Constructing a Religion and Literature Course: Building a Framework around Albert Camus’ The Outsider

Marra Justin, Saadia Salamath, Leanne Strokov, Shantal Reynolds, Shahad Jarjis


Constructing a course in Christianity and Literature is a difficult task; the concept of Christianity in itself is open and vague. Within Christianity there are many different sects and perspectives. In order to build a class around Christianity and Literature, one must define what exactly one means by ‘Christianity.’ This is also an interesting challenge, because throughout time, the definitions of different sects change. What if there are cultural influences on the various sects? All of this must be accounted for. When creating the syllabus for Christianity and Modern Literature, three possible options were to use Roman Catholicism, English Protestantism, and Christian Science as the various sects of Christianity. The direct focus of the course was to look at these sects within the time frames of the authors’ lives, of the selected novels, and within their cultural backgrounds. Refinement of what Christianity was to mean in the class provided the ability to further expand on ideas and themes. The next step would be to identify themes present in the novels and relate them to the chosen sects of Christianity. The novels are an important component of a Christianity and literature course: it is beneficial to construct a course around one novel. This creates reasonable limits for the themes that will be determined. For this syllabus the foundation was the novel The Outsider by Albert Camus. Within this novel there were many underlying themes that could have been drawn, but we chose three strong themes that could also be drawn out of the other selected literary works. 

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