i'm jewish (atheist, though). for a jew, there is no old testament. there's just the bible. it's a mixed bag at best and the only part i can imagine taking literally is the begatting chapter, since it's so boring, no one could've made it up to teach anyone anything. that doesn't mean i do take it literally; it just means nothing else lends itself at ALL to literal interpretation. anyway, so no, even had i been raised religiously, i would not have been told not to read the old testament because there's no such thing. i didn't have to be told not to read the christian bible; it was never of any interest to me. but my folks never forbade me to read anything. my mom did get a bit worried that i was reading grownup stuff at the age of eight, so she did give me some bobbsey twins and nancy drew, but they just weren't my thing. i don't remember anything at all from my dutiful reading of the former, but from nancy drew, the one book i read (the secret of larkspur lane) i learned that the larkspur is a blue flower, that amber is both a color and a substance, that some people believe in reincarnation (of which i had not previously heard) and that some people believe that a magic substance can bring the dead back to life. the "some people believe" bits didn't particularly tempt me into believing those things, myself, but i found it interesting that some people did. i have no idea what my mom would've done or said had she caught me reading the christian bible (theoretically, since, as i have said, i had no interest in it). she probably wouldn't have stopped me, but she might have had some kind of talk with me about it. i'll never know.
I was raised Jewish but never bothered to read the Torah( the Old Testament to Christians). Now that I hear what is in it=oy! Very derogatory things about women, slavery and discrimination of disabled people among other things. My secular parents celebrated a few holidays for Jews but this book was not discussed. The rabbi in my religious school turned out to be an atheist I learned years later.
I don't recall that ever being said... I do know that when I was reading the bible and asking questions I was viewed differently and basically ostracized for pointing out things that seemed odd to me and things that seemed impossible or contradictory to me... It makes sense, though, because my reading the bible was definitely the genesis of my questioning, and eventual rejection, of . #seewhatIdidthere LOL