The Bible as Literature

The Bible as Literature
Introduction to the literary forms and aesthetic strategies of the Bible.
 Hours3.0 Credit, 3.0 Lecture, 0.0 Lab
 TaughtFall, Winter
Course Outcomes


We will discover together better ways to read the Bible with the sensitivity and awareness that its superb artistry and unparalleled insight warrant, reconstructing from the textual evidence more of what is expressed and implied in this book that is the seedbed of our literature and much of our language.


We will familiarize ourselves with biblical genres and conventions ranging from parable to proverb, from typology to type scene, from paradox to parallelism in order to enhance our ability to read ourselves into biblical statements.

Personal Application

We will apply the advantages of the reading practices we discover through our Bible reading-such techniques as reading between the lines, thinking against the grain, likening to ourselves-to texts beyond the Bible, ideally as far as into daily life. We will learn to apply biblical insights to ourselves through practice in likening scriptural narrative and poetry and wisdom to our own experience.

Critical and Historical Contexts

We will expand our perceptions of biblical texts by viewing them through a wide spectrum of critical approaches and by investigating their implications through the lens of their historical context.

Written Analysis

We will enhance our ability to express our hard-earned individual insights into biblical texts by writing research-intensive essays and answering probing literary questions about the Bible.

Life-long Learning

We will in all these ways make the Bible "a source of practical wisdom, spiritual insight, and aesthetic pleasure, a vital perspective upon history and the diversity of human experience, and a guide for making ethical choices in our daily lives" not just for this class but forever, initiating a process of study of the Bible that at its best is as long and as deep as life.