Cultural Studies 1022: The Bible as Literature
Instructor: Professor Thomas Farrell (e-mail: <firstname.lastname@example.org>)
Office: H 437 (enter through H 420)
Office tel.: 726-7292 (please leave a message)
Home tel.: 525-1940
Office hours: TBA; and by appointment.
The Bible as Literature is a course in the Liberal Education Program in Category 9, Literary and Artistic Expression: Analysis and Criticism. In general, courses in the Liberal Education Program are intended to add breadth to your education. More specifically, the Bible as Literature course is intended to promote certain educational objectives: (a) to encourage you to think critically about significant ideas; (b) to provide experience in learning analytic methods of interpretation and criticism; (c) to provide an awareness of historical intellectual traditions; and (d) to provide practice in written communication. The Bible as Literature course in particular does deal with significant ideas, the critical methods for studying biblical texts developed in critical biblical scholarship, and the historical and cultural context of various biblical texts. In addition, this course provides students with practice in written communication through essay exams.
(1) Required: The Oxford Study Bible: Revised English Bible (REB).
(2) Required: Understanding the Bible (7th ed.) by Stephen L. Harris.
You are expected to bring these two textbooks with you to class. Should you come to class without them, I will ask you to leave class and mark you absent for that day. In short, they are your ticket to class; if you do not have them with you, then I will not consider you to be a student in this class.
The three essay exams will occur on the following dates:
(1) TBA (Week 5)
(2) TBA (Week 10)
(3) TBA (Final Exam Week)
The first two will count as 25% each of the final grade; the third as 50%. Blue books will be provided for the exams. The exams will be open book exams, and you may also use your class notes and notes you have made about the assigned readings. However, you may not use returned exams during a subsequent exam. The first two exams will usually not be returned for more than a week after the exam. The final exam will not be returned.
If an exam item calls for you to summarize an assigned reading, I will grade your summaries on the basis of accuracy. Inaccurate statements will count against you. If an exam item calls for you to interpret a passage from a particular standpoint (e.g., reading the text as an “object” or reading the text as the expression of a “subject”), I will assess your responses on the basis of the quality of the thought they reveal. In other words, I'll be looking to see if you understand the material and are coming to grips with it.
In all of your responses to test items, I will consider the clarity of your writing. A lack of clarity will count against you. I can't read your mind; I can only read what you have written on the paper. Consequently, you would be well advised to read over your own responses before you turn in the blue books.
Naturally I expect you to write legibly and follow the standard American conventions for spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Serious errors in mechanics (such as fused sentences, sentence fragments, and comma splices) will be considered in determining your grades.
Test accommodation is available for those students who qualify to receive it. Such students should see me in the first week. Requests for test accommodation have to be processed through the Access Center.
You are expected to attend class regularly, to be present punctually at the beginning of each class, and to remain in class until the class is dismissed. I will take roll at the beginning of each class period. If you are late for class or leave early, that will be grounds for counting you absent for the day, unless you have arranged with me beforehand to be excused. If you should happen to arrive late without having arranged beforehand to do so, you should see me immediately after class about this. If you are marked absent more than three times in the semester, that will be grounds for giving you a final grade of F for the course.
If you are sick and that takes you over three absences, I will expect you to turn in a written notification from a doctor verifying that you were sick. If something extraordinary arises that might cause you to have more than three absences, I would expect you to call me beforehand (that is, before you are absent from class) and discuss the situation with me, if it is possible for you to do so.
I may need to make some changes in the following assignments as the term proceeds; if I do, I will announce them in class.
WEEK 1: The Pentateuch
"Writing as the Expression of a Subject," The Bible as Literature: An Introduction by John B. Gabel and Charles B. Wheeler, pp. 5-9.
Required Reading: Harris, chapter 1, pp. 1-39 (skim).
WEEK 2: The Pentateuch (continued)
Required Reading: Harris, chapter 2, pp. 43-75.
Required Readings: "Introduction" to the Old Testament, REB, pp. 3-5.
"The Pentateuch," REB, pp. 7-9.
REB head note to Genesis.
Gen. 11:26-12:20; and 15:1-24:67
WEEK 3: The Pentateuch (continued)
Required Reading: Harris, chapter 4, pp. 94-129.
Required Readings: Gen. 27:1-33:20 (Jacob and Esau)
Gen. 37:1-36; and 39:1-46:34 (Joseph in Egypt)
REB head note to Exodus
Exod. 1:1-6:13 and 11:1-18:27
WEEK 4: The Pentateuch (continued)
Required Reading: Harris, chapter 3, pp. 76-93; chapter 4, pp.129-144.
Required Reading: "Torah and Covenant," REB, pp. *154-163.
Required Readings: REB head notes to Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
Exod. 1:1-6:13 (Call of Moses)
11:1-18:27 (Passover and Exodus from Egypt)
20:1-26 (The Decalogue)
21:1-23:33 (Book of the Covenant)
24:1-18 (Covenant Sealed)
32:1-34:35 (The Golden Calf; The Covenant Restored)
Lev. 19:15-18 (cf. Mt. 22:34-40; Mk. 12:28-34; Lk. 10:25-28)
Num. 22:1-25:18 (Balaam) (cf. 2Pet. 2:15; Jude 11; Rev. 2:14)
Num. 31:1-20 (War on Midian; Death of Balaam)
WEEK 5: The Former Prophets
Required Reading: Harris, chapter 5, pp. 159-185.
Required Readings: REB head notes to Joshua, Judges, 1 Samuel, and 2 Samuel.
WEEK 6: The Former Prophets (continued)
Required Reading: Harris, chapter 5, pp. 185-209.
Required Readings: REB head notes to 1 Kings and 2 Kings.
WEEK 7: The Latter Prophets
Required Reading: Harris, chapter 6, pp. 210-223.
Required Readings: REB head notes to Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, and Micah.
WEEK 8: The Book of Isaiah (continued)
(The end of Week 8 is the last day for dropping a course without penalty.)
Required Reading: Harris, chapter 6, pp. 223-230, 242-246.
Required Readings: First Isaiah
WEEK 9: The Writings
Required Reading: Harris, chapter 7, pp. 255-262, 268-272, 287-291.
Required Readings: REB head notes to Ruth, Song of Songs, and Proverbs.
Song of Songs (all)
WEEK 10: The Writings (continued)
Required Reading: Harris, chapter 7, pp. 283-290.
Required Readings: REB head notes to Job and Ecclesiastes.
WEEK 11: The Intertestamental Period
Required Reading: Harris, chapter 9, pp. 348-383.
Required Reading: Harris, chapter 10, pp. 387-404.
Required Reading: Harris, chapter 11, pp. 488-510 (the historical Jesus).
WEEK 12: The Pauline Letters
Required Reading: Harris, chapter 12, pp. 527-558.
Required Readings: REB head notes to Romans, 1 Corinthians, Galatians, and 1 Thessalonians.
1 Thessalonians (all)
WEEK 13: The Synoptic Gospels
Required Reading: Harris, chapter 10, pp. 387-421.
Required Readings: "Introduction" to the NT and "The Gospels," REB, pp. 1261-1265.
REB head note to the Gospel of Mark.
The Gospel of Mark (all)
REB head notes to the Letters of James and 1 John.
1 John (all)
WEEK 14: The Gospel of John
Required Reading: Harris, chapter 10, pp. 457-475.
Required Readings: REB head note to the Gospel of John.
The Gospel of John (all)
WEEK 15: The Gospel of John
Required Readings: The Gospel of John
Review for final exam.
FINAL EXAM PERIOD: TBA
Blue books will be provided for the exam.