The Bible's indelible mark on literature is not just in the stories that it tells, but in the way those stories are told. In this class, we will read and explore the compelling and subtle narratives of the Bible that have been so influential on the development of the Western literary tradition.
In this secular approach to a sacred text, we will examine the sophisticated psychological portrayals of characters such as Joseph, Moses and David. We will explore the relation between the Bible's charged narrative style and its understanding of the complexity and conflict inherent in human consciousness. We will pay attention to the Bible's idiosyncratic brand of irony, and its very definite but often overlooked sense of humor. We will also look at the relation between the omniscient narrator and the omnipotent deity, and we will explore how the Bible maintains a tense and masterful control of what it narrates. We will also read sections of the New Testament and look at the way that it radically re-interprets the Hebrew Bible.
No previous engagement with the text is necessary. Readings (using the RSV translation) will include the bulk of the Israelite narrative, from Genesis to 2 Kings, as well as selections from other Biblical writings including the Psalms and the Song of Songs. We will also read selections from the Gospels and other texts from the New Testament.
Sun, Sep 30, Oct 21, Nov 18, Dec 16, Feb 3 & 17, Mar 10, Apr 7 & 28: $620
Noam Scheindlin holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from CUNY. He teaches at Queens College and is a contributor to The Proust Project.
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