[Milton-L] Bible as lit

Ryan Paul ryanspaul at gmail.com
Sun Jun 15 14:27:19 EDT 2008


This last spring, I was the Teaching Assistant for a first-year general
education course on the Bible, taught by John Ulreich. He took a somewhat
different approach to the course than many here. It was more of a
historical-theological frame, looking at the texts as literature within
their cultural and political contexts. He chose Stephen Harris'
"Understanding the Bible" and the Oxford annotated version of the NSRV,
which seems fairly neutral/liberal in its understanding, and gives lots of
good historical background to the texts. The students had a difficult time,
partly because of just the huge amount of material, but also because the
style of the different books is so alien to a modern sensibility. I couldn't
imagine most of these kids trying to grapple with the complex style of the
KJV -- it wouldn't have been pretty. But, these were, by and large,
first-year students, plus their expectation was "Gen Ed course = easy."
If John is lurking, he could provide more info about the course and his
approach.

Best,
-Ryan Paul



On Thu, Jun 12, 2008 at 10:20 AM, <butlert at mail.wsu.edu> wrote:

> I can pass along one piece of conceptual advice that a friend who taught
> in religious studies said to me some time ago.
>
> Closely paraphrasing it was "You teach courses where students assume they
> don't know anything and will find it hard. I teach courses where many
> students come in certain that they already know the answers and that it
> therefore will be easy."
>
> Initially we joked about it, but the more we discussed our differing
> experiences the more we found it to be an important difference. It's of
> course a generalization, but it might be particularly true if Purdue
> doesn't have a religious studies department or series of courses.
>
> Best,
> Todd
>
> Todd Butler
> Buchanan Assistant Professor
> Department of English
> Washington State University
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