PART 1: Lesson Background
This lesson would be taught to high-schoolers in either a comparative religion class, literature class, or a religion class for a faith-based school. The text requires some analysis, contextualization, and critical reading, so I would lean toward teaching this to later grades
Lesson Context and Construction
This lesson could be taught in a number of different contexts depending on the class. I think it fits best into an unit constructed around how the Bible was written, or how sacred books are written. In this case I would place this lesson midway or toward the end of a unit designed around the writing and canonization of Biblical texts.
The lesson would be centered around an essential question: What can non-canonical texts tell us about the lessons readers of the Bible are meant to understand? Students will perform close reading of three texts (the book of Genesis and two pseudepigraphal texts), and compare their stories as a group using prompts and a collaborative board. Finally, after comparisons are made, students will provide a two-paragraph written response to the questions:
– Based on our readings and comparisons, why do you think the pseudepigraphal texts were left out of the Bible? What lessons did they teach, or themes did they have that orthodox Christians didn’t like?
Students are given three texts, all relating to the fall of Adam and Even from the Garden of Eden as told from three different religious texts. They should perform a close reading of each text (either as pre-class homework as an asynchronous lesson before class time) and think about the following questions as they do so:
- What is the “lesson” of this passage?
- What does this passage tell us about the role of Adam and Eve?
- What does this passage tell us about the role of Satan?
- What causes the main character(s) to lose favor with God?
Students will hopefully see some stark differences in the way each passage answers these questions.
PART 2: Asynchronous Readings
Reading 1: Book of Genesis, Chapter 3, Verses 1 – 24
Reading 2: Vita Adae et Evae, Verses 12.1 – 21.3
Reading 3: The Apocalypsis Mosis, Verses XV 1 – XXX 1
PART 3: Group Discussion and Analysis
The class should discuss as a whole the different aspects of the texts that stood out while reading. As a class, fill out the chart provided below in order to both facilitate discussion and check for understanding.
Finally, pose students the final two questions as a 2 paragraph short response they can work on during class, so that they have access to the chart. The short response could also be provided as homework, with the chart shared (or not, depending on the desired level of difficulty).