, a twelve- or thirteen-year-old boy was considered a man. 2. His school was conducted six days a week, twelve hours per day, and about one half of the day was spent in practical application of the Pentateuch. 3. The overall purpose and objective of this school was life as a whole with an emphasis upon character building. B. Another clear example is found in the teachings of Jesus Christ. ENGL 102 LECTURE NOTES: A Balanced Use of Educational Media I. The medium of television has inundated American culture. A. From age five to age eighteen, an American child has viewed over 15,000 hours of television. B. Once movie attendance and listening to radios and stereos is factored in, the exposure hours to electronic media easily reaches 20,000 hours. C. This is at least double the amount of time which a child spends with school and homework. II. There are some important differences between electronic curriculum and traditional classroom/printed curriculum. A. The most obvious differences involve setting: 1. In a classroom, content is more important than attention via entertainment; with television, the converse is true. 2. A classroom, mirroring life itself, is a “penalty-laden curriculum”; television is not. 3. Television has the advantage of continuousness and imminence. 4. Commercial television’s learning modules are extremely short. 5. Classroom curriculum is community centered; television curriculum tends to reinforce what Christopher Lasch has labeled “cultural narcissism.” B. The most important difference is that the two curricula use different alphabets. 1. The traditional classroom uses language—a “digital” code of information. 2. Television uses pictures—an “analogic” code of information. C. The traditional curriculum stresses cause-and-effect, linear history; television curriculum stresses the non sequitur. D. Traditional and television curricula also present differing templates of authority/authoritarian structures. Page 1 of 2 ENGL 102 Page 1 of 2 LECTURE NOTES: The Importance of the Study of Literature to the Christian I. Church history provides much evidence for an antipathy and hostility on the part of Christians toward literature. A. The early Church 1. Tertullian 2. Augustine B. The Puritans 1. Richard Baxter 2. Cotton Mather 3. Charles Spurgeon C. Contemporary examples: 1. Bible institutes 2. Drug rehabilitation centers II. Secular antipathy is also now growing against the study of literature. A. The apotheosis (i.e., raising to the level of a god) of technology B. The drift of liberal arts institutions toward vocational education C. Economic pressures on the humanities (i.e., the argument of utilitarianism) D. The drift toward an illiterate society III. Arguments can be raised, however, in favor of the study of literature as a legitimate Christian pursuit. A. A rescue from the trap of mindless amusement B. A wealth of insight into the plight of our world and the needs of our contemporaries C. A hermeneutic aid to Bible study (N.B.—Christianity is a book religion. The Bible is a work of literature, and an understanding of literature increases our understanding of Scripture.) ENGL 102 Page 2 of 2 D. A sharpening of our own theological focus 1. F. Scott Fitzgerald 2. D. H. Lawrence 3. G. B. Shaw

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