Love That Surpasses Knowledge
"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints,
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
and to know
this love that surpasses knowledge . . ."
(Ephesians 3: 17b-19a, NIV)
the basics / course goals / path 1 / path 2 / miscellany
354, sections 01 & 02: The Bible as Literature and in Literature and the Arts (GE C4)
thematic thread: "Love That Surpasses Knowledge"
class location: sec 01 (10 a.m. to noon) in bldng 10, rm 201; sec 02 (12-2 p.m.) in bldng 186, rm C103
instructor: Dr. Paul Marchbanks
office: 805-756-2159 / building 47 (the "maze"), hallway 35,
office A / available
home: 805-593-0192 (9 a.m. to 9 p.m.)
- to promote
close reading and analysis
augment student recognition of tone and voice
- to explore Biblical ideas' impact on western culture
- to improve students' visual as well as textual literacy
hone critical thinking, writing, and argumentation skills
- to deepen
students' comfort with public speaking through class
- to familiarize students with effective interdisciplinary approaches to research and argument
- to prompt ongoing reflection concerning personal motivation, cultural values, and the concept of "love"
PATH 1: In-Class
Discussion and Exams
Materials (purchase these editions)
- The Bible (any translation will do)
- Barrett Browning, Elizabeth. Sonnets from the Portuguese and Other Poems. Dover, 1992. ISBN: 0486270521
- Eliot, George. Scenes of Clerical Life. Oxford, 2009. ISBN: 0199552606
- Joyce, James. Dubliners. 1914. Penguin (Viking Critical Ed.), 1996. ISBN: 0140247742
- Lawrence, D. H. Selected Stories. Penguin, 2008. ISBN: 0141441658
- Lewis, C. S. A Grief Observed. Harper One, 2001. ISBN: 0060652381
- Lewis, C. S. The Four Loves. 1961. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1971. ISBN: 9780156329309
- O'Connor, Flannery. Collected Works. Library of America, 1988. ISBN: 0940450372
- participation & class
discussion (15%--3 grades of 5% each): participation scores will be awarded at 2, 6, and 10 weeks; students most commonly earn 4-4.25 pts. Lower scores will be given to those who rarely contribute to discussion without prompting, and higher scores awarded those who consistently: 1) contribute thoughtful, organized reflections to class discussion and group activities, 2) manifest intimate familiarity
with assigned readings, 3) arrive to class on time, and infrequently depart during class, 4) successfully avoid using cell phones during class, 5) stay abreast of course updates (via the website and email)
- attendance: given the relative infrequency with which we meet, and the brief duration of the quarter system, missing class will begin to hurt your grade almost immediately. You get one absence free. Your second absence will cut 1 pt from your final grade, your third absence will cut 3 more pts from your final grade, your fourth absence will cut 5 more pts from your final grade, etc. In other words, 3 absences will remove 4 pts from your final grade, 4 absences will remove 9 pts from your final grade, 5 absences will remove 16 pts from your final grade, etc. Excused absences are difficult to come by. (Doctor visits, for instance, will not earn you an excused absence.)
- required film screening: our class will attend a special screening of Lars Von Triers' Melancholia (2011) at the Palm Theater downtown sometime in November (date tba). Alternatively, students may watch a second Lars Von Triers film on reserve in the library (beside the one required by the term paper) and develop a 400-500 word argument about it.
- special event: attendance at Dr. Jon Cooley's evening presentation entitled "The False Dawn of Enlightenment: W.E.B. du Bois and the Critique of Western Progress," to be held in building 33, room 286 from 8-9 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17, is mandatory. Your absence will injure your final participation grade.
- pop quizzes
(10%): ten orally delivered, randomly scheduled quizzes will be given this quarter; most will consist of five quick questions, though at least one will require a 15-minute essay response to a single prompt. Questions can cover both the current day's materials and those from the previous class period, and will sometimes draw
from "points of reflection" posted by 9 p.m. the night before each day's meeting.
Receiving 1 pt (full credit) on a quiz requires correctly answering three of five questions, or providing at least three textually supported points to build an essay response. Missed quizzes cannot be made up.
- exam #1
(10%): an in-class exam composed of short answer questions (40%)
and one 450-500 word essay (60%, students respond to 1 of 3 prompts; also a GWR opportunity). Date: Mon, Oct. 17.
- exam #2 / cumulative final
(15%): a 2-3 hour comprehensive exam composed of short answer questions and at least one 450-500 word essay (a GWR opportunity). Dates & Times: sec 01 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 5; sec 02 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9.
- extra credit: at three points throughout the quarter, I will screen films at Front Porch (1468 E. Foothill Blvd.) that engage the topic of love in what I believe to be important and profound ways. If you choose to attend one of these optional events and engage in discussion afterwards, you can earn between 1-1.5 pts (to be added to your final course average). Films will customarily begin at 6:30 p.m. on the Saturday in question.
- Oct. 15 / Pan's Labyrinth (Front Porch)
- Nov. 5 / Dancer in the Dark (Front Porch)
- Dec. 2 (maybe) / Melancholia (at Palm Theater)
- Dec. 3 /Gran Torino (Front Porch)
PATH 2: Outside
Research and Writing
Materials (purchase these editions)
- Group 1: Barrett Browning, Elizabeth. Aurora Leigh. 1856. Norton, 1995. ISBN: 0393962987
- Group 2: Eliot, George. Adam Bede. 1859. Broadview, 2005. ISBN: 1551113643
- Group 3: Eliot, George. The Mill on the Floss. 1860. Broadview, 2007. ISBN: 1551114674
- Group 4: Lawrence, D. H. Sons and Lovers. 1913. Penguin, 2006. ISBN: 0141441443
- Group 5: Lawrence, D. H. The Rainbow. 1915. Oxford, 2008. ISBN: 0199553858
- Group 6: Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. 1916. Penguin, 1977. ISBN: 0140155031
- Group 7: O'Connor, Flannery. Collected Works. Library of America, 1988. ISBN: 0940450372
essay response (10%): each student will belong
to a group of 4-5 students assigned to one or more literary texts.
Students in a given group will engage their touchstone texts in part through one short essay of 400-500 words. Multiple writing prompts will be provided each week during weeks 2-7, and students
will respond in writing to a single prompt in week 5 or 6. This compact
essay should be creative, focused, highly structured, and supported
by appropriately detailed evidence. Essay responses should be copied and pasted into the appropriate Blackboard forum by 11:59
p.m. the Friday after an essay prompt has been assigned. Go here for
strong sample essays. Late essays will lose 1 pt/day.
visit (10%): each student must participate in one half-hour,
small group discussion session during weeks 2, 3, or 4. Meetings will take place in my office during office hours. Each such session must include every member of your Path 2 group. Please go here to
choose a block of time which works for you, then email me with your selection. Those individual students who demonstrate profound familiarity with the Path 2 reading, and turn to particular passages to support their assertions during discussion, will earn the highest scores.
- paper conference for term paper (5%): students will construct a 2-3 page outline of their argument listing a working thesis statement, each of their main points, and supporting claims and evidence that extend into the reading for week 7. Outlines should be submitted to the appropriate Blackboard forum prior to your paper conference. Fifteen minutes will be allocated to discussion of each student's paper. Go here to find an available slot (look for the gray cells). Students who do not complete these requirements cannot turn in their term paper.
- term paper (25%): 5-6 page term paper which engages Path 2 texts and one of the films by Lar Von Triers on reserve in the library. Details tba. Due Wednesday, November 30th--bring a paper copy to class.
Grading: go for an elaboration of terms used below
A (18-20 on 20-pt scale, 5.4-6.0 on 6-pt scale): creative, topically focused, tightly structured, supported with the most convincing evidence, and virtually error-free
C (14-15.9 on 20-pt scale, 4.2-4.79 on 6-pt scale): a relatively focused essay with clear sense of progression from one idea to the next; argument bolstered by some supporting evidence; distracting number of grammatical errors
B (16-17.9 on 20-pt scale, 4.8-5.39 on 6-pt scale): topically focused, tightly structured, supported with solid evidence, and containing just a few stylistic or grammatical bumps
D (13-13.9 on 20-pt scale, 3.9-4.19 on 6-pt scale): topic clear but ineffectively argued; evidence provided tangentially relates to argument; loose sense of structure; profound difficulties w/ grammar
F (0-12.9 on 20-pt scale, 0-3.89 on 6-pt scale): little evidence of effort, or contains plagiarism
Take advantage of my frequent availability throughout the week. Go here to find an open slot, then email me to reserve that time for an office visit. The fastest way to contact
me if you have a quick question is via email. You can also reach me in my office at 805-756-2159, or in the evening (before 9 p.m.) at 593-0192.
Writing Lab Center
Experienced writers at the University Writing & Rhetoric Center offer free assistance with writing
assignments for any course. Using this service will improve even the best writer’s
output. Visit their website to schedule
an appointment in advance of your desired date.
Plagiarism and the Honor Code
I encourage you to improve your writing with the help of peers, instructors,
and myself. Remember, however, that all work
submit must be your own. Any paper containing borrowed but undocumented thoughts
or words will receive a failing grade, and I am obligated to
report all instances of plagiarism to the Vice President
of Student Affairs. Let
me know if you have further questions concerning this important issue.
"Two Pieces of Bred Expressing the Sentiment of Love" (1940)
Dr. Paul Marchbanks