Course Syllabus

En ego tempestas, ego tota insania mundi,  
In me, inquit, vobis aether ruit et mare surgit        
In me terra procul, mors proxima, nulla dei spes   
Behold I am the tempest, I am all the madness of the world
In me, he says, upper air rushes down and sea rises up
In me earth is far, death is near, hope of God is none
                                                              - Pseudo-Tertullian, Carmen de Iona Propheta
The Christian Catacombs

Instructor: Amy Erickson, Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible /

Meeting Location: Bacon 218, Thursdays 1-4:30 through April 21.

Draft of syllabus. I aim to keep the reading to 75-100 pages per week (for four weeks). In some cases, readings listed will be prioritized or split up and shared.

Course Description: This two-credit course invites students to place the biblical book of Jonah in conversation with works of literature, art, and theology that interpret Jonah or explore themes in the book, including the nature of God, prophecy, election, death, and transformation. The course will introduce students to the history of interpretation (or reception history) by considering Jonah’s afterlives in a variety of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic texts, artistic programs, and manuscript illuminations.


  • to help students acquire proficiency in the interpretation of biblical texts
  • to expand students’ imaginations about how biblical texts might speak to different communities in different times and places
    • perhaps learning from pre-modern and creative readers will facilitate an “escape from what has become for many people the prison house of modernism and historical criticism” (Dale Martin, Pedagogy of the Bible, 47)
  • to empower students to explore and unleash a biblical book’s latent or virtual potentials by studying its afterlives
  • to facilitate student engagement in interdisciplinary learning

Overview and Objectives


***Readings: everything will be available in PDF or electronic form; you are not required to purchase any books for this course. That said, we will be reading a good chunk of Gregg's book, so I encourage you to get a physical copy of it.

Gregg, R. C. Shared Stories, Rival Tellings: Early Encounters of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. New York: Oxford, 2015.

For reference and for presentation ideas, you might take a look at: Erickson, Amy. Jonah: Introduction and Commentary. Illuminations Series. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2021.

Also suggested is: Sherwood, Yvonne. A Biblical Text and its Afterlives: The Survival of Jonah in Western Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000 (I won't be assigning reading from Sherwood's book, but it's a great read).


Course Summary:

Date Details Due