Religious education

Terence Copley

Work on sacred places, rites of passage etc rarely includes sacred words and speech. Pupils will be able to distinguish the language of the school bus, the classroom, talking to grandma and the job interview. The language for the approach to God by believers can be set at the summit: Hebrew and Yiddish provide good contrasts for Jewish studies modules.

In Wales, the chapels preserved Welsh until the education system carried it on, but Christianity did not preserve New Testament Greek and Hebrew.

"Why did it matter to have the Bible in the popular vernacular?" is a good exploration for RE.

Is "holy language" - eg Thee and Thou - helpful or does it distance the deity?

Teachers may want to explore with pupils: are we prisoners of language? (we have to appear cool and use certain words or phrases); what is involved if "Wintermas" replaces Christmas?; what does it really mean when people say "Oh God!"; violent and peaceful language can be contrasted - how do they affect the hearerreader?

It can be good to explore how language is like clothing - what we choose always shows something about who we are.

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Terence Copley

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