COMPLIT 750 - Seminar: Topics in Comparative Literature
Fall 2019, Section 001 - Canon
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Comparative Literature (COMPLIT)
Department: LSA Comparative Literature


Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
Advisory Prerequisites:
Graduate standing.
May be repeated for a maximum of 9 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:



What is canon? How is a canon of any particular genre—religious, legal, literary, artistic, etc.—formed, and what are the preconditions, instigating occasions, consequences and implications of such a formation? How are common text-manipulating processes such as translation, redaction, compilation, and adaptation related to it? How have changes in material culture—e.g., invention of writing, scribal technology, book making, distribution network, etc.—affected the vicissitudes of canonical traditions? This seminar will consider these questions from a broadly interdisciplinary, deeply historical, and seriously theoretical perspective.

Reading (tentative list):
Timothy Beal, The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book (2011)
John J. Collins, The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Biography (2013)
George Eliot, Middlemarch – selection
John Guillory, Cultural Capital: The Problem of Literary Canon Formation (1993)
Paul C. Gutjahr, An American Bible: A History of the Good Book in the United States, 1777-1880 (1999)
John Milton, Paradise Lost (Norton Critical Edition, 2005) – selection
Adam Nicolson, God’s Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible (2003)
Jonathan Sheehan, The Enlightenment Bible: Translation, Scholarship, Culture (2005)
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus (1818; 1831)
W. Robertson Smith, The Old Testament in the Jewish Church: Twelve Lectures on Biblical Criticism (1881, 1892)
Karel van der Toorn, Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible (2007)

In addition to the above titles, required reading will include select journal articles and book chapters. Portions of the following titles will be available electronically.
Altieri, Charles, Canons and Consequences: Reflections on the Ethical Force of Imaginative Ideals (1990)
Carl W. Ernst, How to Read the Qur’an: A New Guide, with Select Translations (2012)
Bruce M. Metzger and Bart D. Ehrman, The Text of the New Testament (Fourth Edition, 2005)
Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts
Martin Green, Dreams of Adventure, Deeds of Empire (1980)
Michael L. Satlow, How the Bible Became Holy (2014)
William M. Schniedewind, How the Bible Became a Book: The Textualization of Ancient Israel (2004)


COMPLIT 750 - Seminar: Topics in Comparative Literature
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
W 5:00PM - 8:00PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

The partner U-M / Barnes & Noble Education textbook website is the official way for U-M students to view their upcoming textbook or course material needs, whether they choose to buy from Barnes & Noble Education or not. Students also can view a customized list of their specific textbook needs by clicking a "View/Buy Textbooks" link in their course schedule in Wolverine Access.

Click the button below to view and buy textbooks for COMPLIT 750.001

View/Buy Textbooks


Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for COMPLIT 750 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi

CourseProfile (Atlas)

The Atlas system, developed by the Center for Academic Innovation, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (Atlas)