What are the academic aims of a literature elective in Bible?

Friday, December 13, 2002

A literature elective in the Bible would focus on the Bible as a literary text. This might include the Bible as literature and the Bible in literature. A primary goal of the course would be basic biblical literacy — a grasp of the language, major narratives, symbols and characters of the Bible. The course might also explore the influence of the Bible in classic and contemporary poems, plays and novels.

Of course, the Bible is not simply literature — for a number of religious traditions it is scripture. A “Bible Literature” course, therefore, could also include some discussion of how various religious traditions understand the text. This would require that literature teachers be adequately prepared to address in an academic and objective manner the relevant, major religious readings of the text.