Honors | The Bible and It's Interpreters
H203 | 0011 | Weitzman


Topics courses open to Honors College freshmen and sophomores only.
H203 topics carry COAS Arts and Humanities credit.

This section also meets with H227 which does not carry COAS topics

Despite its age, the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament remains one of the
most influential texts in our culture. It is also one of the most
controversial. How did the Bible achieve this status. How has it
managed to remain meaningful for so long and for so many? Why has the
search for the Bible's meaning generated so much controversy?

"The Bible and its Interpreters" will examine these questions by
exploring how Genesis and Exodus, the first two books of the bible,
have been read by different interpreters over the centuries--ancient
readers and modern critical scholars, Jews and Christians,
fundamentalists and feminists. We will not only read Genesis and
Exodus itself; we will also look at novels, poems, songs, film and
other ways in which people have interpreted the Bible or tried to
relate it to their own lives. Our goal is not only to learn about the
Bible and its role in our culture, but also to explore the act of
interpretation itself.

"The Bible and its Interpreters" will involve several short written
assignments tied to course readings or other materials examined in
class (art, film). Some of these exercises will be analytical
(explicating a biblical episode, contextualizing an act of
interpretation); some creative (adopting the persona of a famous
interpreter and reading a biblical text from his or her perspective).
There will also be a fieldwork project in which students observe and
analyze a living religious community as its interprets the Bible.

Required Texts:

1)	The Harper-Collins Study Bible
2)	James Kugel, The Bible As It Was (Cambridge, 1997)
3)	Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
4)	John Steinbeck, East of Eden
5)	Nora Neal Hurston, Moses, Man of the Mountain
6)	Julian Barnes, A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters

Please note that this is an honors version of a TOPICS course which I
have taught before as a regular course. For the honors version of this
course, I have reinstated the fieldwork project which did not work so
well in the regular course because it was too large for this kind of
exercise. I have also eliminated exams in favor of additional writing
assignments, and have increased the complexity of the reading
assignments slightly.