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The Bible and Literature: A Reader

David Jasper (Editor), Stephen Prickett (Editor)
ISBN: 978-0-631-20857-0
352 pages
November 2007, ©1999, Wiley-Blackwell
The Bible and Literature: A Reader (0631208577) cover image


There is no book more important for our culture than the Bible, and it is fundamental to the study of English literature and language.
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Table of Contents



General Introduction.

Biblical and Literary Criticism: A History of Interaction: Stephen Prickett.

Literary Readings of the Bible: Trends in Modern Criticism: David Jasper.

Part I:.

The Creation (Genesis 1-2): John Milton, Paradise Lost.

Book VII. Lines 205-216.

"The Spacious Firmament on High": Joseph Addison.

Biographia Literaria. Chapter XIII: S.T. Coleridge.

Choruses from The Rock (VII): T.S. Eliot.

D. H. Lawrence, "Let There be Light".

The Magician's Nephew: C.S. Lewis.

Part II:.

"In the Beginning was the Word" (John 1:1-18): Justin Martyr, Apology. .

Divine Sonnets. No. 4: John Donne.

Lectures on Revealed Religion. : S. T.Coleridge.

Faust, Part 1: Goethe.

The Morgan Maggiore: Lord Byron.

Collected Poems No. 1651 ("A Word Made Flesh is Seldom"): Emily Dickenson.

"In the Beginning was the Three-pointed Star": Dylan Thomas.

Of Grammatology: Jacques Derrida.

Part III:.

The Fall (Genesis 3:1-3):.

The City of God. "Adam Lay in Bondage": St. Augustine.

Paradise Lost, Book LX. Lines 655-792: John Milton.

Earl of Rochester, "The Fall": John Wilmot.

"The Tree of Knowledge": Abraham Cowley.

Free Fall: William Golding.

Part IV:.

The Sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 22:1-19): Pentateuch with Targum Onkelos, Haphtaroth and Rashi's Commentary.

The City of God. 14th Century English Passion Play: Augustine.

Religio Medici:Sir Thomas Browne.

Tess of the D'Urbervilles: Thomas Hardy.

Fear and Trembling: Soren Kierkegaard.

Letter of 1921: Franx Kafka.

"England, my England": D.H. Lawrence.

"The Parable of the Old Man and the Young": Wilfrid Owen.

Mimesis: Erich Auerbach.

Part V:.

Jacob and Esau (Genesis 27:15-35): The City of God: Augustine.

John Donne, Holy Sonnets: John Donne.

No. XI. Francis Quarles, "On Jacob's Purchase".

The Christian Year: John Keble.

Joseph and his Brothers: Thomas Mann.

Midnight's Children: Salman Rushdie.

Part VI:.

Wrestling Jacob (Genesis 32:22-32): Izaak Walton, The Life of John Donne. .

"Wrestling Jacob": Charles Wesley.

"Jacob Wrestling with the Angel": Jones Very.

"Carrion Comfort": Gerald Manley Hopkins.

"A little east of Jordan", Collected Poems: Emily Dickenson. No. 59.

"Weeping we hold him fast tonight": Christina Rossetti.

"The Struggle with the Angel: Roland Barthes.

Son of Laughter: Frederick Beuchner.

Part VII: .

David and Bathsheba (II Samuel 11:1-13): George Peele, The Love of King David and Fair Bathsabe. .

The Prologue to Penitential Psalms: Sir Thomas Wyatt.

Absalom and Achitophel: John Dryden.

Far From the Madding Crowd: Thomas Hardy.

The Scarlet Letter: Nathaniel Hawthorne.

God Knows: Joseph Heller.

Bathsheba: Torgny Lindgren.

Part VIII: .

"The Still Small Voice" (I Kings 19:8-13): Dante, The Divine Comedy (Purgatory). .

"Living Flame of Love": St. John of the Cross.

The Christian Year: John Keble.

"Dear Lord and Father of Mankind": John Greenleaf Whittier.

The Surrender of a Cockney: G. K. Chesterton.

"A Successful Summer": David Schbert.

Part IX:.

The Lord is My Shepherd" (Psalm 23): Miles Coverdale, Psalm 23. .

Psalm 23: Thomas Sternhold.

Henry V: William Shakespeare.

Psalm 23: George Herbert.

Psalm 23: Richard Crashaw.

The Pilgrim's Progress: John Bunyan.

Psalm 23: Henry Williams Baker.

God Knows: Joseph Heller.

The Very Model of a Man: Howard Jacobson.


John Hollander.

Part X:.

"I am a Rose of Sharon" (The Song of Songs): Richard Rolle, The Fire of Love. .

Canterbury Tales: Geoffrey Chaucer. (Robinson Edition).

"Colin Clout Comes Home Againe": Edmund Spenser.

The Doctrine and Discipline of Di'vorce, The Reason of Church Government, Paradise Lost: John Milton.

"The Garden": Andrew Marvell.

"In the Glorious Assumption of Our Blessed Lady": Richard Crashaw.

"The Reflexion": Edward Taylor.

The Name of the Rose: Umberto Eco.

Part XI:.

The Nativity (Matthew 2:1-12, Luke 2:1-19): "I sing of a maiden".

"Nativitie": John Donne.

"Anagram": George Herbert.

On the Morning of Christ's Nativity: John Milton.

Charles Wesley, "Let Earth and Heaven Combine": Charles Wesley.

"A Christmas Carol": S. T. Coleridge.

"The Oxen": Thomas Hardy.

"Ave Maria Gratia Plena": Oscar Wilde.

"I saw a stable": Mary Elizabeth Coleridge.

"Mary and Gabriel": Rupert Brooke.

"The Journey of the Magi": T. S. Eliot.

"The Annunciation": Edward Muir.

Part XII: .

"The Problem of the Parables" (Mark 4:1-20): Frank Kermode, The Genesis of Secrecy. .

Isaiah 6:9-13. The Gospel of Thomas. .

The Rabbinic Parable (Midrash Wayyltra Rabbah) [Jerusalem, 1972].

The Canterbury Tales: Geoffrey Chaucer.

Sonnet XVII: John Milton.

The Pilgrim's Progress: John Bunyan. .

The Parables of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: Christopher Smart.

"The Sower": William Cowper.

From Either/Or: Soren Kierkegaard.

"A Grammarian's Funeral": Robert Browning.

The Mayor of Casterbridge: Thomas Hardy.

The Violent Bear it Away: Flannery O'Connor.

The Trial: Franz Kafka.

Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings: Jorge Luis Borges.

Part XIII:.

Jesus and the Samaritan Woman (John 4:1-30): Genesis 24:10-14.

The Canterbury Tales: Geoffrey Chaucer.

The Faerie Queen: Edmund Spenser.

Silex Scintillans: Henry Vaughan.

The Parables of Our Lord.:Christopher Smart.

"I know where Wells grow": Emily Dickenson.

Unto This Last: John Ruskin.

Man and Superman: George Bernard Shaw.

The Last Temptation: Nikos Kazantzakis.

Jeshua: Moelwyn Merchant.

Part XIV: .

The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32).

"The Parson's Tale", from The Canterbury Tales: Geoffrey Chaucer.

"The Prodigal Son": John Newton.

The Excursion -- Lines 275-375: William Wordsworth.

"A Prodigal Son": Christina Rossetti.

"The Lake Isle of Innisfree: W. B. Yeats.

"The Prodigal Son": Robert Bly.

"The Prodigal": Elizabeth Bishop.

The Return of the Prodigal Son: Henri J. M. Nouwen.

Part XV:.

The Crucifixion (Mark 15:33-39): The Dream of the Rood. .

Stabat Mater Dolorosa. .

The Wakefield Crucifixion. .

Holy Sonnets, La Corona: John Donne.

"Crucifixion to the World by the Cross of Christ": Isaac Watts.

Billy Budd, Sailor: Herman Melville.

"At a Calvary near the Ancre": Wilfrid Owen.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: James Joyce.

"Canticle for Good Friday": Geoffrey Hill.

God's Gym: Divine Male Bodies of the Bible: Stephen D. Moore.

Part XVI:.

Jesus and Mary in the Garden (John 20:10-18):.

The Apocryphal New Testament: M. R. James.

The Prayers and Meditations: St. Anselm. .

"Who so list to hount....": Sir Thomas Wyatt.

"Mary Magdalen's Complaint at Christ's Death": Robert Southwell.

Humphry Clinker: Tobais Smollett.

D H Lawrence, St. Mawr: D. H. Lawrence.

The Wild Girl: Michele Roberts.

Part XVII:.

The Conversion of St Paul (Acts of the Apostles 9:1-19): John Newton, "The Rebel's Surrender to Grace".

Confessions of a Justified Sinner: James Hogg.

Father and Son: Edmund Grosse.

The Wreck of the Deutschland: G. M. Hopkins.

The Hound of Heaven: Francis Thompson.

Memoirs of the Blind: Jacques Derrida.

Part XVIII:.

Alpha and Omega (Revelation 21:1-18): Prudentius Aurelius Clemens, Cathemerinon. "In dulci jubilo".

Paradise Lost: John Miltyon.

The Pilgrim's Progress: John Bunyan.

William Wordsworth, The Prelude: William Wordsworth.

Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre: Charlotte Brontë.

"The Last Chantrey": Rudyard Kipling.

Wallace Stevens, "An Ordinary Evening in New Haven": Wallace Stevens.

W H Auden, "Victor": W. H. Auden.

Everything That Rises Must Converge: Flannery O'Connor.

General Bibliography.

Name Index.

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Author Information

David Jasper is Professor in Theology at Glasgow University, Director of the Centre for the Study of Literature and Theology at Glasgow, and general editor of Literature and Theology and International Journal of Theory, Criticism and Culture. He has published widely in the fields of theology and literature.

Stephen Prickett is Regius Professor of English Literature at Glasgow University. Co-editor of the World's Classics Bible, his books include Reading the Text: Biblical Criticism and Literature (1991), Words and 'The Word': Language, poetics and biblical interpretation (1986), Origins of Narrative: The Romantic Appropriation of the Bible (1996). He is a member of the editorial board of Literature and Theology.

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The Wiley Advantage

* Provides an accessible introduction to the study of the bible's importance for Western literature.
* Offers students the opportunity to study the intertextual relations between literature and the bible.
* Contains a section of additional suggested reading and a full bibliography.
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"The three introductory essays they provide are approachable, authoritative and full of meat. The selections from scripture are annotated freshly and stirringly; the commentaries which introduce the literary extracts are models of compression, expanding at a later stage in the mind of the reader, as good teaching should" Julian Thompson, Tutor in English, RPC Oxford <!--end-->

"Each biblical passage is carefully introduced, and there is a bibliography for each section. An excellent book!" International Review of Biblical Studies

"A welcome addition to our resources at a time when there is an increasing emphasis on literary reading and narrative theology." Journal for the Study of the Old Testament

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