Christian Literature – ENGL 460

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 02/01/2024

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.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


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.

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 the Course Overview.

Discussions (3)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, there will be 3 Discussions throughout this course. The student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided topic for each discussion. 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 (CLO: A, B, C, D, E, F). 

Literary Research Assignment

This assignment focues on Early Christian Literature through the Reformation. This is a 7-8 page research written in current MLA format. This paper must include at least 7 scholarly sources in addition to the course textbooks (CLO: B, C, D, E, F). 

Poetics Research Assignment

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. The paper must cite at least 7 scholarly sources (CLO: B, C, D, E, F). 

Your Screwtape Letter Assignment

This is a creative writing assignment built upon the student's readings of The Screwtape Letters. The letter itself does not have a word count requirement, but must be similar in length to the letters in the text; the analytical component must be at least 250 words (CLO: F). 

Quizzes (5)

Each quiz will cover the assigned reading material and presentations for the modules 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 (CLO: A, B, C, D, E).