English and Film Studies

ENGL 305 B1: Literature and Religion

D. Gay

Our focus in the course will be on the Book of Job, one of the most influential and challenging poems in the Hebrew Bible. The poem explores themes of suffering, wisdom, evil, faith, and justice as well as our place in a natural world where our questions exceed all our answers. We will study the story in its biblical and literary context and consider adaptations such as William Shakespeare’s King Lear and Christian interpretations by John Milton, illustrations by William Blake. We will look at contemporary expressions in films such as Terence Mallick’s Tree of Life or the Coen Brothers’ A Serious Man. We will also look at the Job story in the Quran and Islamic tradition and consider Job from the Buddhist perspective on human suffering.

Texts: The King James Bible, Ed. Robert Carroll and Stephen Prickett (Oxford paperback), or your own copy of this edition.

The William Blake Archive (online).

Other texts and resources TBA