Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts
Department of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies

CAMS/RLST 425W: Books of the Bible: Readings and Interpretation

CAMS/RLST 425W: Books of the Bible: Readings and Interpretation


Holm, Tawny


Tues, Thurs


4:35 - 5:50 P.M.




Spring 2022

Study of a biblical book/topic in terms of literary, historical, and cultural contexts, history of interpretation, and critical scholarship.

CAMS (J ST/RL ST) 425W Books of the Bible: Readings and Interpretation (3 per semester/maximum of 12) The Bible is a diverse collection of writings sacred to Jews and Christians written over about 1000 years, in a variety of different genres and historical circumstances.

This course allows students the opportunity to study in depth a particular book of the Bible, from either the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament or the New Testament. We will explore the literary, historical and cultural context of the book in question. A literary analysis of the book will include consideration of genre and literary devices, and a close reading of the text. A historical analysis will consider the date of composition, its source materials, comparative traditions in other cultures, and relevant historical and cultural factors relevant to understanding the text.

The course will introduce students to various other approaches to interpretation of the Bible in modern scholarship, including feminist and post-colonial critiques. We will also explore the varied interpretations and uses of the book in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam throughout history, and its influences in Western culture, including art and literature. The course will be offered once a year with varying content, and students may repeat it when taught with different content.