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ENGL 217 The English Bible as Literature

Description: The English Bible as Literature studies the King James version of the English Bible as literature, providing necessary background to understand the books of the Bible in historical and cultural context, including the questions of authorship, canonization, and translation. Building on this background, the course emphasizes the types of literature to be found in the Bible, e.g., narrative, poetry, biography, history, epistolary writing, wisdom literature, prophetic literature, and apocalyptic literature. In addition, the course explores the influence the Bible has had on other literature and on different disciplines, such as art, music, film, and contemporary popular culture.

Prerequisite:  Eligibility to enroll in ENGL 217 is based on successful completion of ENGL-121. (3 hours weekly).

Overall Course Objectives:

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Recognize literary terms, concepts, critical strategies and stylistic characters in the texts studied.
  2.  Demonstrate critical and independent thinking in the interpretation of texts.
  3. Write analytically about literary works, using appropriate research and documentation.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of ways the literature studied reflects its intellectual, social, historical and cultural contexts.
  5. Evaluate the power of literature to address personal values and goals and to challenge human endeavors.
  6. Describe the impact of the English Bible on different fields, such as other literature, art, music, and contemporary popular culture.
  7. Apply critical judgment and aesthetic standards in evaluating works of art, music, and film as reflections of biblical influence.

Major Topics:

  1. Historical background of the Old and New Testaments
  2. Canonization of the Old and New Testaments, including comparison of Jewish and Christian canons
  3. The process of translation of the Bible into English, with special emphasis on the development of the King James Version of the Bible
  4. Biblical narrative
  5. Biblical poetry
  6. Other genres: e.g, history, biography, epistolary writing, apocalyptic writing, wisdom literature, prophetic literature, satire.
  7. Influence of the Bible in other literature and other disciplines, i.e., film, art, music, and contemporary popular culture.

Other Course Information

ENGL-217 is a Literature, Humanities and Fine Arts Core course and a Literature, Humanities, Fine Arts, and Arts and Sciences elective.

Course Orientation:

The course does not currently require a face-to-face orientation.

Course Requirements:

            --Review the “what you should know before you register” section of the eLearning Homepage.
            --Weekly discussion postings on reading assignments
            --Weekly quizzes on reading assignments
            --Midterm and Final Examination
            --One 4-5 page formal essay

Texts and Materials Required:

The Bible: Authorized King James Version with Apocrypha.  Oxford World’s Classics.

New York: Oxford University Press, or later.

Gabel, John B., Charles B. Wheeler, Anthony D. York, and David Citino.  The Bible as Literature: an Introduction., New York, Oxford University Press, 2006 or later.

Technical Requirements and Plug-Ins:

Review the Technical Requirements link above. Use the Plug-Ins link above to download and install the following for this Course:

Acrobat Viewer
PowerPoint Viewer, if you don't have the full version of Microsoft PowerPoint
Word-Viewer, if you don't have the fulll version of Microsoft Word


For purposes of verification and assessing learning outcomes, this course has a portion of the midterm and final examinations proctored at the HCC Test Center for students in the local region or at a regional institution for remote students.  The exam will have a flexible window of time during which it needs to be taken rather than a single date and time.

If you have any questions or comments about this course, please send a message to


Student Profile - Maribel