Are Biblical Allusions Lost Today?

Are biblical allusions lost today?

There are several biblical allusions in contemporary literary and cinematic works; they are discussed in this blog every week.  But with the decline of biblical literacy, are those themes even recognized any more by the reader or moviegoer? aslnajdgskjg

Early 19th Century literary works, poetry, speeches, and songs often alluded to themes from the Bible.  Having said that, the target audience of that period also attended Church more frequently and studied the Bible (and it was just the King James Bible) more often than today.  Therefore, one can infer that biblical allusions resonated with the 19th century audience due to their shared experiences from church and Bible study.biblical allusion cartoon

According to several polling sources, today’s interest in faith is on the rise, but biblical knowledge has either stagnated or is on the decline:

While 92% of America owns a Bible and 25,000,000 copies are sold a year in the US

59% read the Bible

80% believe the Bible is too hard to understand

Examples of people not being able to name the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, believing Joan of Arc was married to Noah, thinking that Sodom and Gomorrah were married, only knowing 5 of the 10 commandments, and either not knowing or getting Biblical stories wrong are strewn throughout the surveys. 4372269765_290efef233

So the question becomes, should writers still allude to biblical themes in their works?  Do those allusions still connect or resonate with the reader?  Do other religions or more humanist themes draw a more common thread with today’s audience?  As always I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

Posted on June 14, 2013, in Books, Current Events, Movies and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Ah! Very interesting topic.

    The Bible and its teaching were very much so a part of society in the past. Learned persons were very aware of its teachings–even if they were non-believers! But, unfortunately, as a nation, we have moved away from its teachings.

    So, should Biblical themes be used? Absolutely. C.S. Lewis did an excellent job in The Chronicles of Narnia. While Biblical themes and teachings are quite common in all seven books, awareness of the themes is not needed in order to enjoy the story! Of course, if the reader is aware, the story is significantly enhanced, but still…the story is enjoyable enough to stand on its own.

  2. Spike Cordiner

    I think there’s no problem with using biblical allusions. To me it’s a little like having extra content on a DVD 🙂 Whilst not all of the audience will necessarily get them, it will provide a richer experience for those that do. That said, one could also include humanist themes that relate to the same subject matter so that a wider audience gets that richer experience. Both together allows both groups to reach the same understanding from different starting points.

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