This unit is an introduction to the Old Testament. It consists of a study of the history and geography of biblical Israel, as well as a survey of the literature of the Old Testament and its formation. It includes an introduction to the contemporary critical methodologies used to explore biblical texts and an application of these to specific texts.

Unit code: BA1000Y

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 1

Unit discipline: Old Testament

Proposing College: Yarra Theological Union

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Learning outcomes


Articulate a knowledge of the history of Israel/Judah, ca. 1000 – 63 BCE, and of the geography of the biblical land and its surrounds


List and recognise the structure of the Old Testament and the main types of biblical literature found there


Demonstrate awareness and an elementary use of resources for research and academic exegetical literature


Exegete a text of the Old Testament, showing a familiarity with contemporary critical methods of interpretation


Discuss contemporary debates about the historicity of the Old Testament and describe the ongoing significance of the text for the Christian community


Lectures, interaction with the text in pairs or small groups, group discussion

Indicative Bibliography

  • Bible, preferably with the Deuterocanonical or Apocrypha Books. Suitable versions are the NRSV (New Revised Standard Version), NAB (New American Bible), NJB (New Jerusalem Bible). (Either one recommended for purchase)

  • Albertz, Rainer. A History of Israelite Religion in the Old Testament Period. Volume 1: From the Beginnings until the End of the Exile. London: SCM, 1994.

  • –––––––. A History of Israelite Religion in the Old Testament Period. Volume 2: From the Exile to the Maccabees. London: SCM, 1994.

  • Collins, John J. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2004 (2nd ed. 2014).

  • Coogan, Michael D. The Old Testament: A Historical and Literary Introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures, New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

  • Estes, Daniel J. Handbook on the Wisdom Books and Psalms. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2005.

  • Gerstenberger, Erhard. Psalms. FOTL 14. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1988.

  • –––––––. Psalms, Part 2 and Lamentations. FOTL 15. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2001.

  • Hayes, John H., and Carl R. Holladay. Biblical Exegesis: A Beginner’s Handbook. 3rd ed. Atlanta, GA: John Knox, 2007.

  • McKenzie, Steven L., and Stephen R. Haynes, eds. To Each Its Own Meaning: An Introduction to Biblical Criticisms and Their Application. 2nd revised and expanded ed. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 1999.

  • Miller, J. Maxwell. “Introduction to the History of Ancient Israel.” In New Interpreter’s Bible. Vol. 1, 244–271. Nashville, TN: Abingdon 1994.

  • Redditt, Paul L. Introduction to the Prophets. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2008. Ska, Jean-Louis. Introduction to Reading the Pentateuch. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2006.

  • Westermann, Claus. Genesis: A Commentary. 3 Vols. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 1984–1986.

  • Whybray, R.N. Introduction to the Pentateuch. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1995.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Essay 1300 words

0 35.0
Written Examination

1 hour Exam

0 30.0

Exegetical Essay 1300 words

0 35.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 28 Jul, 2016

Unit record last updated: 2019-02-06 13:10:54 +1100