Friday, April 15, 2011

The Bible as the Root of Western Literature

The Modern Scholar: The Bible as the Root of Western Literature - Stories, Poems and Parables - 14 Lectures (Includes Course Guide)
The Bible has figured prominently in our historical literature. This course focuses on the "literature" of the Bible and some of its influences on modern English-language literary work. It focuses on the historical factors and literary traditions that were involved in the creation of the bible. The primary focus is on the more "literary" sections of the bible, rather than the "stories".

While he does briefly mention a few "modern" literary works that are tied to the biblical works, this seemed rather shallow. I would have loved to see more mention and connection with English literature in a course that is showing the "root" of a broad literature tradition.

Some sections, such as the lecture on Paul, however, did do a good job of providing the relationship to literature. Paul's epistles present the basis for the primacy of the "spirit of the law" over the "letter of the law", and many common literature "heroes".

This course could benefit from a little more time. While it spent a while zooming through the historical literary basis of the bible, there was a lot more that it could have done to help frame it as the influence of literature. There was little mention of the "stories" of the Bible and how they influenced literature. The themes and styles only made brief appearances, and only a small handful of "Bible-influenced" literature was mentioned. While it had good potential, the course didn't quite live up to it.

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