THEO-011 Introduction to Biblical Literature
Spring for 2017-2018
Introduction to Biblical Literature promotes the close reading of ancient texts, first on their own terms and then in relation to how they have been interpreted over time and may be interpreted today. As such, IBL teaches students to think critically about what a text is, and how it functions for those who value it. Learning to read texts in context challenges students to question the assumptions they bring to biblical texts and to enter into an adventure of discovery of the Bible, its origins and significance over time. IBL asks students to become “strangers in a strange land” as they confront the various “distances” they experience when reading biblical texts. Meeting unfamiliar language, cultures, customs, mores, and ideas requires that students suspend their judgment about what they think they know and asks them to learn how to expect the unexpected, as they delve deeper and deeper into biblical literature and the worlds from which it emerged. In this way, IBL can be a very liberating experience for students and lays a foundation that they can rely on in other courses they will take in during their undergraduate
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Fall '17: Rasmussen A (file download)
Additional syllabi may be available in prior academic years.
THEO-011-70 Introduction to Biblical Literature
Spring for 2017-2018
No faculty information available
The collection of writings known collectively known as the Bible has for Jews and Christians the quality of sacred, revealed literature. To the extent that these works contain the unaltered message delivered by the prophets from God they are also revered by the followers of the religion of Islam. In addition to the sacred character of the Bible for the followers of Abrahamic religions, the books of the Bible have provided an unparalleled cultural context for both believers and unbelievers in many parts of the world.
The purpose of this course is to introduce the students to the Biblical texts and to the themes of God, humankind, the universe, morality, history, creation, and eschatology found in the Jewish and Christian Scriptures. Just as one does not need to be a believing Jew or Christian to profit from reading the Bible, so also this course is not limited to practicing Jews and Christians. Where appropriate, reference will be made to parallels and contrasts with the Islamic Scripture of the Qur’an.
The course will begin by looking at the question of the canon of Scripture: the development of the Jewish and Christian canons, the differences between the Jewish and Christian Bible, and of variations among the Christian (Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant) Churches.
Next will be treated the concepts of Biblical revelation and inspiration and differences between the Christian concepts and those of Islam. The historical development of Biblical books will be studied, as well as the variety of literary genres to be found in the works of the Bible. Finally, a treatment of historical and form criticism will provide the background for understanding “the intent of the author” for a sound appreciation of the Biblical message.
From this background, a selection of some of the most interesting, challenging, controversial, and influential passages and themes of the Bible will be studied.
Other academic years
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