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CCOG for ENG 275 Winter 2024

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Course Number:
ENG 275
Course Title:
The Bible as Literature
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Explores the Bible as a literary text by discussing authorship, translation, literary forms, history, and cultural context. Discusses the Bible as a point of reference for literature as well as for other works of art. Prerequisites: (WR 115 and RD 115) or IRW 115 or equivalent placement. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

The Bible as Literature examines the way stories, characters, and idioms of the Bible become allusions and metaphors in contemporary western literature and culture. ENG 275 applies the techniques and language of literary criticism to Biblical text. The course work may include the examination of a variety of translations of the Bible and the process of canonization. The course may examine not only books from the traditional canons but also from texts not typically included in the canon such as the Apocrypha and Gnostic texts.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Analyze the Bible to identify literary forms and conventions as well as determine its relationship to history and culture.
  2. Apply concepts of literary criticism (e.g., typology, archetype, parallelism, chiastic structure) to a variety of writings including the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and Apocryphal books.
  3. Recognize the Bible’s lasting influence on other works of literature, art, music, and popular culture.
  4. Discuss and show familiarity with selected Bible texts as well as secondary biblical scholarship.
  5. Analyze a variety of English translations to understand the effects of translation from the original languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek) on the meaning and interpretation of texts.
  6. Write coherent and compelling essays that begin to explore the complex questions pertaining to the Bible.

Integrative Learning

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to reflect on one’s work or competencies to make connections between course content and lived experience.

General education philosophy statement

English and Writing courses align with the PCC General Education philosophy by providing an appreciation of writing and literature from global and personal perspectives. Students in English courses engage the imagination, critical inquiry and self‐reflection, and in the process of doing so, cultivate a more complex understanding of their own culture(s), linguistic/communication practices, and perspectives in relation to others. Because the literary arts lie at the heart of most human cultures, they are essential for understanding each other and navigating our differences. In literature classes, students explore significant texts from diverse cultures and periods in history. Students look closely at texts from a range of genres, articulating the way elements of writing, content, form, and style are interrelated, and considering how values and interpretations have changed over time and through different theoretical lenses. Students engage texts through critical analysis and creative response, learning to use evidence to support their interpretations and to navigate critical conversations. Students explore literature both as an art form designed to provoke thought and challenge social norms, and as an expression of human experience. Writing and Literature courses foster a stronger sense of engagement with history, culture, and society. Writing and Literature students develop an awareness of themselves as readers and writers in a global world, and an enlarged understanding of the relationships between language, identity, ideas, scholarship, communication, and transformation.

Course Activities and Design

The course may use lecture/discussion format, small groups, individual/group presentations, guest speakers, film. Since it may not be practical to read the entire Bible (including Apocrypha) in a ten-week course, decisions about which books of the Bible to include may be made with an eye to history, culture, philosophy, or literary impact.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Students may be asked to demonstrate their achievement of the course outcomes by writing critical essays, taking quizzes and examinations, making individual or group presentations

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  • point of view
  • tone/voice
  • narrative style
  • characterization
  • symbolism
  • imagery
  • ambiguity
  • irony
  • allusion
  • gender
  • translation
  • form/structure
  • historical context
  • multiple authorship
  • redaction
  • canon creation
  • syncretism

Competencies and Skills

  • close reading of Biblical and critical texts
  • understanding Biblical literature through social, political, artistic,
  • historical contexts
  • identification of characteristics of authorship
  • recognition of the basic characters and seminal stories of Biblical literature
  • application of literary and social criticism to Biblical literature
  • documentation of Biblical literature