ENG-245: The Bible as Literature

Liberal Arts
Academic Level
Course Subject
Course Number
Course Title
The Bible as Literature
Credit Hours
Instructor Contact Hours Per Semester
47.00 (for 15-week classes)
Student Contact Hours Per Semester
47.00 (for 15-week classes)
Grading Method
ENG-131 with a C grade or better (Note: A "C-" grade is not transferable and is not accepted by some programs at HFC.)
Catalog Course Description

Focuses on reading, discussion, and written analysis of major literary selections from the Hebrew and Christian bibles. The Bible will be studied not as a religious document but as literary text and a source of ideas and styles reflected in various works of world literature.

Goals, Topics, and Objectives

Core Course Topics
  1. Introduction to literary terms and methods of discussing literature.
  2. Biblical allusion and the influence of the Hebrew and Christian bibles on world literature.
  3. The Hebrew bible

    a. Genesis, Gilgamesh; b. Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; c. Psalms, Song of Songs; d. Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings; e. Ecclesiastes, Proverbs; f. Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Daniel; g. Jonah, Ruth, Esther; h. Job.

  4. The Christian bible

    a. The four Gospels, b. The letters of Paul, c. The Book of Revelations.

Core Course Learning Objectives (Separated)

Students should be able to accomplish the following: 1. Formulate an interpretive thesis (as opposed to one which merely reports something factual about a biblical text). 2. Compose an essay which either

  • analyzes a biblical text, for example by focusing on literary elements such as theme, character, setting, point of view, plot, imagery, metaphor, symbolism, etc., or
  • analyzes the characteristic themes, features, and / or techniques of a given biblical writer's works, or
  • analyzes more than one biblical text text by comparing and contrasting them.
  1. Identify major figures, settings, and artistic devices of the Hebrew and Christian bibles .
  2. Explain the history of canon formation, textual scholarship, translation into English, and interpretation of the Hebrew and Christian bibles.
  3. Analyze the impact of the Hebrew and Christian bibles on world literature, history, and culture.
General Information

Note that a grade of C- is not transferrable and is not accepted by some programs at HFC

Assessment and Requirements

Assessment of Academic Achievement


Assessment may include (but need not be limited to) quizzes, class participation, essays, and exams. But assessment must include a minimum of 2,000 words of formal literary analysis.


  1. Students will write at least one out-of-class essay of literary analysis that is at least 1,200 words in length.
  2. Students will take at least one written exam which requires them to analyze literature; whether a single essay or multiple shorter responses, this expository component will count for at least half of the credit for that exam.
General Course Requirements and Recommendations


  1. Students will read substantial and representative selections from the Hebrew and Christian bibles.

  2. Students will read a substantial and representative selection of biblical passages that explore themes such as good, evil, love, war, family, wisdom, sex, death, faith, despair, power, justice, success, knowledge, deception, beauty, gender, ethnicity, race, and class.

  3. Students will read at least three literary passages that centrally employ a biblical allusion.

  4. Students will regularly engage in thoughtful discussion of the assigned readings.

  5. Students will study terms that are essential to an introductory-level understanding of biblical literature, such as testament, literature, genre, myth, allusion, epic, plot, character, setting, theme, allegory, simile, metaphor, irony, proverb, prophecy, dramatic narrative, epistle, parable, midrash, apocalypse, millennium, exegesis, Pentateuch, Apocyrpha, Synoptics, and Wisdom.

  6. Students will study (through assigned readings and/or classroom discussion) the cultural contexts from which biblical literature emerges.


  1. Students should learn appropriate information about methods for determining the authorship of various biblical texts.

  2. Students should take quizzes on assigned readings.

  3. Students should keep a journal in which they record their responses to assigned readings and class discussions.

  4. Students should learn to place the major assigned writers and texts on an historical time line.

  5. Students should satisfactorily read at least one biblical passage aloud, either in class or in the instructor’s office.

  6. Instructors should welcome and support the diverse identities, backgrounds, and academic experience of our students as essential foundations for college community.


General Education Categories
  • Humanities and Fine Arts
Institutional Outcomes
  • Humanities
MTA Categories
  • Category 5: Humanities and Fine Arts

Approval Dates

Effective Term
Fall 2019
ILT Approval Date
AALC Approval Date
Curriculum Committee Approval Date