Religion and Literature - Master of Arts in Religion

Concentration in Religion and Literature

Medieval Spanish manuscriptThe concentration emphasizes the close reading of texts, an awareness of historical context, and a wide variety of interpretive approaches. What distinguishes it from other master’s programs in literature, however, is its focus on the religious dimension of literary works and the theological ramifications of their study—for communities as well as for individual readers. Students are helped to make connections between theological content and literary form (e.g., narrative, poetry, memoir, epistle, fragment, and song); to increase understanding of how the arts voice theological ideas; and to develop creative as well as critical writing skills in articulating theology. In addition to literary study students take courses in Bible, theology, and history. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the ISM, moreover, literature is always brought into conversation with worship and the other arts.

Graduates of the program typically go on to doctoral work, to college and secondary school teaching positions, or to publishing.

Sample Courses

  • Dante’s Journey to God
  • Religious Themes in Contemporary American Short Fiction
  • The Psalms in Scripture, Literature, and Music
  • The Religious Lyric in Britain
  • Genesis and its Afterlife
  • The Passion of Christ in Literature and the Visual Arts
The Institute presents the Yale Literature and Spirituality Series which draws several renowned writers to speak on campus each year, and which includes the Lana Schwebel Memorial Lecture in Religion and Literature
  • Venerable Bede
    Venerable Bede
  • Emily Dickinson
    Emily Dickinson
  • Hopkins journal
    journal entry of Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • John Milton
    John Milton
  • T.S. Eliot
  • Christian Wiman: My Bright Abyss
  • Dante