This course is intended as a general introduction to "the English Bible" as a phenomenon in western culture -- its overall makeup and constituent parts, the cultural settings it represents or assumes, the basic contents, and its interpretations and influences through the ages to the present. Students will be expected to read representative portions of Jewish scriptures (also known as "Old Testament" among Protestant Christians), the Jewish Apocrypha (also known as "deutero-canonical" writings), and the Christian New Testament, in various English versions and to understand problems associated with their origins and transmission as well as their acquired significance. No prior knowledge is assumed, and discussions will include such matters as "where did this stuff come from?" "who put it all together?" "why have people thought it important?" and "what value can it have for me?" The focus will be especially historical and "secular" (this will not be a "sunday school" type class), but without ignoring literary and religious perspectives. The course aims at providing the students with a good basis for subsequent investigation in related areas, and with an awareness of the problems inherent in all such historical and literary research.