Christian Literature – ENGL 460

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

This is a survey of literary works representing 2,000 years of Christian history. The course covers a broadly defined range of literature that either serves or is shaped by the Christian worldview. The survey begins with the patristic writers of the early church, then turns to the medieval mystics, the reformers, neoclassicists, romantics and moderns, and ends with the dawn of the postmodern period. In addition, the course will include supplemental reading that will assist students in developing a distinctly Christian poetic and aesthetic: a biblical approach to reading, writing, and appreciating literature and all forms of art. Research paper required.


ENGL 101 and (ENGL 102 or MUSC 200) and (ENGL 201 or ENGL 202 or ENGL 215 or ENGL 216 or ENGL 221 or ENGL 222)


It is a sad irony that contemporary Christians—those whose faith is centered on the Word and whose faith gives primacy to language—largely lack an informed, cultured, reasoned, and biblically-based understanding of the importance of literature in the context of both the church and the broader culture. Most of the great literature in the past 2,000 years of Western civilization has been informed and shaped by the Christian worldview. This course will attempt to rediscover and reclaim that literary heritage as well as carry forward that heritage into both the contemporary church and the larger culture. In so doing, this course will not only cover literature; it will also cover church history and, to a lesser degree, the philosophy and history of Western civilization.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Apply specific skills in close reading, literary discussion, and writing.
  2. Analyze a wide range of authors and works that reflect various eras in both the church and literary history.
  3. Apply knowledge and understanding of literary works to an insightful, interesting, and well-written literary analysis.
  4. Identify major authors and their works in order to correctly associate them with their literary period and cultural context.
  5. Develop and use a vocabulary of literary terms associated with the periods, authors, and works covered.
  6. Integrate a Christian worldview into the practice of literary reading and interpretation.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (3)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, there will be 3 Discussion Board Forums throughout this course. The student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided topic for each forum. Each thread must be between 300–500 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 200 words as well as interact with and build upon the ideas presented by the student’s peers.

Research Papers (2)

The student will write 2 research-oriented papers that are 8–10 pages and written in current MLA format. Each paper will focus on 1 particular author or literary period covered in the course materials. Each paper must include at least 5 scholarly sources in addition to the course textbooks.

Poetics Paper

The student will write a 4–5-page paper in current MLA format that describes how the student defines good literature. The paper must draw upon ideas expressed in both course texts and must incorporate 5 diverse literary selections from the course.  

Reading Quizzes (5)

Each quiz will cover the assigned reading material and presentations for the modules/weeks in which it is assigned. Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes, contain 10 multiple-choice or true/false questions as well as 2 essay questions, and have a 45-minute time limit.