English 210 Bible as Literature

In Process

J. Crain

Department of English, Foreign Languages, and Journalism

Liberal Arts Division

1-1:50 MWF MC 211

Office Hours: MWF 10-12 SS/C 208N

email: crain@griffon.missouriwestern.edu



Bible as Literature Students will look at the Bible in the same way one would look at any other anthology of literature, and will come to understand the Bible as writings produced by real people who lived in historical times, containing genealogies, laws, letters, royal decrees, instructions for building, prayers, proverbial wisdom, prophetic messages, historical narratives, tribals, lists, archival data, ritual regulations, and other kinds of material more difficult to classify. Students will learn about Biblical forms such as historical recitals, folktales, cultic poems, laments, blessings, convenant renewals, prophetic oracles, wisdom and apocalyptic literature, narratives (etiologies, birth, miracles, theophanies, hero stories), parables, pronouncements, stories of healing, sayings, beatitudes, legal commentary, allegories, and commissionings. They will also learn about literary devices employed, including metaphor, simile, symbolism, allegory, personification, irony, puns, and parallelism.

While the course is introductory and requires no specific pre-knowledge, the content of the course is by nature challenging. Students are expected to complete Bible readings by the date of assigned discussion. In addition, the course requires research and independent work. Students should expect to spend at least two hours of study in preparation for each class. Additionally, students will want to schedule some tie when they can use computers to access the World Wide Web. Computer labs on campus provide access to the Internet; although platforms differ (giving students a Windows or Mac environment), programs are similar and can be navigated easily. Lab assistants are generally available in campus labs to help students become comfortable in individual environments. Generally, floppy disks initialized for an IBM-type computer will be recognized across both platforms. Students may want to note that Microsoft Office is being used in both settings.


Required Texts:

Bible, translation of choice, preferably with annotation and helps; professor uses the Oxford Revised Standard Version. Texts with Apocrypha are encouraged.

Students will also be expected to explore resources easily available on the World Wide Web, use HyperBible as a research tool, and begin to appreciate the information available on CDs. The following two pages serve as a start into the Web. You will discover a wealth of information and tools which will supplement your study in this class, including online Bible translations and texts. The student should, however, be cautioned to be on alert for biased materials and to keep research tempered. Behavior in class should include bracketing of incoming information for careful reflection; all students are to be respected, and courtesy should prevail.

Bible Study

The Bible as Literature



bulletLearn what the Bible contains.
bulletAppreciate the differences between various kinds of biblical works, including differences in purpose.
bulletGain a sense of the unity and diversity of the Bible.
bulletSample various works in the Bible.
bulletDevelop a sense of history as thematically the Bible moves from the universal to the particular and back to the universal.
bulletDevelop some sense of the religious world view of the various works in the Bible.
bulletBe introduced to the major theories of literary development of the Bible.
bulletGain appreciation for a view of human development that begins in history and ends in post-history while exploring human boundaries.




Students with any disability which will adversely affect performance in the class should notify the professor within the first week of classes in writing. This writing should describe the disability and likely impact upon performance. Students with confirmed disabilities will be provided appropriate assistance or directed to appropriate support services. They should not, however, expect a less rigorous course of study.


Students are expected to be in class for all sessions for the appropriate time. Students missing more than four classes should expect to receive no higher than a C in the course, and they will incur the added responsibility of demonstrating they have earned this C.


All work must be original; students can best demonstrate this originality by tracking their work through the planning, drafting, revising, and editing process.

Plagiarism Policy



bulletTo read all Biblical materials in advance of discussion schedule.
bulletTo participate in class by coming fully able to discuss all readings assigned; reading is extensive.
bulletTo prepare an outline for each assigned book for reading and have it available in class on the day discussion begins. These outlines will be collected from each student to confirm completion of required work; students will want then to make two copies, retaining one for personal use and for inclusion in class folders. This collection of outlines will receive one grade.
bulletTo participate in a group with responsibility to combine outlines into a master document. These master documents will be collected on due dates but only the completed collection of master documents will receive a group grade.
bulletTo prepare a personal study guide for approaching the Bible as a whole; this guide should provide a page of contents and be logically arranged into history, contributing civilizations, books outlines, charts, and so forth. It is expected that the student will use the WWW as a rich resource for personal study. All materials used must be carefully documented. The personal study guide will receive one letter grade.
bulletTo demonstrate recall of significant facts relevant to an understanding of the Bible as a collection of books on a mid-term and final examination.
bulletTo complete one 7-10 page researched, reflective paper which focuses on the specific contribution of a civilization (Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans) to the Hebrew faith and the Christian development of that tradition. This paper must be grammatically correct and properly documented. It is expected that students will use resources from the WWW as well as traditional sources. Seven to ten resources should be carefully interwoven into a paper which presents and defends a clear, limited thesis. The purpose of this assignment is to ecnourage general reading about the civilization, but the paper itself should specify a specific contribution made to the Hebrew-Christian faith and defend it with details.


Specific Requirements:

  1. Outlines of all books assigned, due in class with copy to professor; collection of outlines will receive 1 grade.
  2. Combined outlines (group work, receives 1 group grade: this combined work is to merge individual work, creating best possible approach; outlines are to be interpretive, not simply taken from another source).
  3. Individual Study Guides (2 grades: content, comprehensiveness); study guide should include a completed listing of URLs useful for Bible Study.
  4. Mid-term Examination (1 grade)
  5. Research Paper (1 grade)
  6. Final Examination (1 grade)


Final Grade Determination:

  1. Collection of Outlines=Grade 1
  2. Group Outlines= Grade 2 (Group)
  3. Study Guides=Grades 3 and 4
  4. Mid-term Examination=Grade 5
  5. Research Paper=Grade 6
  6. Final Examination=1 Grade 7

All grades will be averaged into final course grade.



(Generally, Mondays will be devoted to class discussion, group work with Bible book outlines; Wednesdays will be devoted to lecture-spiced instruction inter-spliced with materials from the Web; and Fridays will allow students to use class computers to work with HyperBible and to access Web materials. This schedule contains some links at the beginning of the course to provide students a starting point on the Web; please be patient--pages change, disappearing over night, it seems.


25 Classes Begin, Introduction

27 Lecture/HyperBible/Web: Introduction to Bible and Genesis: Focus on Beginnings and History; Bible as Literature, Five Reasons to Read the Bible, Introduction to Bible History

29 HyperBible and Web Work Highlights in History



1 Bible Outlines Work

3 Lecture/HyperBible/Web, Bible Overview

5 HyperBible and Web Work, Chronology, Names of God


8 Bible Outlines Work Revelation

10 Lecture/HyperBible/Web, Rulers, Hebrew Family

12 HyperBible/Web


15 Bible Outlines Work Deuteronomy

17 Lecture/HyperBible/Web, Ancient Religions

19 HyperBible/Web


22 Bible Outlines Work Hebrews and Romans

24 Lecture/HyperBible/Web

26 HyperBible/Web


29 Bible Outlines Work Matthew, Mark, Luke


1 Lecture/HyperBible/Web

3 Student Activity Day, HyperBible/Web


6 Bible Outlines Work Judges, I, II Samuel

8 Lecture/HyperBible/Web

10 HyperBible/Web


13 Bible Outlines Work I, II Kings

15 Lecture/HyperBible/Web

17 HyperBible/Web Mid-term Examination


20 Bible Outlines Work I, II Kings

22 Mid-term Grades, Lecture/HyperBible/Web

24 HyperBible/Web


27 Bible Outlines Work Isaiah

29 Preregistration Advisement, Lecture/HyperBible/Web

31 Last Day to Drop, HyperBible/Web



3 Remote Registration 3-21, Bible Outlines Work Jeremiah

5 Lecture/HyperBible/Web

7 HyperBible/Web


10 Bible Outlines Work Ezekiel

12 Lecture/HyperBible/Web

14 HyperBible/Web


17 Bible Outlines Work, Minor Prophets (2 outlines of 9)

Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habbakuk, Zephaniah

19 Lecture/HyperBible/Web

21 HyperBible/Web Research Papers Due


24 Collection of Outlines Due

(25 Thanksgiving begins at 4:30; classes resume December 1)


1 Bible Outlines Work, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi (1 of 3) Combined Outlines Due

3 Lecture/HyperBible/Web

5 HyperBible/Web Personal Study Guides Due

(Last Day Class Dec 6)


8 (Final Exams Begin)



(Final Exams end 13)


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