The Bible is not a single book, but ta biblia, the library. At the most modest estimate, the literatures of the Bible span a period of over eight hundred years. If we think of the metaphor of a library, the books in the Bible would not just be shelved in the Religion/Theology section, but also, say, Philosophy, Politics and Cultural History/Myth. The influence of these books on 'Western' culture has been immense. This is a course for those seeking basic biblical 'literacy', which is profoundly useful for studies in other disciplines (e.g. History, or Literature), as well as for students in Religious Studies. It is a course for those who think they already know the Bible (this course will help you read the Bible in different ways, with new questions) and those who have never read a Bible at all. The course gives a basic overview of the story and contexts of the books of the Bible (Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and New Testament) from Genesis to the Apocalypse of John, or from Eden to the End of the World.
This course provides a basic introduction to different sections of the biblical ‘library’, combining a general overview with in-depth study of selected passages and books.
NB: As with all Biblical Studies courses at the University of Kent, ‘Bible’ is defined in the broadest sense: the Christian and Jewish canons (73 or 66 books, though we won’t be studying all of them!) apocrypha and pseudepigrapha, and also all the ancient and modern intertexts, poems, films and novels, that inform and draw on biblical traditions.
one 2-hour lecture/seminar per week for 10 teaching weeks
Method of assessment
The focus of the course will be on the primary texts from the Bible.
The Bible with Apocrypha (NRSV)
David M. Carr and Colleen M. Conway, An Introduction to the Bible: Sacred Texts and Imperial Contexts (Wiley-Blackwell: 2010)
Howard Kee, Eric Meyers, John Rogerson, Anthony J. Saldarini (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to the Bible (Cambridge University Press, 1997)
John Barton, What is the Bible? (SPCK: 2010)
John Riches, The Bible: A Very Short Introduction (OUP: 2000)
Old Testament Guide and New Testament Guide series for each biblical book (T and T Clark, various dates)—to be available for reference.
See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
11.1 Demonstrate knowledge of the main themes and texts of the Old and New Testaments;
11.2 Demonstrate and understanding of the basic chronologies behind these texts;
11.3 Demonstrate a basic understanding of key critical issues and concepts;
11.4 Demonstrate close-reading skills.
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