The goal of this audio course is to provide listeners with a literary and historical overview of the Bible, from its opening in Genesis to its ending in the Book of Revelation, and also with a sense of some of the ways in which the Bible has influenced the literary traditions of the West. We’ll be exploring key scenes, stories, forms, and books of the Bible through the methods of literary and cultural analysis. We’ll be asking questions such as: what, in literary terms, might a Biblical story mean? How does its form and style contribute to its meaning? How has the story been read by other readers, from influential theologians of the past (such as St. Augustine and John Calvin) to literary critics of our own day? Finally, in what ways has the story had an impact on the literature, as well as the larger cultural life, of Europe and America? We pay particular attention to the ways in which the Bible has influenced the canon of English and American literature, including Shakespeare, Charlotte Brontë, and Robert Frost.
Adam Potkay holds degrees from Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University, and Rutgers, where he received his Ph.D. He is currently Professor of English at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, where he has taught since 1990. An internationally renowned scholar of eighteenth-century literature, Professor Potkay is also the recipient of the William and Mary Alumni Fellowship Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Lecture 1 Authorship and Style in the Torah
Lecture 2 Cain and Abel in Story, Theology and Literary History
Lecture 3 Icons and Iconoclasm: From Moses to Milton
Lecture 4 The Story of King David, or the Varieties of Love
Lecture 5 The Song of Solomon: The Poetry of Sacred and Profane Love
Lecture 6 Psalms: The Poetry of Praise and Supplication
Lecture 7 Proverbs: The Way to Wisdom
Lecture 8 The Book of Job: The Problem of Evil and the Aesthetics of the Sublime
Lecture 9 Ecclesiastes and the Questioning of Wisdom
Lecture 10 Isaiah and Prophecy
Lecture 11 Typology: The Life of Christ as Fulfillment of the Old Testament
Lecture 12 Parables: The Form of Jesus' Teaching
Lecture 13 Paul: The Letter and the Spirit of the Law
Lecture 14 The Book of Revelation and the Symmetry of the Christian Bible