RELI 271: The Bible as Literature

RELI 271-001: The Bible as Literature
(Fall 2021)

09:00 AM to 10:15 AM TR

Innovation Hall 131

Section Information for Fall 2021

RELI 271 - 001: The Bible as Literature

The Bible is a complex and fascinating anthology of ancient literature, written by many different people over the course of about 1500 years, bearing centuries of interpretation. It’s a book of laws, poetry, and short stories, with compelling settings, characters, and plots. The focus of this course will be on reading the Bible as literature, not as a religious or sacred text. Reading the Bible as literature entails a focus on the language, images, character development, metaphor, symbolism, and irony of biblical texts, as well as an investigation of the historical contexts from which the texts emerged. We’ll also grapple with the “social life” of the Bible, attending to the reception history of biblical texts in later literary and non-literary contexts (music, film, art, etc.). Over the course of the semester, we will engage a diverse array of texts from the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament as we consider the biblical writers’ creative deployment of literary forms, devices, and styles. Secondary literature will guide and introduce us to a number of ways to think about the literary interpretation and imaginative power of these texts.

Course Information from the University Catalog

Credits: 3

Analyzes the Bible as a collection of literary texts. Course readings will include selections from the Jewish Tanakh and from the Christian New Testament. Students will become familiar with contemporary scholarship on the Bible and sample the Bible's impact on the art and literature of the last millennia. Students will become conversant with concepts such as scripture, canon, source criticism, historical criticism, genre, and reception history. Limited to three attempts.
Mason Core: Literature
Schedule Type: Lecture
This course is graded on the Undergraduate Regular scale.

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