Studies in Literature:
Narrative in the Bible
|English 670 02
Term: Summer 2011
Time: 5:00-7:45 p.m. MTR
Room: Bliss 145 SSB 102
Prof. G. Steinberg
Office: Bliss 216
Office Phone: 771-2106
Office Hours: by appointment
E-mail: available through SOCS
RESERVE BOOKS and OTHER RESOURCES:
COURSE DESCRIPTION. In this course, we read many of the most significant and influential narratives in the Judeo-Christian tradition. But we approach these iconic stories from the perspective of modern literary theory and scholarship. As we read some of the most (and least) important biblical narratives, we also read some of the most influential biblical scholars of the last three decades or so, such as Frank Kermode, Robert Alter, Northrop Frye, Adele Berlin, Meir Sternberg, Mieke Bal, and Alice Bach. While we read a significant portion of the Bible, this course is not a broad or comprehensive survey of the Bible's stories, and while we inevitably examine the portrayal of God and humanity in the stories that we read, this course is not a course in theology. Our focus is on the way in which biblical narrative operates in telling its stories and in reinforcing its social and moral agenda.
GOALS. By the end of the course, you will
The principal learning activity in the course will be reading – the reading both of the Bible and of scholarship about Bible. Reading the Bible will provide students with a foundation of knowledge about the Judeo-Christian tradition, useful both to secondary English teachers (who may need to broaden their instructional repertoire in order to teach the Bible or texts influenced by the Bible in their classrooms) and to prospective Ph.D. students (who need a broad base of knowledge in the foundational literary texts, such as the Bible, in order to navigate their doctoral studies successfully). In order to facilitate your learning from your reading, readings for class will be opened up through response papers and through participation in class discussion. In addition, writing groups and conference papers will help to develop your skills in terms of critical practices in research and writing in the field of English.
REQUIREMENTS. For this course, you must complete the following requirements:
Your final grade will be based on the following scale: A = 93%-100%, A- = 90%-92%, B+ = 87%-89%, B = 83%-86%, B- = 80%-82%, C+ = 77%-79%, C = 73%-76%, C- = 70%-72%, D+ = 67%-69%, D = 60%-66%, and F = below 60%.
I consider the seminar paper to be an opportunity for you to show me what you’ve learned in class, applying what you’ve learned in a new context. In your seminar paper, you need to argue a clear, specific, original thesis. I expect you to enter into the critical conversation going on in scholarly articles and books on your topic, saying something worth saying while responding to what others have said before you. Needless to say, professionalism in terms of standard punctuation, spelling, and grammar, as well as interesting, logical, persuasive organization and argumentation, is a must. The seminar paper will be due on a date negotiated between professor and students but will not be due for at least a week after the last class meeting.
Your writing groups should form and begin meeting by the second or third day of class. The groups will brainstorm ideas for your seminar paper topics, and later, your group’s members will serve as peer reviewers of your seminar paper drafts. The groups should meet (in person or, if that’s not always possible, electronically) at least five times during the term and after (although I encourage groups to meet even more often than that). At least five times, each group should submit a brief report (via email to me) of what the group has been doing. If a group would like me to come to one (or more) of its meetings to assist and give feedback on your work, I will graciously accept any invitations proffered.
In the course of the term, you are required to write 6 short, informal response papers (about 2 pages each) on the readings assigned for class. The response paper is due in class on the day of the reading assignment to which you are responding. You may choose on which days you want to submit a response paper, as long as by the end of the term you have submitted 6. I ask you to type your response papers (so that they are easier for me to read), but they need not be a perfect, polished product. Rather, response papers should be just what their name says – a response. Each response paper should use one of the following approaches as the basis for its response to the day’s reading assignment:
Don’t worry about typos or comma splices or organization. Be as specific and focused as you can, getting down as much as you can, as quickly as you can. Treat response papers more like a journal entry than like a formal paper. I want an exploration – as detailed and specific as possible – of the reading assigned for the day. You may not submit more than one response paper on a single day, nor may you submit a response paper for a day that you are absent from class – absolutely no exceptions. I recommend that you use your response papers as a safe place to try out potential ideas for your seminar paper.
ATTENDANCE. Regular attendance is a virtual necessity for successful completion of this class. Class discussion constitutes important, useful preparation for your graded work. If you miss a class, you will essentially lose out on that day’s contribution to your preparation, since it is never really possible to reproduce or recapture the dynamics and flow of information for a missed class meeting (even if you get notes from someone). If, however, you positively must miss a class, I expect you to find out what you missed and to come fully prepared – without excuses – to the next class meeting. And please, don’t ask, “Did I miss anything?” Check out Tom Wayman’s poem about that question. For more on the College’s attendance policy, please go to http://www.tcnj.edu/~recreg/policies/attendance.html.
Academic Integrity. Academic dishonesty is any
attempt by a student to gain academic advantage through dishonest means, to
submit, as his or her own, work which has not been done by him/her or to give
improper aid to another student in the completion of an assignment. Such
dishonesty would include, but is not limited to: submitting as his/her own a
project, paper, report, test, or speech copied from, partially copied, or
paraphrased from the work of another (whether the source is printed, under
copyright, or in manuscript form). Credit must be given for words quoted or
paraphrased. The rules apply to any academic dishonesty, whether the work is
graded or ungraded, group or individual, written or oral.
OFFICE HOURS and EMAIL. My office is Bliss 216, and my office hours this term are by appointment. If you need to see me, feel free to call my office (771-2106) or to talk to me before or after class to arrange an appointment. You may also contact me by email (through SOCS), or you may leave a message for me in my box at the English department offices in Bliss 124. Email is generally the fastest way to contact me in an emergency.
I may, on occasion, want to e-mail everyone in class. I generally only have access to your TCNJ e-mail addresses, however. As a result, if you regularly use an e-mail address other than your TCNJ address, I recommend that you have mail from your TCNJ address forwarded to the address you use more regularly. That way, if I e-mail your TCNJ address, my message will be forwarded to your other address automatically.
If you would like to send an e-mail message to one or more of your classmates, you can do so through SOCS. To access SOCS, go to http://socs.tcnj.edu and, after you have logged in with your TCNJ e-mail username and password, choose this class from the list of your courses this term. Then, when our course page comes up, click the “Email” button. From there, you can select individual e-mail addresses or the entire class and send a message to the address(es) you’ve selected.
Accommodations. The College of New Jersey prohibits discrimination against any student on the basis of physical or mental disability or perceived disability. The College will also provide reasonable and appropriate accommodations to enable students with disabilities to participate in the life of the campus community. Individuals with disabilities are responsible for reporting and supplying documentation verifying their disability, and requests for accommodations must be initiated through the Office of Differing Abilities Services (Eickhoff Hall 159). If you require special assistance, I will make every reasonable effort to accommodate your needs and to create an environment where your special abilities will be respected. For more information, please go to http://www.tcnj.edu/~affirm/ada.html.
COURSE SCHEDULE. This schedule is subject to change at the discretion of the professor. Changes made after the beginning of the term will be shown in red. The assignments below are the minimum that you should read for each class meeting; if your schedule permits, read more.
|T 31 May||all of Genesis; NO RESPONSE PAPERS ALLOWED THIS DAY|
|R 2 Jun||Perrin, Rediscovering the Teaching of Jesus, chapter I; Alter, The Art of Biblical Narrative, chapter 3; Exum, Fragmented Women, chapter 1; Sugirtharajah, Postcolonial Criticism and Biblical Interpretation, chapter 3; and Haynes, Noah’s Curse, chapter 7; NO RESPONSE PAPERS ALLOWED THIS DAY|
|M 6 Jun||Exodus 1-25, 32-35, 40; Numbers 10-14, 16-18, 20-27, 31-34, 36; Deuteronomy 31-34|
|T 7 Jun||Joshua 1-11, 22-24; all of Judges|
|R 9 Jun||all of 1 Samuel|
|M 13 Jun||all of 2 Samuel|
|T 14 Jun||all of 1 Kings|
|R 16 Jun||all of 2 Kings|
|M 20 Jun||all of Daniel and Tobit|
|T 21 Jun||all of Ruth, Esther (the Hebrew version – not the Greek version), and Judith|
|R 23 Jun||all of Mark|
|M 27 Jun||all of Matthew|
|T 28 Jun||all of John|
|R 30 Jun||all of Acts of the Apostles|
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