Lecture: Bible, Literature and Society


LAST CLASS (January 23):


Lesson 13 (January 16)

Existentialism and the Bible

Existentialism and the Bible: (GAP)

Existentialism and the Bible: (COMPLETE)

Poems byGerard Manley Hopkins:

Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend with thee.

- This poem is based on Jeremiah 12. It expresses Hopkins's despair.

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.

- Hopkins in a more cheerful mood!


Lesson 12 (January 12)

Brontë and the Bible

Brontë and the Bible: (GAP)

Brontë and the Bible: (COMPLETE)

Arundel's constitutions

The effects of Arundel's constitutions: (GAP)

The effects of Arundel's constitutions: (COMPLETE)


Lesson 11 (December 19)

A Christmas Carol (3)

Carols 2 (print)

Notes on carols (print)

"Christmas is just another day": The puritan spirit lives on!

To see the original web page, click here.

Lesson 10 (December 12)

A Christmas Carol (2)

Carols 1 (print)

Marley's ghost

Ghosts and the Bible

Lesson 9 (December 05)

A Christmas Carol (1)



Jews, Puritans and the Bible

I made these presentations with something called Videoscribe. It's a different kind of thing from PowerPoint; presentations get made into short videos (usually just two or three minutes long). As a result, the worksheet format is different, with a complete print and a question sheet.

As a homework task, I asked students to find some "real" Christmas carols. I'll give a short quiz (just for fun!) to see how many you know in next week's class.

Lesson 8 (November 28)

Milton, Blake and the Bible


Milton, Blake and the Bible

Print: GAP


We studied a chapter from the Book of Proverbs in the Bible and an extract from Blake's work, Vala: or The Four Zoas, which you can find here.

Lesson 7 (November 21)

Suffering and the Bible in early modern England (2)


Suffering and the Bible (2)

Print: GAP


Lesson 6 (November 14)

Suffering and the Bible in early modern England (1)


Suffering and the Bible (1)

Print: GAP


John Bunyan

Lesson 5 (November 7)

Shakespeare and the Bible


Shakespeare and the Bible

Print: GAP


Lesson 4 (October 24)

Bible and Reformation


Bible and Reformation

Print: GAP


Lesson 3 (October 17)


1. The English Reformation (1). From a purely practical point of view, Henry VIII wanted to separate from his wife and marry again. This led to England separating from the Catholic Church.

Henry VIII and the Break with Rome.

I didn't give a print transcript for this, but if you want one here it is!

This is a fuller presentation than the one I gave in class.

2.The English Reformation (2). The pendulum of religious change from 1533 (Henry's break with Rome) to 1559 (the Elizabethan Settlement); Shakespeare and Catholicism.

The Elizabethan Settlement & the Case of Shakespeare.

I'm afraid I messed up the recording, so this is a "studio" version!

Print: GAP


3. Catholics and Protestants: Some of the differences. Print: GAP Print: COMPLETE.

Lesson 2 (October 10)

1. Bible and Translation in Late Fifteenth- and Early Sixteenth-Century England.

Print: GAP


2. A Fifteenth-Century Book of Hours. Click here for a detailed explanation of the Book of Hours I showed you in class.

3. The Pardoner's Prologue from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Click here for a copy of the prologue. There is quite a good analysis of the Pardoner's prologue here.

4. Research Links.

  • Bible Gateway - Gives access to over 150 versions of the Bible
  • Early English Books Online (EEBO) - Over 130,000 early modern texts in PDF form, plus more than 25,000 in text-searchable form. Available until the end of November only!

I made a presentation on EEBO at the Shakespeare Society of Japan Conference a couple of years ago. Some of the information is out of date now and the presentation is based on the University of Michigan portal, in addition to the Chadwick Healey portal linked above, but it may be of use to anyone who is seriously interested in early modern literature. Note that there are three videos in the playlist!

Using Early English Books Online (EEBO) & the Text Creation Partnership (TCP)

Lesson 1 (October 3)

1. Peckham's Syllabus. Click here to download a summary of Peckham's Syllabus of 1281. This was the minimum everyone was supposed to know about Christianity and the Bible in the fourteenth century.

2. Bible and Populace in Late Medieval England.

Print: GAP


3. Church Music.

Credo III

4. Church Architecture.

Medieval Church Architecture

5. Macaronic (English and Latin). Hymn to the Virgin The musical arrangement is by a modern composer, Benjamin Britten. As far as I am aware, there is no medieval musical notation for this poem.






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