THE1101 - The Bible: Past and Present

2016/7 Module description

StaffJonathan Morgan - Lecturer
Professor Louise Lawrence - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level4
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module description

This core module will introduce and interrogate the Bible not only as a library of ancient books reflective of the interests and ideologies of their authors and original contexts but also as a material object, icon and persistent influence (for good and ill) in contemporary cultures. Students will gain methodological skills of interpreting biblical texts through engagement with key cultural themes (ancient and modern) including religion, identity, politics, place and displacement, and body and gender. 

Module aims

This module aims to:

Introduce students to both the historical contexts in which selected books of the Bible were written and the contemporary reception of these texts in different cultural contexts.

Develop methodological and interpretative skills through close analysis of selected biblical texts and motifs in reference to broader themes permeating ancient and contemporary societies.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate knowledge of key aspects of the nature of the Bible as a library of ancient literature and a cultural object of enduring significance.
  • 2. Demonstrate awareness of key primary sources and issues in their interpretation.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Demonstrate understanding of key features of the Bible, its origins and its subsequent histories and interpretations.
  • 4. Demonstrate awareness of the issues involved in using historical sources to understand religions and identities.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 5. Communicate information about primary sources and their interpretation in lucid and logical written prose (both in creative writing and short WIKI pieces).
  • 6. Show sensitivity to the diversity of possible interpretations of significant topics and deal sensitively and generously with viewpoints different from one's own.

Syllabus plan

Weeks 1&2: 'What is the Bible?': [Sacred] Text? Translation? Material Object? Cultural Icon? 

Weeks 3&4: 'The Bible, Religions and Identities': Race; ethnicity and social groups.

Weeks 5&6: 'The Bible and Politics': Imperialism; post-colonialism; liberation and conservatism.

Weeks 7&8: 'The Bible and Place/Displacement': Land; migration; territorialism and utopia.

Weeks 9&10: 'The Bible, Bodies and Gender': Corporeality; feminism; masculinity and sexuality.  

Week 11: 'Whose Bible is it Anyway?': Reflecting on biblical heritages.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities33Presentations to the whole module group along with smaller group work and discussion.
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities1Opportunity to discuss assessment tasks
Guided independent study116Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Annotated Plan and bibliography for Virtual Letter1-6

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
WIKI contributions40100 words weekly, plus artistic posting1-6Written and oral comments
Virtual Letter601500 words1-6Written comments

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Wiki contributionsWiki contributions1-6refer/defer period
Virtual letterVirtual letter1-6refer/defer period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Barton, John, 2010. The Bible: The Basics, London: Routledge.

Barton, John and Muddiman, John, 2007. The Oxford Bible Commentary, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Beal, Timothy, 2012. The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book, Mariner Books.

Carr, David McLain and Conway, Colleen M., 2010. An introduction to the Bible: sacred texts and imperial contexts, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Clines, David J. A., 2005. The Bible and the modern world, Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix.

Crossley, James G., 2010. Reading the New Testament: contemporary approaches, New York: Routledge.

Davies, Philip., 1995 Whose Bible is it Anyway? Oneworld Publications.

Gooder, P., 2013 The Bible: A Beginner’s Guide, London: T&T Clark.

Moore, Stephen D. and Sherwood, Yvonne, 2011. The invention of the biblical scholar: a critical manifesto, Minneapolis: Fortress Press.

Sawyer, John F. A., 2012. The Blackwell companion to the Bible and Culture, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

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