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The Bible in English Literature


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 6
  • Convenor: Dr Isabel Davis
  • Assessment: a 1500-word coursework essay (10%), 2500-word essay (45%) and three-hour examination (45%)

Module description

This is a module about literary appropriations, about the way in which the Bible has been used to a number of different ends. In this sense the object of study is not the Bible itself but its reception history. We will begin by looking at how the Bible came into the English language and the fraught politics of that process. During the rest of the module we will consider different books of the Bible, first from the Old Testament and then from the New.

We will look at a diverse range of texts from many different periods from the later Middle Ages to the present day. What we will find is the diversity and richness of the scriptural legacy in English literature and language.

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will have:

  • considered the political struggles around the translation of the Bible into English
  • appreciated Biblical narratives and the textures of Biblical language in English literature
  • become familiar with the many uses that are made of the Bible in English literature
  • investigated a number of parts of the Bible as they are presented by English language authors.