English | Literature of the Bible
L367 | 13216 | Nick Williams

Nick Williams

1:00p-2:15p TR (30 students) 3 cr., A&H.

The Bible has long been recognized as the most important source of
Western literary tradition, the “Great Code of Art,” as William
Blake called it. But until fairly recently, little attention has
been paid to the literary qualities of the Bible’s own stories,
poems, proverbs, etc. This course is intended as both an
introduction to the critical movement which studies “the Bible as
Literature” (and thus features some critical reading drawn from that
movement) and an opportunity to think and talk about the literary
aspects of this important book, a book which I hope will emerge as
altogether more unusual, stranger, than we might initially think. In
addition, during one week we’ll consider the ways that more
conventionally “literary” texts transform biblical accounts, by
reading David Maine’s The Book of Samson, a retelling of the story
of Samson.  Assignments will include 2 interpretive essays, some
smaller writing assignments, a mid-term and a final. Warning: The
instructor of this course assumes no doctrinal perspective on the
Bible or its status as the inerrant word of God. Questions of faith
and religion are not part of an understanding of the Bible as a work
of literature. Both believers and non-believers in the Bible’s
holiness are welcome in the class, but students who cannot discuss
or think about biblical texts apart from their status as sacred
truth should not take a course such as this one