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ENGL 153/153W: Introduction to the Bible

E. Gordon Whatley

(Submission #181)

Course Description

One of history’s richest and most influential documentary sources of religious belief and practice, and of ethical and cultural values, is the Judeo-Christian Bible. It constitutes a challenging but stimulating and diverse body of material for exploring how religious beliefs, ethical values and moral choices are expressed both overtly in the form of laws, precepts, prophecies and parables, or are encoded or implied in copiously varied narrative form and richly meaningful “story.” To study biblical narrative critically and historically engages students, at the most fundamental level, with the study of “culture and values.” English 153 introduces the student to the Bible (both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament) and to some of the literary and cultural methods and approaches used to study it today. The texts, composed over many hundreds of years, were written and redacted to reflect the shifting cultural situations and values of their storytellers and editors, situations we can reconstruct with the aid of the texts themselves. We shall be reading narratives, prophecies, poetry, wisdom literature and religious doctrine. As we read these texts we shall be thinking about how the Biblical texts might have come into being and been transmitted; the kinds of cultural and sociopolitical roles they might have played in their original contexts; how they attempt to move or affect their audiences, how various readers have responded and reacted to them; how they work as stories and poems; and how they have been taken up into the literary and cultural traditions of the West, and reinterpreted, used as the bases of literary texts by such writers as Milton, Melville, Morrison.


Area of Knowledge and Inquiry: Culture and Values (CV)
Context of Experience: World Cultures (WC)
Extended Requirement: Pre-Industrial Society (PI)

Additional Course information

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: English 110
Existing Course: Existing
Existing Course Number: English 153
Course Anticipated to be offered: Every Semester
Other (if specified): 
Number of Sections: 1
Number of Seats: 35


[Justification, Materials, Assessment, Administration (DOC)]   [Syllabus/Syllabi (DOCX)]  

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