in Hebrew Bible:
of the Books of Samuel
A widely ranging investigation of the reception history of the Books
of Samuel with special attention to the figures of David and Bathsheba.
Topics include early Jewish literature, medieval theology and art, Bible
illustration, reformation politics, renaissance sculpture, baroque painting,
children's literature, and contemporary novels and movies. A study of the
Bible and Western culture.
To learn a range of ways in which the Bible
has been interpreted or "received" over two thousand years, mainly in European
culture, with the Books of Samuel as exemplar.
To formulate theory which accounts for multiple
receptions of texts, especially as that theory relates to an understanding
of the Bible as Scripture.
To learn about particular interpreters and
particular reception contexts through the history of reception.
To develop critical skills for recognizing and analyzing the rhetoric of
texts and of visual communication that invoke biblical authority as a means
To develop research skills relating to the
study of the Bible and its reception.
To develop the art of writing succinct critical
analysis of written materials and oral discussion.
Before class: (i) a report of reading and
viewing (of relevant books, articles, films, etc.) in preparation for the
class; (ii) preparatory analysis of the material being discussed, including
(iii) the formulation of questions relating to issues of method or interpretation
raised by the reading and viewing. Normally about 1000 words.
After class: reflection after the class on
the cogency (or otherwise) of the discussion as a whole or of some selected
items of particular import arising from the class discussion. Normally
about 750 words.
The writing style may be informal, but not
careless. Proper paragraphing and complete sentences should be used and
care taken with spelling. Points should be made clearly and succinctly.
Pre-class entries must be completed before
class and no later than 3:00pm, Monday. Post-class entries must be completed
no later than 3:00pm Friday of the same week.
Worth 50% of final grade.
Individual and small group presentations
on particular topics.
To be arranged in consultation with the instructor.
Worth 40% of the final grade.
A critical review
(c. 2,000 words) of central issues raised in the class over the semester.
To be posted on the web site by 3:00pm, May
Worth 10% of the final grade.
including attendance, will be taken into account when determining
a final grade. This class cannot work well without sustained participation.
Selected biblical texts and secondary sources
(drawn from books, articles, films, and other visual sources) will be assigned
for each class. Keeping up with the schedule of reading/viewing will be
essential for satisfactory progress in the class. Arrangements will be
made in class for obtaining and viewing visual materials, including videos
(which will be viewed outside class times). There are no required books
as such, but reading lists will be issued in conjunction with particular
topics and these will draw on a range of primary and secondary materials.
The following schedule is tentative and may be changed in consultation
with the class members.
January 22 Renaissance
January 29 Reformation
theology and politics
February 5 No class
February 12 Medieval
theology and art
February 19 Early
Jewish and Christian literature
March 12 No class
March 19 Voltaire
and the deists
March 26 Baroque
April 2 Group
April 9 Children's
April 16 Drama
April 23 Group
presentation [Last class]
May 6 Critical
review due at 3:00pm