This course is an introduction to the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. No previous knowledge of the Bible is necessary. The goal of the course is twofold: first, to become familiar with a text that was, in an analogy of Harold Bloom’s, a musical instrument much loved by other poets; and second, to reflect on different ways of considering God and the implications of those different ways of considering God for understanding man’s place in the universe. All the time, however, that we are talking in this analytical, academic, and dispassionate way, we will be reminding ourselves that in the eyes of believers were are doing something profane; as W.H. Auden said, he didn’t want to have much to do with those who “read the Bible for its prose.” The text used will be the King James version of the Bible, which, although it is known to have mistranslations and words that became obsolete long ago, is nevertheless the instrument of choice for most English poets. Students will also read Gilgamesh.
The text ordered for the course is The King James Study Bible published by Zondervan, which can be found at websites on the internet (e.g. Amazon, Half.com and so forth). Please make sure you are getting the KJV and not the NIV. The text for Gilgamesh is the Penguin edition, translated by Sandars. 2 short papers, a midterm, a final.