SAN JOSE STATE UNIVERSITY

COLLEGE OF HUMANITIES AND THE ARTS

DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH

Spring 2008

 

THE BIBLE AS LITERATURE, ENGL 115                            M/W 3:00-4:15; SH 238

Dr. Mary Warner                                                                     Office: FO 127

Department of English and Comparative Literature                  Office: Ph: 924-4417

Office Hrs.: M: 9:00-11:00, 4:30-5:30; T: 9:00-11:00; Th: 3:30-6:00             

email: mwarner@email.sjsu.edu

Web Page: http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/mary.warner

 

Library Liaison: Toby Matoush; Email: Toby.Matoush@sjsu.edu; Phone: 408-808-2096

 

REQUIRED TEXTS: The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha, Revised Standard Version, 3rd edition.  Coogan, Michael D., ed; Brettler, Marc Z., Carol A. Newsom, and Pheme Perkins, assoc. eds.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

The Bible and Its Influence, Cullen Schippe and Chuck Stetson, general editors, New York & Fairfax, VA: The Bible Literacy Project Publishing, 2006.

 

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Study of the Bible from the perspective of literature.  In ENGL 115, The Bible as Literature, students will examine key portions of the Bible, exploring its array of subjects, themes, literary styles and genres, and contributions to the literature of Western Civilization. (3 credits)

 

PREREQUISITES: As this is an upper division course, it is expected that you have already taken general education requirements such as ENGL 1A and 1B, and that you have already developed upper division skills as well as high standards for your written work.  In English department courses, your instructors comment not only on the content of your written work, but also on the quality of work being displayed.  All student writing should contain clear focus, correct grammar and punctuation, appropriate diction and syntax, and well-organized paragraphs.  (See the English Department Paper Evaluation Guide later in the syllabus.)

 

COURSE OBJECTIVES: Students will learn to

 

            1. read, discuss, and understand the Bible from a non-sectarian literary perspective

            2. identify, analyze, and interpret the literary devices used

            3. identify, analyze, and interpret major themes in specific books of the Bible

4. recognize the Bible's rich contribution to other major literary works and integrate this knowledge with that for other course work in the humanities

            5. produce thoughtful written work demonstrating the abilities learned in 1-4 above

 

Student Learning Goals: 

Department of English & Comparative Literature

I.  Skills

¬  Ability to read texts closely and to articulate the value of close reading in the study of literature and rhetoric

¬  Ability to explicate texts written in a wide variety of forms, styles, structures, and modes

¬  Ability to recognize and appreciate the importance of major literary genres, subgenres, and periods

¬  Ability to respond imaginatively to the content and style of texts

¬  Ability to write clearly, effectively, and imaginatively, and to adjust writing style appropriately to the content and nature of the subject

¬  Ability to develop and carry out research projects and to articulate them within appropriate conceptual and methodological frameworks, including the ability to recognize when information is needed, and to locate, evaluate, organize, and incorporate information effectively

¬  Ability to analyze texts other than literary or rhetorical:  for example, political, journalistic, commercial, technical, etc.

¬  Ability to read and speak a language other than English 

 

II.   Knowledge

¬  Understanding of the historical development of the English language and of literature written in English from Old English to the present

¬  Understanding of the relations between culture, history and texts, including ideological and political aspects of representation, economic processes of textual production, dissemination and reception, and cross-fertilization of textual representations by those of other arts:  architecture, sculpture, music, film, painting, dance, and theatre

¬  Understanding of the twofold nature of textual analysis:  1) objective study from varied analytical perspectives; 2) subjective experience of the aesthetic reality of the text

¬  Familiarity with a wide range of British and American literary works, as well as with selected authors and works of other literatures, including folk and popular forms

¬  Familiarity with a wide range of literary terms and categories relating to literary history, theory, and criticism, including figurative language and prosody

¬    Familiarity with the nature of the canon and of canon-formation, including issues of culture, history, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation

¬  Familiarity with basic practices of literary research and documentation, including electronic forms of information retrieval and communication

 

III.   Experiences

¬  Face-to-face exchange of ideas with faculty and fellow students in the classroom, in office visits, and in shared activities on and off campus

¬  Cooperative projects with other students in discussion groups, writing activities, and study sessions

¬  Cultural resources of the University: interest groups, public lectures, readings by creative writers, theatrical productions, music and dance performances

¬  Involvement in the life of the University, connection with its physical environs, participation in a dynamic, rich, diverse intellectual community

¬  Achievement of independently-conceived research projects, including the stating of a problem or issue and all steps involved in organizing, synthesizing, summarizing, and analyzing information in order to communicate conclusions

 

IV.   Understandings, Interests, and Values

¬  An enduring interest in language and literature

¬  A sense of the presence of the literary and rhetorical past

¬  Greater awareness of the depth and complexity of human existence, perceived across the boundaries of time, place, culture, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation

¬  Long-term interest and involvement in aesthetic, cultural, and intellectual matters as well as in social and political issues

¬  Understanding of the ability of great literature and of concentrated language study to awaken and challenge readers and auditors to struggle with profound questions of human identity and values

¬  A personal critical perspective, and a sense of intellectual independence and momentum

 

 

ENGL 115 specifically addresses the following Student Learning Outcomes

¬  Ability to read texts closely and to articulate the value of close reading in the

            study of literature and rhetoric

¬  Ability to explicate texts written in a wide variety of forms, styles, structures,

            and modes

¬  Ability to write clearly, effectively, and imaginatively, and to adjust writing style

            appropriately to the content and nature of the subject

¬  Understanding of the twofold nature of textual analysis:  1) objective study from varied

            analytical perspectives; 2) subjective experience of the aesthetic reality of the text

¬  Face-to-face exchange of ideas with faculty and fellow students in the classroom, in office

            visits, and in shared activities on and off campus

¬  An enduring interest in language and literature

¬  Greater awareness of the depth and complexity of human existence, perceived across the

            boundaries of time, place, culture, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation

 

The specific ways these SLOs are assessed are through

1.     The Literary Analysis paper requirement that asks students to demonstrate their ability to read texts closely, explicate texts in a variety of forms, write clearly, effectively, and imaginatively, and to understand the twofold nature of textual analysis

2.     The Key Quotes and SSW are ways for students to demonstrate the ability to do close reading and explicate texts

3.     The Bible as a literary work of such magnitude provides the context for greater awareness of the depth and complexity of human existence across boundaries of time, place, culture, race, ethnicity, and gender; further it is a text that fosters an enduring interest in language and literature

4.     Class discussions and oral presentations provide the context for face-to-face exchange of ideas with faculty and fellow students in the classroom.

 

COURSE REQUIREMENTS/EVALUATION:

           

l. Thorough and engaged reading of all assigned texts. The course's fundamental purpose is to increase students' familiarity with the literary aspects of the Bible, comprehensively, not as isolated quotations, and to this end, students must do consistent and careful reading.  l0% of the overall grade for the course is determined by participation and discussion, neither of which can be done well without doing the necessary reading.  One ñconcreteî measurement of participation will be the Key Quotes due at the beginning of each class session.

 

2. Three essays of 3-5 pages--two of the essays will come from topics connected to the study of the Old Testament, specifically the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy); the Nebiim (the Prophets)--selections from the Former Prophets: Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings; and the Latter Prophets: Amos, Hosea, Habakkuk, Jonah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel; and the Ketubim (the Writings)--including selections from Psalms and Proverbs, the book of Job, the Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes).  The third essay will be based on topics from New Testament or the Christian Foundational Writings--the Gospel According to Mark, the Gospel According to John (selections), the Acts of the Apostles, selections from Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, and Galatians; and Revelation.  Each essay is worth the following percentage of the overall course grade.  For one of the three essays, you may examine specific biblical texts and their relationship to your field of study.

                        Essay One--10%

                        Essay Two--15%

                        Essay Three--15%

 

3. You will give an oral presentation of one of your three papers--you will be able to select that paper on which you'd like to report.  Oral presentations should be 7-10 min. and should offer your insights and research findings.  Oral presentations will earn 10% of your overall grade.

 

            4. A mid-term examination that will account for 10% of the course grade.

 

5. Sustained Silent Writing (SSW)—each week we will do 20 minutes of SSW—your writing might provide the basis for one of your papers, response to readings or to ideas raised in class discussion.  Please keep a folder with the writing done in each of the SSW times and plan to submit it every other week for review.   This writing helps meet the requirement for upper level literature courses of 5000 words of writing.  The writing is done in-class only.  The SSW requirement is 15% of the course grade.

 

  1. A final examination that will account for 15% of the course grade; the exam is on

May 16, 12:15-2:30.

 

GRADING: The above requirements total 100%; I will be assigning a percent for each and averaging the scores.  The letter equivalent is as follows and allows for plus/minus grading:

            A--91-100       B--82-90          C--73-81          D--64-72         F--below 64

The Department of English reaffirms its commitment to the differential grading scale as defined in the official SJSU Catalog (ñThe Grading Systemî).  Grades issued must represent a full range of performance: A=Excellent; B=Above Average; C=Average; D=Below Average; F=Failure

Paper Evaluation Guide (Developed by the English Department)

In English Department courses, instructors will comment on and grade the quality of student writing as well as the quality of ideas being conveyed.  Student writing should exhibit correct grammar/punctuation and organized paragraphs.

The ñAî essay will

The ñBî essay will

The ñCî essay will

The ñDî essay will

The ñFî essay will

 

PARTICIPATION POLICY: According to University policy F69-24, ñStudents should attend all meetings of their classes, not only because they are responsible for material discussed therein, but because active participation is frequently essential to insure maximum benefit for all members of the class.î Because this course is predominantly discussion and lecture based, attendance and participation are essential.  The best education is more student-centered than teacher-directed, and to receive the best education, each student must be willing to make a significant contribution to the learning that happens.  Remember that 10% of the overall grade in the course is determined by participation and discussion.

 

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY POLICY: The University emphasizes responsible citizenship and an understanding of ethical choices inherent in human development.  Academic honesty and fairness foster ethical standards for all those who depend upon the integrity of the university, its courses, and its degrees.  This policy sets standards for such integrity.  The public is defrauded if faculty and/or students knowingly or unwittingly allow dishonest acts to be rewarded academically and the universityÍs degrees are compromised.

 

Plagiarism: At SJSU plagiarism is the act of representing the work of another as oneÍs own without giving appropriate credit, regardless of how that work was obtained, and submitting it to fulfill academic requirements.  Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to

            and/or the specific substance of anotherÍs work, without giving appropriate credit,

            and/or representing the product as oneÍs own work;

            computer programs, photographs, paintings, drawing, sculptures, or similar works

as oneÍs own.

 

(Adapted from the SJSU Academic Senate Policy, S04-12; please check this web site for the full policy: http://www.sa.sjsu.edu/judicial_affairs/index.html)

According to the SJSU policy, the minimum penalty for plagiarism is failure of the assignment/paper/exam.  It is your responsibility to become informed about the Academic Integrity Policy.  I am more than happy to help you learn, but if you do not do your own work, that goal cannot be accomplished. Please see me if you have any questions about documentation.

 

Campus policy in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act

"If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible, or see me during office hours.  Presidential Directive 97-03 requires that students with disabilities register with the DRC to establish a record of their disability."

 

COURSE CALENDAR: (Subject to change to better address your needs and to accommodate any outside presenters)

 

W., Jan. 23     Introduction to the course, the syllabus; Protocols for study of the Bible from a literary perspective; Introductory writing activity; Presentation of key terms and background

ASSIGNMENT: Introduction; Genesis 1-13-- and bring 2 Key Quotes to class; The Bible and Its Influence (B&IF) Chapters 1 and 2

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M., Jan. 28      Voices in the Text/Creation Stories/the "Silent Spots"--Begin discussing Genesis

1-13 and material from Chapters 1& 2 B&IF, SSW

ASSIGNMENT: Genesis 15-23, Chapters 3&4 B&IF, and bring 2 Key Quotes to class

W., Jan. 30     Video from the Genesis series

ASSIGNMENT: Cont. work on Genesis through Ch. 23, Chapters 5 & 6 B&IF; Responses to the video weÍve viewed in class; View one of the videos in the Genesis series before Feb. 11 and record notes for an oral report

******************************************************************************M., Feb. 4        Voices in the Text/Creation Stories/the "Silent Spots"—discussion of Genesis

15-23, SSW

ASSIGNMENT: Genesis 24-35 and 2 Key Quotes for class; View a video from the Genesis series before Feb. 11; Reports on Genesis videos: ñTemptation,î ñFirst Murder,î ñApocalypseî

*** First SSW check—folders due Feb. 6 ***

W., Feb. 6       Cont. discussion of Genesis 24-35, Reports on Genesis videos

ASSIGNMENT: Genesis 37-50 and 2 Key Quotes for class; Reports on

remaining Genesis videos

******************************************************************************M., Feb. 11      Oral Presentation of Genesis videos by Panels; Finish discussion of Genesis;

                        ASSIGNMENT: Exodus--Chapters 1-20—Key Quotes; Chapter 7 B&IF

*** First SSW check—folders due Feb. 13 ***

W., Feb. 13     Begin discussion of Exodus; SSW

                        ASSIGNMENT: Exodus 20-35, 40—Key Quotes

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M., Feb. 18      Essay Topics and in class work for Essay One due Feb. 27 or Mar. 3; Cont.

discussion of Exodus: the Meeting on Sinai; the Theme of Memory

ASSIGNMENT: Leviticus 1, 4, 7, 10, 12—Key Quotes

*** Second SSW check—folders due Feb. 20 ***

W., Feb. 20     the Slave mentality, Offerings, the Law and Service to God; SSW

                        ASSIGNMENT: Leviticus 19-26; Numbers 6, 8, 11, 12-17; Chapter 8 B&IF;

Essay One due Feb. 27 or Mar. 3

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M., Feb. 25      Discussion of the Books of Leviticus and Numbers

ASSIGNMENT: Numbers 20-27 – Key Quotes and Reading Logs; Essay One due Feb. 27 or Mar. 3

***Second SSW check—folders due Feb. 27***

W., Feb. 27     Cont. with Numbers

                        ASSIGNMENT: Deuteronomy 1-18 -- Key Quotes and Reading Logs;

Essay 1 (for those with Mar. 3 due date)

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M., Mar. 3       Deuteronomy and "the Threefold If;" SSW

ASSIGNMENT: Deuteronomy 19-34 – Key Quotes;

***Third SSW check—folders due Mar. 10***

W., Mar. 6      Oral Presentations of Papers; Completion of Deuteronomy;

ASSIGNMENT: Joshua 1-13 -- Key Quotes; ***Third SSW check—folders due Mar. 10 or Mar. 12***

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M., Mar. 10     the Taking of the Land—Joshua 1-13;

                        ASSIGNMENT: Joshua 20-24; Judges 1-6, 8, 11-- Key Quotes and Reading

***Third SSW check—folders due Mar. 12***

W., Mar. 12    Finish Joshua; Songs--the Song of Deborah; Jephthah's daughter; Samson; SSW

                        ASSIGNMENT: Judges 13-16, 19-21; 1 Samuel--Key Quotes; Chapter 9 B&IF;

Review for Mid-Term

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M., Mar. 17     The History Books: I Samuel/"Absalom, Absalom"; Paper topics for Essay 2—

due for All on April 2

                        ASSIGNMENT: Prepare for Mid-term;

W., Mar. 19    Mid-term Exam

ASSIGNMENT: 2 Samuel 1-24; Kings 1-4, 8, 10-13—Key Quotes; Essay 2; Chapters 10 & 11 B&IF

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W., April 2      2 Samuel and begin I Kings; SSW

ASSIGNMENT: 1 Kings 17-19, 22; 2 Kings 1-5, 23-25--Key Quotes

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M., April 7      Oral Presentations of Paper 2; Finish Kings;

                        ASSIGNMENT: Amos, Hosea, Habakkuk, Jonah-- Key Quotes; Chapter 12 & 13 B&IF

*** Fourth SSW check—folders due April 9***

W., April 9      "The Prophetic Conventions; Amos, Hosea, Habakkuk, Jonah

                        ASSIGNMENT: Isaiah 1-10, 40-66-- Key Quotes

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M., April 14    Isaiah: the Messianic Prophet; SSW

ASSIGNMENT: Jeremiah 1-15 and Ezekiel 1-10, 20-- Key Quotes and Reading

*** Fourth SSW check—folders due April 16***

W., April 16    Jeremiah and Ezekiel; Possibly start Wisdom Literature—Psalms & Proverbs, Song of Songs & Ecclesiastes;

ASSIGNMENT: Proverbs 1-8 and Psalms 1-10, 19, 23,42, 51, 89, 90, 120-130,

139, 150; Song of Songs-- Key Quotes; Chapters 14-16 B&IF

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M., April 21    The Wisdom Literature; SSW

                        ASSIGNMENT: The Book of Job—Key Quotes

*** Fifth SSW check—folders due April 23***

W., April 23    The Book of Job video lecture by Dr. Ralph Williams, the University of

                        Michigan

ASSIGNMENT: Specific Chapter of the Gospel of Mark for Oral Reading; Chapter 23 & 24 B&IF

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M., April 28    The Drama--The Gospel According to Mark;

ASSIGNMENT: selections from the Gospel According to John--Ch. 1 and 13-21—Key Quotes; Chapter 27 B&IF

*** Fifth SSW check—folders due April 30***

W., April 30    The Poetic Gospel; Topics for Paper 3; SSW

ASSIGNMENT: Acts of the Apostles; Chapters 28-30 B&IF; Paper 3 due May 7 or 12

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M., May 5       Finish Acts of the Apostles; The Ancient Form of the Letter

ASSIGNMENT: Romans 1-11; I Corinthians 1-5, 7, 11-13, 15; Galatians 4—Key Quotes; Chapters 31, 32 B&IF; Paper 3 due May 7 or 12

 

W., May 7       Finish The Letters; The Book of Revelation, SSW

ASSIGNMENT: Chapters 37-39 B&IF; SSW folders for Final Check

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M., May 12     Oral Presentation of Papers; finish The Book of Revelation

ASSIGNMENT: -- Prepare for Final Exam

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Friday, May 16           FINAL EXAM—12:15-2:30

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