In this course, we will analyze stories from the Hebrew Bible, “Apocrypha,” and New Testament from the perspective of their narrative artistry, approaching biblical literature as literature. On the one hand, we will pursue close readings of primary texts with the aim of opening a window onto the conceptual worlds of biblical authors/redactors and their original readers/hearers. Throughout the long histories of Judaism and Christianity, biblical stories have been told and retold, interpreted and reinterpreted, such that it can prove difficult to extricate them from later traditions about them. A literary approach may help us to encounter these ancient books anew, insofar as it pushes us to be attentive to details such as plot and characterization, alert to what is written no less than what is left unsaid, and attuned to authorial/editorial choices as they shape the experience of the reader.
On the other hand, our focus on biblical narratives will occasion reflection on the formative (and enduring) influence of stories from the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, as well as “Apocrypha,” on the Western literary tradition. Even apart from their privileged place in certain religious contexts, these books have played a key role in shaping modern Western assumptions and expectations about stories and writing, while providing precedents and paradigms for a number of literary genres, tropes, characters, and conventions. Accordingly, this course will involve close readings of selected biblical stories, but also study of the discourse about biblical narrative among modern literary critics.
The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty: (1) Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one's own or for which other credit has been obtained. (2) Improper collaboration in group work. (3) Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.
Please be aware that Plagiarism includes quoting and paraphrasing other people’s writings or ideas – whether from a book, commentary, website, etc. – without proper citation of the author, book, URL, or so on. I cannot stress this enough: whenever in doubt, always add a citation making explicit reference to where specifically you got your information.