Is the entire history, we read, accurate?

Is the entire history, we read, accurate?

In today's era, having great advanced technologies, we get many rumors. So how can we write the historical facts so firmly.

We talk about ancient personalities, their quotes, their lives, etc. so firmly.

It is said that many ancient properties passed on orally. How can vast oral things like vedas be so precise?

Things like the Vedas (or Genesis, Greek myths, American Indian creation stories, &c) aren't precise. Sometimes they're retellings of actual events, distorted by being orally passed down through many generations, sometimes they're just made-up stories.

Sometimes we can correlate the stories with physical evidence. If for instance a particular tradition mentions a king of Babylon named Ashurbanipal and archeologists excavate the ruins of Babylon and find lots of clay tablets &c mentioning him, we can reasonably conclude that there indeed was such a king. (But we'd conclude that from the tablets even if we didn't have the story… )

How Textbooks Can Teach Different Versions Of History

This summer there's been an intense debate surrounding the Confederate flag and the legacy of slavery in this country.

In Texas that debate revolves around new textbooks that 5 million students will use when the school year begins next month.

The question is, are students getting a full and accurate picture of the past?

Eleventh-grade U.S. history teacher Samantha Manchac is concerned about the new materials and is already drawing up her lesson plans for the coming year. She teaches at The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, a public school in Houston.

The first lesson she says she'll give her kids is how textbooks can tell different versions of history. "We are going to utilize these textbooks to some extent, but I also want you to be critical of the textbooks and not take this as the be-all and end-all of American history," she imagines telling her new students.

She doesn't want to rely solely on the brand-new texts because she says the guidelines for the books downplay some issues — like slavery — and skirt others — like Jim Crow laws.

She says it's "definitely an attempt in many instances to whitewash our history, as opposed to exposing students to the reality of things and letting them make decisions for themselves."

You might be wondering how Texas got these books in the first place, so here's a quick history lesson:

In 2010 the Texas State Board of Education adopted new, more conservative learning standards.

Among the changes — how to teach the cause of the Civil War.

One side of the debate: Republican board member Patricia Hardy said, "States' rights were the real issues behind the Civil War. Slavery was an after issue."

On the other side: Lawrence Allen, a Democrat on the board: "Slavery and states' rights."

Ultimately the state voted to soften slavery's role, among other controversial decisions, and these standards became the outline for publishers to sell books to the Texas market — the second-largest in the country.

The final materials were approved last fall after the state board did some examination and said the books get the job done.

Brian Belardi from McGraw-Hill Education, the publisher of some of the new material, agrees. "The history of the Civil War is complex and our textbook accurately presents the causes and events," he said, adding that the Texas books will not be used for the company's clients in other states.

History professor Edward Countryman isn't so sure the materials do a good job.

"What bothered me is the huge disconnect between all that we've learned and what tends to go into the standard story as textbooks tell it," says Countryman, who teaches at Southern Methodist University near Dallas and reviewed some of the new books.

He thinks the books should include more about slavery and race throughout U.S. history.

"It's kind of like teaching physics and stopping at Newton without bringing in Einstein, and that sort of thing," he says.

"The history of the United States is full of the good, the bad and the ugly, and often at the same time," says Donna Bahorich, the current chairwoman of the Texas Board of Education.

While she admits the state standards didn't specifically mention important things like Jim Crow laws, she says she's confident students will still get the full picture of history if teachers, and the new books, fill in the blanks.

Black history is U.S. history — but some of my students don’t want to hear it

It’s happened ever since I began teaching as a graduate student in 1991. Most semesters in which I have taught a course related to U.S. history, the complaint appears at least once on my students’ course evaluations: “too much time on race.”

Whether at the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon, Duquesne, George Washington or University of Maryland University College, the refrain from this small but vocal minority has been the same. And a few students have gone further than just registering their complaints. In two of my upper-level courses on U.S. history since 1945 — which covers the Civil Rights movement, white flight and the neoconservative movement — I got the typical handful of complaints in my evaluations that I spent “too much time on race.” But two of those students also wrote that UMUC should fire me for it. This

A small but persistent minority of my students seem to want their U.S. history a certain way — the story of Europeans escaping political persecution and religious oppression for the pristine wilderness of the New World, of people building the greatest nation that has dominated the world with its military, its capitalism and its brand of democracy.

It’s not only possible to teach a U.S. history course like this, it’s normal. In many schools, teaching American history often means ignoring racism. A

On the only 8 percent of high school seniors identified slavery as the cause of the Civil War. It isn’t a surprise, then, when some of my students don’t know about slavery, migration or the connections between these central American constructions and how the U.S. developed over time. It doesn’t shock me that most of my students are baffled when I tell them not all whites were “white” when they immigrated to the United States, that the term was once restricted to Anglo-Saxon Protestants.

American history is the history of modern racism. Native Americans numbered around 10 million to 15 million in what would become British North America at the time of the Jamestown settlement in 1607. Diseases, wars, starvation and constant encroachment would reduce this population by 90 percent. White migrants and West Africans were used as indentured servants and slaves to make the colonies profitable through tobacco, rice and indigo. Eventually the connection between African skin and slavery was codified into state laws and the U.S. Constitution. The profits and products of slavery made industrialization possible, and supplied the United States and Europe with the cotton that would create modern capitalism. It was this system, so contradictory to American ideals, that led to a civil war that killed and maimed 1.1 million soldiers, civilians and sailors.

This is only U.S. history until 1865. There’s also Indian removal, the stealing of land from Mexican Americans in the Southwest, Southern and Eastern European immigrants and the idea that Irish, Italian, and Polish newcomers weren’t white (scientific racism), Jim Crow, lynchings, race riots, black migration, Mexican migration, the assimilation of white ethnics, the Harlem Renaissance and the civil rights movement. This list is hardly exhaustive, but its topics are the key ones in any U.S. history course. Race is critical to North Carolina and

The problem isn’t just general ignorance of this nation’s history of racism, as evinced by this student. It’s also about the willingness of many Americans to ignore this history. It’s their willingness to only see America one way, to only see Americans of color as subtext, a mere addition to a story mostly about rich and powerful white men.

1619 Project Founder Admits It's 'Not a History,' But a Fight to ɼontrol the National Narrative'

AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File

On Monday, Nikole Hannah-Jones, founder of The New York Times‘ � Project,” admitted that her project is not a history and that the battle over it is about “memory” — a fight to “control the national narrative.” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) has moved to defund schools that teach the project.

“The fight over the 1619 Project is not about history. It is about memory,” Hannah-Jones tweeted. “I’ve always said that the 1619 Project is not a history. It is a work of journalism that explicitly seeks to challenge the national narrative and, therefore, the national memory. The project has always been as much about the present as it is the past.”

I’ve always said that the 1619 Project is not a history. It is a work of journalism that explicitly seeks to challenge the national narrative and, therefore, the national memory. The project has always been as much about the present as it is the past.

&mdash Ida Bae Wells (@nhannahjones) July 27, 2020

She claimed the 1619 Project “never pretended to be a history,” but said it involves “using history and reporting to make an argument.”

“The fight here is about who gets to control the national narrative, and therefore, the nation’s shared memory of itself. One group has monopolized this for too long in order to create this myth of exceptionalism,” Hannah-Jones added. “If their version is true, what do they have to fear of 1619?”

The fight here is about who gets to control the national narrative, and therefore, the nation’s shared memory of itself. One group has monopolized this for too long in order to create this myth of exceptionalism. If their version is true, what do they have to fear of 1619?

&mdash Ida Bae Wells (@nhannahjones) July 27, 2020

The 1619 Project aims to redefine America’s past, claiming the country’s true founding occurred in 1619, with the arrival of the first black slaves to Jamestown, rather than in 1776 with the Declaration of Independence. Focusing on race, the project aims to deconstruct various aspects of American society as racist and oppressive.

Tom Cotton Aims to Defund Schools That Indoctrinate Kids With NYT’s � Project’

Yet early on, the project met with criticism from real historians. Hannah-Jones had claimed that “one of the primary reasons” the colonists revolted against Britain in 1776 was to preserve the institution of slavery. Slavery was not one of the motivating factors of the revolution. In fact, the revolution disrupted slavery. The Times eventually had to post an embarrassing correction.

Not to worry, because the 1619 Project isn’t history, Hannah-Jones says. But she also encourages supplemental history curricula based on the project. She also insists that the project is true, even if it isn’t history but rather journalism and narrative.

The 1619 Project isn’t true

Yet the project is not an accurate reflection of American history. For one thing, there were black slaves, and black freedmen, in America for a century before 1619. Whoops!

The Smithsonian Magazine disputed the 1619 Project because the Spanish brought slaves to present-day South Carolina in 1526.

“In 1526, enslaved Africans were part of a Spanish expedition to establish an outpost on the North American coast in present-day South Carolina. Those Africans launched a rebellion in November of that year and effectively destroyed the Spanish settlers’ ability to sustain the settlement, which they abandoned a year later. Nearly 100 years before Jamestown, African actors enabled American colonies to survive, and they were equally able to destroy European colonial ventures,” the magazine reported.

Ignoring these and other pre-1619 slaves “effectively erases the memory of many more African peoples than it memorializes,” the Smithsonian Magazine article argued. Therefore, the New York Times project “silences the memory of the more than 500,000 African men, women, and children who had already crossed the Atlantic against their will, aided and abetted Europeans in their endeavors, provided expertise and guidance in a range of enterprises, suffered, died, and – most importantly – endured.”

Of course, the 1619 Project is also false in a much deeper sense. Its narrative delegitimizes the very real benefits of American freedom and prosperity by claiming that racist oppression is the central truth behind the country’s ideals, while in truth the country was founded in pursuit of freedom and equality but the Founders allowed slavery to persist, laying the groundwork to defeat it eventually.

Smithsonian Goes Full Marxist: Nuclear Family, Science, Christianity All Part of Oppressive ‘Whiteness’

What do they have to fear of the 1619 Project?

The pernicious narrative of the 1619 Project also carries devastating effects. At its heart, the project aims to demonize America’s founding and heritage.

The 1619 Project uses Marxist critical theory to demonize America and inspire an unguided and destructive revolution. Portland activist Lilith Sinclair expressed a similar idea when she said, “There’s still a lot of work to undo the harm of colonized thought that has been pushed onto Black and indigenous communities.” As examples of “colonized thought,” she mentioned Christianity and the “gender binary.” She said she organizes for “the abolition of … the “United States as we know it.”

Marxist critical theory encourages people to deconstruct various aspects of society — such as capitalism, science the nuclear family, the Judeo-Christian tradition, even expectations of politeness (as the Smithsonian briefly taught) — as examples of white oppression. This inspires an aimless and destructive revolution.

When vandals toppled a statue of George Washington in Portland, they spray-painted “1619” on the statue. When Claremont’s Charles Kesler wrote in The New York Post “Call them the 1619 riots,” Hannah-Jones, responded (in a since-deleted tweet) that “it would be an honor” to claim responsibility for the destructive riots and the defamation of American Founding Fathers like George Washington.

In a November 9, 1995 op-ed, the 1619 Project founder condemned Christopher Columbus as “no different” from Adolf Hitler and demonized the “white race” as the true “savages” and “bloodsuckers.” She went on to describe “white America’s dream” as “colored America’s nightmare.” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) expressed a similar sentiment when she called for the “dismantling” of America’s “economy and political system,” in order to root out supposed racist oppression.

Yet the “1619 riots” have arguably oppressed black people far more than the U.S. supposedly does. The riots have destroyed black lives, black livelihoods, and black monuments. At least 22 Americans have died in the riots, most of them black.

This narrative undermines the positive aspects of America and encourages hatred toward the very country that provides its citizens with an unprecedented degree of freedom and prosperity. It encourages violent riots in the name of racial justice, even though those riots make life concretely worse for black Americans.

The 1619 Project may bring forward the stories of black Americans who have been overlooked in the past, and that would be admirable. But Americans must reject its pernicious aim to twist the national narrative against the Founders, capitalism, and more.

Most Students Have No Clue What Accurate Native American History Looks Like

While schools take time off to celebrate Thanksgiving -- a holiday based on the supposed friendly relations between the Pilgrims and Mashpee Wampanoag Native American tribe -- they often fail to teach students about the hundreds of years of damage Americans inflicted on Native cultures.

Most K-12 textbooks gloss over or ignore some of the more tragic aspects of Native American history, according to research from Penn State Altoona professor Sarah Shear. Shear, who studies how state curriculum standards and textbooks explain Native American history, most recently found that textbooks do a poor job covering indigenous education policies and Native American boarding schools.

Shear looked at eight recently published K-12 textbooks to reach her conclusion. She found that the textbooks presented "Indigenous Education and the creation of boarding schools as a peaceful end to conflicts between Indigenous nations and the U.S. government." In truth, children were put in Native American boarding schools after being forcibly removed from their homes and family. These schools -- which were hotbeds for disease, abuse and neglect -- sought to rid Native children of their cultural connections.

"When the Indigenous education policies were included in textbooks -- many did not include this at all -- the narratives were still within that very carefully worded master narrative, primarily around the idea that the creation of the boarding schools was ultimately a peaceful way to end these 'Indian wars' and this was philanthropic," Shear told The Huffington Post.

"It is difficult, given the evidence, to see the implementation of Indigenous education policies in the United States as anything less than cultural genocide," Shear wrote in her chapter for the book Doing Race in Social Studies: Critical Perspectives.

Shear calls on classroom educators to find other resources to illuminate and teach this misrepresented part of history.

Shear, who teaches social studies education, previously conducted research that looked at the academic curriculum history standards for all 50 states to see how they covered Native American history. She found that most states failed to cover Native American history in a post-1900 context. Thus, it does not surprise her when students come into her classroom with little knowledge of accurate Native American history.

"My students come into class and we start talking about things and they start looking at me like, what are you talking about? They just have never heard it before," said Shear. "They're re-learning history. When we talk about Thanksgiving -- they're wrestling with these stories that they grew up with."

Many of Shear's students hope to become social studies teachers. She says they worry about what will happen in future places of employment if they stray from the typical narrative and present a more realistic version of Native American history.

When it comes to the history of Thanksgiving, "my students expressed fear about presenting something more complex and not so sweet in a way. It's not a feel-good story," said Shear.

Still, Shear says there is momentum behind the idea of teaching Native American history in more complex and sensitive ways.

"We need to keep the momentum going, but there's certainly resistance to teaching in these culturally relevant and accurate ways. But that shouldn’t deter us from saying we need to change the way we teach Thanksgiving and Columbus day," said Shear.

12 Schindler’s List (1993)

On the subject of World War II films, the genre would be nothing without the moving and heart-wrenching saga of Schindler's List.

Based on the account of Oskar Schindler and the hundreds of Jewish refugees he saved from Germany's concentration camps, it goes into painstaking detail depicting the cruelty of the Nazi party, the indifference to the plight of the Jewish population felt by onlookers, and the compassion had by one man who saved over a thousand. With all that in mind, is it any wonder why the film is considered one of the greatest ever made?

The Hamiltons

Much like the musical’s depiction of the Schuyler family, Hamilton also takes some liberties with its lead character’s family tree.

The musical implies that Philip Hamilton is Alexander’s only son, for example, when the younger Hamilton is fatally shot in a duel with George Eacker. At the time of his death, however, Philip Hamilton had six living siblings — including four brothers.

One thing the musical does portray accurately — or more accurately, undersells — is Eliza’s fierce defense of Hamilton’s legacy and her philanthropic work in the years following his death. Eliza’s prolific research and compilation of her husband’s correspondence and library of essays and other published works became the foundation of nearly all future biographical research of Hamilton. The co-founder of the Orphan Asylum Society of the City of New York that still exists today (now known as the Graham Windham agency), Eliza also established New York’s Hamilton Free School, the first school in Washington Heights — the same neighborhood where Miranda grew up.

Disney’s full-length film of the Hamilton musical, featuring the show’s original cast, will be available July 3 on the Disney+ streaming service.

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Stereotypes and “Single Stories”

Unit Essential Question: What does learning about the choices people made during the Weimar Republic, the rise of the Nazi Party, and the Holocaust teach us about the power and impact of our choices today?

Guiding Questions

  • In what ways do “single stories” impact our own identities, how we view others, and the choices we make?

Learning Objectives

  • Students will recognize that it is a natural and common human behavior to group the people and things we encounter in the world into categories, but that sometimes these categories become “single stories” that give us incomplete and simplistic understandings of the identities of others.
  • Students will construct a “working definition” of stereotype and recognize how stereotypes can lead to prejudice and discrimination.


In the previous lesson, students began the first stage of the Facing History scope and sequence, “The Individual and Society,” by considering the complexity of answering the question “Who am I?” In this lesson, students will continue to explore the relationship between individual and society by examining how we so often believe “single stories” and stereotypes about groups of people. The activities that follow ask students to reflect on the basic human behavior of applying categories to the people and things we meet and to think about the circumstances in which “single stories” about others can be harmful or even dangerous.


We know that every person is different from any other in countless ways, yet when we encounter others, we often rely on generalizations to describe them. “It's a natural tendency,” says psychologist Deborah Tannen.

Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie uses the phrase “single stories” to describe the overly simplistic and sometimes false perceptions we form about individuals, groups, or countries. Her novels and short stories complicate the single stories many people believe about Nigeria, the country where she is from.

In a speech excerpted in this lesson, Adichie recounts her experiences as the subject of the “single stories” others have created about groups to which she belongs, as well as times when she herself has created single stories about others. She says:

I've always felt that it is impossible to engage properly with a place or a person without engaging with all of the stories of that place and that person. The consequence of the single story is this: It robs people of dignity. It makes our recognition of our equal humanity difficult. It emphasizes how we are different rather than how we are similar.

The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story. 2

Adichie’s speech provides a framework for discussing stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination with your students. A stereotype is a belief about an individual based on the real or imagined characteristics of a group to which that individual belongs. Stereotypes can lead us to judge an individual or group negatively. Even stereotypes that seem to portray a group positively reduce individuals to categories and tell an incomplete or inaccurate “single story.” Prejudice occurs when we form an opinion about an individual or a group based on a negative stereotype. When a prejudice leads us to treat an individual or group negatively, discrimination occurs.

It is important to reflect on the relationship explored in this lesson between the ways that we think about others and the ways that we treat others. Investigating the connections between stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination will provide an important framework for exploring in future lessons the ways that people create “in” groups and “out” groups, both in our everyday lives and throughout history.


  • 1 : Deborah Tannen, You Just Don’t Understand: Men and Women in Conversation (New York: Morrow, 1990), 16.

Notes to Teacher

Working Definitions and Concept Maps
Before introducing the reading The Danger of a Single Story, it is important for students to first consider the word stereotype—a word they have likely heard often but may not have explored in depth. To do so, students will each create a concept map that will help them define stereotype as well as establish the relationship between stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. We recommend that you create a “durable” class concept map for stereotype on chart paper, which can be saved and posted in the classroom for reference in later lessons.

Students will use their concept maps to help them construct a “working definition,” which is a less formal way of explaining what a word means. Unlike dictionary definitions, working definitions are often multi-layered, using less formal language and examples.

In addition to stereotype, the following are key vocabulary terms used in this lesson:

Add these words to your Word Wall, if you are using one for this unit, and provide necessary support to help students learn these words as you teach the lesson.


  • Image:Street Calculus
  • Video:The Danger of a Single Story (Spanish captions available)
  • Reading:The Danger of a Single Story (see Spanish version)
  • Handout:The Danger of a Single Story Viewing/Reading Guide (see Spanish version)

Teaching Strategies


  1. Journal Response: Responding to Assumptions
    Begin the lesson by giving students a few minutes to write in their journals in response to the following question: Has someone else ever made an assumption about you because of some aspect of your identity? Was it a positive assumption or a negative one? How did you find out about the assumption? How did you respond?
  2. Create a Concept Map for Stereotype
    Tell students that the assumptions we make about each other are sometimes based on stereotypes. Most middle- and high-school students have heard the word stereotype, but they might struggle to articulate a definition. Tell students that to help them reflect on their understanding of stereotype, they will create a concept map, a visual representation of the word, using words, phrases, questions, the space on the page, lines, and arrows. Later in the lesson, they will use their concept maps as a launching point to help them explore the relationship between stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. Lead students through the steps of the Concept Map teaching strategy, first brainstorming words, phrases, and ideas that they associate with stereotypes and then organizing these around the word stereotype on a page of their journals. Have students share their concept maps using the Think, Pair, Share strategy. Invite them to revise their maps by adding new information they learned from their conversations that extends or challenges their thinking. You might then facilitate a discussion in which students share ideas from their maps for you to add to a class concept map that you hang in the room, refer back to, and modify over the course of the unit as their thinking about stereotyping develops.
  3. Create a Working Definition for Stereotype
    Using the information on their concept maps and from their discussions, ask students to write a “working definition” of stereotype underneath their concept map. They will have the opportunity to share these working definitions with the class. Explain that a working definition is a less formal way of explaining what a word means—a definition that can change over time and might use less formal language. Tell students that they might expand, focus, or revise their working definitions as they learn more about the topic over the course of the unit. After students have drafted their own working definitions, ask volunteers to share their ideas to create a class working definition of stereotype, which you can then add to the class concept map. Explain the relationship between stereotype, prejudice, and discrimination, and ask students to add these terms to their concept maps. Then ask students to share their ideas about where they placed prejudice and discrimination and how they connected these to other concepts on their maps.
  4. Reflect on the Role of Stereotypes in Daily Life and Society
    • Project or pass out Garry Trudeau’s cartoon Street Calculus and discuss students’ first impressions of the image by asking the following questions:
      • What’s happening in this image?
      • What do you notice about what each person is thinking in his thought bubble?
      • How are each of their thoughts similar? How are they different?
    • Next, analyze the cartoon more deeply by having students discuss the following questions:
      • Do you think the situation depicted here is realistic? Do people use “lists” like these to make judgments about each other?
      • How aware do you think people are of the lists they make? When someone sees you walking down the street, what lists might they make about you? What lists do you sometimes make about others?
      • How might these lists shape choices people make (beyond greeting each other)? What would it take to change the lists people make about each other?

Next, connect the discussion of Street Calculus to stereotyping by asking students to reflect in a class discussion or in their journals on the role that stereotypes play in our society and in their own experiences. Depending on time, one or more of the following questions can be used to guide this reflection and debrief:

  • Where do stereotypes come from?
  • What stereotypes do the two men in the cartoon have about the groups the other one belongs to?
  • When, if ever, can stereotypes be harmless or even helpful? When do stereotypes become harmful?
  • What does the cartoon suggest about how stereotypes might impact the way we see ourselves and the way we see others? How might stereotypes impact the choices we make?
  1. Watch a Video that Explains the Danger of “Single Stories”
    • If it was not part of the Day 1 discussion, introduce students to the idea that stereotypes are a type of story that we tell about individuals based on our beliefs (erroneous or accurate) about a group to which they belong. You might ask students to review their concept maps and journal responses in preparation for today’s lesson.
    • Tell students that today they will be exploring the relationship between storytelling and stereotyping, as well as what it means to have a “single story” of a person or group of people.
    • Pass out the handout The Danger of a Single Story Viewing/Reading Guide. Then show the video of Adichie’s TED Talk The Danger of a Single Story (18:43) or pass out and read aloud the reading The Danger of a Single Story. While viewing or reading, students should record their thoughts about the three questions posed on the guide.
    • Ask students to work with a partner to create an identity chart for Adichie. If your class watched the the video, you might consider passing out the reading version for students to reference during this activity. Students can refer to the identity charts they created in the previous lesson and the three viewing/reading questions to guide their thinking.
  2. Discuss “Single Stories” in Concentric Circles
    • To debrief Adichie’s TED Talk, have students stand in two concentric circles, facing a partner in the opposite circle, and use the prompts below to begin the discussion. Rotate to a new partner for each new prompt.
      • What does Adichie mean by a “single story”? What examples does she give?
      • How did Adichie learn single stories about others? How did these stories impact her understanding of herself and of others? How did these single stories impact the choices she made at home and in her travels?
      • What enabled Adichie to change her single story? What are other ways for these types of stories to change?
      • According to Adichie, why can “single stories” be dangerous? What is the relationship between “single stories” and stereotypes?
      • Why is it that people sometimes make the same mistakes that they so easily see others making?
  3. Write about the Connection between “Single Stories” and Stereotypes
    • After the concentric circle discussion, use the quotation below or one or more of the subsequent questions as a prompt to allow for individual student reflections in their journals. Encourage students to use their resources, such as their concept maps, working definitions, notes from today’s lesson, and identity charts, to help them make connections between “single stories” and stereotyping.
      • “The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.” (Adichie)
      • What single stories have you noticed that others have about you? What dilemmas have you experienced when others view you differently than you view yourself?
      • What single stories have you noticed that you hold about others? What dilemmas have you seen arise when we view others differently than they view themselves?
    • What steps can you take, or have you taken, to challenge these single stories? Lead the class in a discussion that allows students to share their ideas about the concentric circle questions and journal responses with the whole group.
  4. Close the Discussion with a Wraparound Activity
    If time allows, tell the class that they will be sharing a concluding idea in a Wraparound activity. As you go around the room, students can share a memorable word or short phrase from the lesson. It could be something they wrote or something they heard from a classmate (or from The Danger of a Single Story).


  • Evaluate students’ concept maps for stereotype to gauge their understanding of the concept.
  • Instruct students to make Text-to-Text, Text-to-Self, and Text-to-World connections with The Danger of a Single Story. Use or adapt the handout that accompanies the Facing History description of this teaching strategy to help guide their work.


Explore Why “Little Things Are Big”
The reading Little Things Are Big provides students with the opportunity to examine how the stereotypes we believe about each other can affect our choices. The author of this piece describes a dilemma he faced over whether or not to help a woman late at night on the New York City subway. The dilemma he describes, and his own evaluation of the choice he made, can provide the basis for a meaningful and engaging class discussion. Consider sharing the reading with students and using the connection questions that follow for discussion and reflection.

How Accurate is the Bible?

The trustworthiness of Scripture is essential to a well-grounded Christian worldview, since it provides a foundation for authority that transcends the limitations of human reason and experience.

Jack, you're always quoting the Bible to me as if were the last word on issues about life. How can you base your life on a book that's so full of contradictions and errors? Historians and scientists have long since proven that the Bible is inaccurate and unreliable.

Many people are of the opinion that the teachings of the Bible are outdated, contradictory, and full of scientific and historical errors. With few exceptions, they have reached these conclusions through second- and third-hand sources rather than their own study of the Bible.

Consider the following statements:

  • The Bible says that God helps those who help themselves.
  • The books of the New Testament were written centuries after the events they describe.
  • Cleanliness is next to godliness is in the Bible.
  • According to the Bible, the earth is flat.
  • The earliest New Testament manuscripts go back only to the fourth or fifth centuries A.D.
  • The Bible teaches that the earth is the center of the universe.
  • The English Bible is a translation of a translation of a translation (etc.) of the original, and fresh errors were introduced in each stage of the process.

How many of these statements do you think are true? The answer is that all of them are false. Yet these false impressions persist in the minds of many, and misinformation like this produces a skeptical attitude toward the Bible.

In this booklet, we will consider a number of objections to the accuracy and reliability of the Bible to help you make a more informed decision as to whether or not it is authoritative.

How can you be sure that the Bible is the same now as when it was written? The Bible has been copied and translated so many times! Haven't you ever played the game where people sit in a circle and pass a sentence from one person to the next until it comes back around in a completely distorted version? If that could happen in a room in just a few minutes, think of all the errors and changes that must have filled the Bible in the centuries since it was first written!

There are three lines of evidence that support the claim that the biblical documents are reliable: these are the bibliographic test, the internal test, and the external test. The first test examines the biblical manuscripts, the second test deals with the claims made by the biblical authors, and the third test looks to outside confirmation of the biblical content.

I. The Bibliographic Test

A. The Quantity of Manuscripts

In the case of the Old Testament, there are a small number of Hebrew manuscripts, because the Jewish scribes ceremonially buried imperfect and worn manuscripts. Many ancient manuscripts were also lost or destroyed during Israel's turbulent history. Also, the Old Testament text was standardized by the Masoretic Jews by the sixth century A.D., and all manuscripts that deviated from the Masoretic Text were evidently eliminated. But the existing Hebrew manuscripts are supplemented by the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Septuagint (a third-century B.C. Greek translation of the Old Testament), the Samaritan Pentateuch, and the Targums (ancient paraphrases of the Old Testament), as well as the Talmud (teachings and commentaries related to the Hebrew Scriptures).

The quantity of New Testament manuscripts is unparalleled in ancient literature. There are over 5,000 Greek manuscripts, about 8,000 Latin manuscripts, and another 1,000 manuscripts in other languages (Syriac, Coptic, etc.). In addition to this extraordinary number, there are tens of thousands of citations of New Testament passages by the early church fathers. In contrast, the typical number of existing manuscript copies for any of the works of the Greek and Latin authors, such as Plato, Aristotle, Caesar, or Tacitus, ranges from one to 20.

B. The Quality of Manuscripts

Because of the great reverence the Jewish scribes held toward the Scriptures, they exercised extreme care in making new copies of the Hebrew Bible. The entire scribal process was specified in meticulous detail to minimize the possibility of even the slightest error. The number of letters, words, and lines were counted, and the middle letters of the Pentateuch and the Old Testament were determined. If a single mistake was discovered, the entire manuscript would be destroyed.

As a result of this extreme care, the quality of the manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible surpasses all other ancient manuscripts. The 1947 discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls provided a significant check on this, because these Hebrew scrolls antedate the earliest Masoretic Old Testament manuscripts by about 1,000 years. But in spite of this time span, the number of variant readings between the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Masoretic Text is quite small, and most of these are variations in spelling and style.

While the quality of the Old Testament manuscripts is excellent, that of the New Testament is very good--considerably better than the manuscript quality of other ancient documents. Because of the thousands of New Testament manuscripts, there are many variant readings, but these variants are actually used by scholars to reconstruct the original readings by determining which variant best explains the others in any given passage. Some of these variant readings crept into the manuscripts because of visual errors in copying or because of auditory errors when a group of scribes copied manuscripts that were read aloud. Other errors resulted from faulty writing, memory, and judgment, and still others from well-meaning scribes who thought they were correcting the text. Nevertheless, only a small number of these differences affect the sense of the passages, and only a fraction of these have any real consequences. Furthermore, no variant readings are significant enough to call into question any of the doctrines of the New Testament. The New Testament can be regarded as 99.5 percent pure, and the correct readings for the remaining 0.5 percent can often be ascertained with a fair degree of probability by the practice of textual criticism.

C. The Time Span of Manuscripts

Apart from some fragments, the earliest Masoretic manuscript of the Old Testament is dated at A.D. 895. This is due to the systematic destruction of worn manuscripts by the Masoretic scribes. However, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls dating from 200 B.C. to A.D. 68 drastically reduced the time span from the writing of the Old Testament books to our earliest copies of them.

The time span of the New Testament manuscripts is exceptional. The manuscripts written on papyrus came from the second and third centuries A.D. The John Rylands Fragment (P52) of the Gospel of John is dated at A.D. 117-38, only a few decades after the Gospel was written. The Bodmer Papyri are dated from A.D. 175-225, and the Chester Beatty Papyri date from about A.D. 250. The time span for most of the New Testament is less than 200 years (and some books are within 100 years) from the date of authorship to the date of our earliest manuscripts. This can be sharply contrasted with the average gap of over 1,000 years between the composition and the earliest copy of the writings of other ancient authors.

To summarize the bibliographic test, the Old and New Testaments enjoy far greater manuscript attestation in terms of quantity, quality, and time span than any other ancient documents.

II. The Internal Test

The second test of the reliability of the biblical documents asks, What claims does the Bible make about itself? This may appear to be circular reasoning. It sounds like we are using the testimony of the Bible to prove that the Bible is true. But we are really examining the truth claims of the various authors of the Bible and allowing them to speak for themselves. (Remember that the Bible is not one book but many books woven together.) This provides significant evidence that must not be ignored.

A number of biblical authors claim that their accounts are primary, not secondary. That is, the bulk of the Bible was written by people who were eyewitnesses of the events they recorded. John wrote in his Gospel, And he who has seen has borne witness, and his witness is true and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe (John 19:35 see 21:24). In his first epistle, John wrote, What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled concerning the Word of life . . . what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also (1 John 1:1, 3). Peter makes the same point abundantly clear: For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty (2 Peter 1:16 also see Acts 2:22 1 Peter 5:1).

The independent eyewitness accounts in the New Testament of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ were written by people who were intimately acquainted with Jesus Christ. Their gospels and epistles reveal their integrity and complete commitment to the truth, and they maintained their testimony even through persecution and martyrdom. All the evidence inside and outside the New Testament runs contrary to the claim made by form criticism that the early church distorted the life and teachings of Christ. Most of the New Testament was written between A.D. 47 and 70, and all of it was complete before the end of the first century. There simply was not enough time for myths about Christ to be created and propagated. And the multitudes of eyewitnesses who were alive when the New Testament books began to be circulated would have challenged blatant historical fabrications about the life of Christ. The Bible places great stress on accurate historical details, and this is especially obvious in the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts, Luke's two-part masterpiece (see his prologue in Luke 1:1-4).

III. The External Test

Because the Scriptures continually refer to historical events, they are verifiable their accuracy can be checked by external evidence. The chronological details in the prologue to Jeremiah (1:1-3) and in Luke 3:1-2 illustrate this. Ezekiel 1:2 allows us to date Ezekiel's first vision of God to the day (July 31, 592 B.C.).

The historicity of Jesus Christ is well-established by early Roman, Greek, and Jewish sources, and these extrabiblical writings affirm the major details of the New Testament portrait of the Lord. The first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus made specific references to John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, and James in his Antiquities of the Jews. In this work, Josephus gives us many background details about the Herods, the Sadducees and Pharisees, the high priests like Annas and Caiaphas, and the Roman emperors mentioned in the gospels and Acts.

We find another early secular reference to Jesus in a letter written a little after A.D. 73 by an imprisoned Syrian named Mara Bar-Serapion. This letter to his son compares the deaths of Socrates, Pythagoras, and Christ. Other first- and second-century writers who mention Christ include the Roman historians Cornelius Tacitus (Annals) and Suetonius (Life of Claudius, Lives of the Caesars), the Roman governor Pliny the Younger (Epistles), and the Greek satirist Lucian (On the Death of Peregrine). Jesus is also mentioned a number of times in the Jewish Talmud.

The Old and New Testaments make abundant references to nations, kings, battles, cities, mountains, rivers, buildings, treaties, customs, economics, politics, dates, etc. Because the historical narratives of the Bible are so specific, many of its details are open to archaeological investigation. While we cannot say that archaeology proves the authority of the Bible, it is fair to say that archaeological evidence has provided external confirmation of hundreds of biblical statements. Higher criticism in the 19th century made many damaging claims that would completely overthrow the integrity of the Bible, but the explosion of archaeological knowledge in the 20th century reversed almost all of these claims. Noted archaeologists such as William F. Albright, Nelson Glueck, and G. Ernest Wright developed a great respect for the historical accuracy of the Scriptures as a result of their work.

Out of the multitude of archaeological discoveries related to the Bible, consider a few examples to illustrate the remarkable external substantiation of biblical claims. Excavations at Nuzi (1925-41), Mari (discovered in 1933), and Alalakh (1937-39 1946-49) provide helpful background information that fits well with the Genesis stories of the patriarchal period. The Nuzi tablets and Mari letters illustrate the patriarchal customs in great detail, and the Ras Shamra tablets discovered in ancient Ugarit in Syria shed much light on Hebrew prose and poetry and Canaanite culture. The Ebla tablets discovered recently in northern Syria also affirm the antiquity and accuracy of the Book of Genesis.

Watch the video: Τι ήταν η ΕΠΟΝ; - H ιστορία ξέρει (December 2021).

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