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Level 5

5AAT2101 The Bible in the Artistic Imagination


The modules run in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand so there is no guarantee this module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary depending between years.

Credit value: 15
Module tutor: Dr Vittorio Montemaggi
Assessment: One 2,000-word essay (40%) and one 2,500-word essay (60%)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

Teaching pattern: one two-hour class every week
Pre-requisites: none

The Bible has for centuries been an extraordinary source of artistic inspiration. The module will help to build the interpretive tools needed to reflect closely on the relationship between thinking of the Bible as divine revelation and thinking of it as source of artistic inspiration. Students will explore how particular stories of the Bible have informed artistic production in a variety of genres and from a variety of periods: from literature to the visual arts to music; from the Middle Ages to the present. The aim of the module is to gain a deeper understanding of human imagination, by reflecting on how biblical stories can shed light on works of art, and by exploring how works of art might open up new possibilities for interpreting the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.

Core reading

Genesis 1-11; Genesis 22; Exodus 3; Exodus 32; 2 Samuel 11-12; Psalm 50; Matthew, Luke 1-3; John; 1 John; Revelation

Further information

Module aims

•  To operate in a situation requiring new skills and intellectual techniques, in order to understand new information sources, including creative material.

•  To act with limited supervision and direction within well defined guidelines, to accept responsibility for achieving personal outcomes and outputs, in regard to assessed coursework.

•  To obtain detailed knowledge of well-established theories and concepts, with awareness of different ideas and contexts, and to recognise where knowledge is least secure.

•  To identify, analyse and communicate competing interpretations, discussed in class and assessed work.

•  To explore existing data and identify patterns and relationships, using appropriate interpretational methods to judge the significance of the data, recognising the limits of the enquiry.

•  To evaluate theological content and connections in artistic and popular material.

•  To self-evaluate in terms of recognising the value of written work and accept suggestions for improvement.

•  To articulate ideas in a class context and interact with others towards the goal of understanding new approaches to key biblical stories and themes.

•  To become aware of cultural and religious pre-conceptions and categorisations with growing self-reflection.

Learning outcomes

 Generic skills:

•  To engage competently and critically with primary and secondary sources. 

•  To become confident in individual research, within set parameters and with guidance.

•  To gain awareness of new theories, concepts, contexts and terms

•  To present ideas competently in both written and oral form, identifying and analysing data and evaluating secondary literature. 

•  To demonstrate the capacity to conduct research at the appropriate level and make appropriate choices in answering critical questions.

Module-specific skills:

•  To increase familiarity with key episodes and themes in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament.

•  To recognize and explore the various ways in which the Bible has shaped the arts and popular culture in the modern period.

•  To become familiar with the exegetical tools needed to look closely both at the Bible as literature as well as to interpret works of literature, poetry, visual art, film and music.

Past syllabi
Previous syllabus document available here for academic year 2014-15.

Please note that module syllabus and topics covered may vary from year to year.


module availability
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