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Thematic Guide to Biblical Literature

The Bible has had a tremendous influence on world history and culture. For centuries it was the central text of Western civilization, but it is now largely unfamiliar to many students. The universal themes present in the Bible appear in numerous literary works ranging from the classic to the contemporary, and these works are both enduring and popular. They are widely read by students and reflect the cultural and historical conditions that gave rise to them. An understanding of the Bible is fundamental to an understanding of these literary works, and an understanding of these literary works gives students greater comprehension of world history and cultures. This book helps students explore the lasting presence of the Bible in literature. The volume provides chapters on 20 themes central to the Bible, including:
  • Creation
  • The Earthly Paradise
  • Nature
  • Animals and Humans
  • Temptation and Sin
  • Love and Marriage
  • Women as Heroes
  • Slavery and Freedom
  • Death and the Afterlife
  • And many more. Each chapter discusses the biblical significance of the theme, provides scriptural citations and quotations, and relates the theme to frequently read literary works. Chapters suggest resources for further reading, and the volume closes with a selected, general bibliography. With the tremendous growth in courses on the Bible as literature, this book will be a welcome resource for students of literature, history, and religion.
Product Details

Promotional Information

Discusses 20 biblical themes, such as creation, the hero, and death and the afterlife, and relates them to a wide range of literary works commonly read by students.

About the Author

Nancy M. Tischler is Professor Emerita of English and the Humanities at the Pennsylvania State University. Her previous books include All Things in the Bible (2006), Men and Women of the Bible (2003), and Student Companion to Tennessee Williams (2000), all available from Greenwood Press.


"Tischler traces a few typical examples of the various biblical themes in English and American literature, and occasionally in their European counterparts. In each thematic chapter, she identifies a handful of biblical and literary works she considers, then explores how that theme has been worked out from biblical times to the present. Among the themes are animals and humans, women as heroes, war, predestination and free will, and last days." - Reference & Research Book News "This work is recommended as an excellent beginning for further research on particular themes such as slavery and freedom, truth, earthly paradise, government and politics, and the journey of life....Tischler's style of writing is a pleasure to read and would surely be appreciated by students." - American Reference Books Annual "Tischler's learned commentary on integral biblical themes reads as engagingly as a lecture by a teacher who both understands and values the Bible as a source of wisdom and as a component of world literature. Tischler respects the written word and the music of poetry and seems at home with all corners of American and British and, to some degree, world classics as well. Simple layout invites the neophyte to read signal passages of scripture on such topics as creation, gender, war, and the afterlife; and to peruse classic works--Billy Budd, To Kill a Mockingbird, Donne's sonnets, The Old Man and the Sea, Little Women, The Prince--for more recent thinking on the chosen subjects. Tischler's tone and diction avoid tedious cant and dogma by sticking to humanistic themes--godhood, justice, liberty, power, sacrifice, violence--and pure, uncluttered glimpses of human situations, such as the nonstop task of the shepherd, David's emergence into leadership, the circumscribed world of women, and the Jewish response to the threat of alien invasion....Highly recommended. Home, church, high school, and public libraries; general readers." - Choice

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