RELIGION & LITERATURE (RAHS-5300)
Fall 2020, Tuesdays, 9:40–12:30 PM
3 hours

Course Description

This course surveys the interdisciplinary field of religion & literature. It is premised on a thought experiment: what happens if we replace the ampersand--&--with other sorts of conjunctions between these two terms, such as: religion OR literature? literature AS religion? religion IN literature? Part of this class is meta-historical: excavating literary theory’s hidden genealogy, its bastard birth out of liaisons between biblical hermeneutics, linguistics, and older formations of classical rhetoric. Drawing on models from biblical narratology, we will explore how regarding sacred texts as literature need not necessarily be translations into the secular, but enhance interpretation (and aesthetic pleasure) for believers, agnostics, and nonbelievers alike. In addition to scriptures, primary readings include Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Henry James, Toni Morrison, and Marilynne Robinson. Theory will be drawn from Mieke Bal, Paul Ricoeur, Gerard Genette, Wolfgang Iser, Eric Auerbach, among others. Expected audience: MA, PhD [Auditors with faculty permission]

Teachers / Speakers

Devin Zuber

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