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English 2280

The English Bible


Credit hours: 3
GEC categories: 2.C.1., Arts & Humanities: Literature
Prerequisites: English 1110 or equivalent, or by instructor permission

Text Books:

Title Author(s) Publisher ISBN
The Bible edited by David Norton Penguin, 2006 0141441518

Example Syllabus:
Website: https://english.osu.edu/people/jones-0

Course Objectives: English departments offer courses in the Bible primarily because of its reception history: the Bible has influenced Western culture more than any other book, and literatures written in English tend to reflect this. Such literatures are suffused with re-writings of, allusions to, and more subtle echoes of the Bible—especially the King James Version of the Bible. Thus the primary goal of this course is for students to gain a working familiarity with the stories, poetry, and letters of the King James Bible, including its diction and cadences, so that when students encounter echoes of these texts in other kinds of literature they will be better able to recognize and interpret such literary uses of the Bible.

In keeping with this goal, students will learn about some of the most influential ways in which the Bible has been interpreted, which include various spiritual and secular ways of interpreting biblical texts. Both spiritual and secular interpretations have influenced literary echoes of the Bible. If you do not feel comfortable considering and discussing both spiritual and secular ways of interpreting the Bible, then please do not enroll in this course.

Please also be warned that, for many people, the Bible is both strangely familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. Do not expect that your prior knowledge of the Bible will enable you to pass this course. Students usually earn high grades in this course only if they do the reading and attend class regularly.

English 2280 can fulfill category 2.C.1. of the General Education Curriculum: Arts and Humanities: Literature.


Students evaluate significant texts in order to develop capacities for aesthetic and historical response and judgment; interpretation and evaluation; and critical listening, reading, seeing, thinking, and writing.

Expected Learning Outcomes:

1.Students analyze, interpret, and critique significant literary works.

2.Through reading, discussing, and writing about literature, students appraise and evaluate the personal and social values of their own and other cultures.

Course Content: The Bible (the King James Bible, Penguin edition, edited by David Norton; ISBN 0141441518). I recommend that you use this edition of the King James Version of the Bible in our class. You may use other versions or editions, but the midterms and final exam will ask you to identify passages from this edition of the King James Bible; studying other versions may therefore put you at a disadvantage.

Method of Presentation: Group discussion and mini-lectures.

Method of Evaluation: Reading quizzes, two midterms, and a final exam.


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