This unit will examine how the Old Testament portrays God as just and merciful and the criteria whereby Israel is called to be the just and merciful society. It will consist of an analysis of the terms Justice and Mercy and associated terminology within their literary, historical and theological contexts. It will consider how these terms and the contexts in which they are used contribute to Theodicy—the notion of the just God.

Unit code: BA2018Y

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 2

Unit discipline: Old Testament

Proposing College: Yarra Theological Union

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Learning outcomes


apply their exegetical skills to the understanding of key theological terms in the Old Testament


demonstrate an ability to grasp the meaning of texts and terms


discuss the relationship between terminology in different contexts with a view to constructing a theology of mercy and justice


demonstrate a broad knowledge of the relevant background material


present papers in the context of seminar discussions

Unit sequence

Successful completion of BA1000Y and BN1000Y or the equivalent


Face-to-face lectures and tutorial discussion

Indicative Bibliography

  • Birch, B. C. Let justice roll down: The Old Testament, ethics, and Christian life. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1991.
  • Boda, Mark J. A Severe Mercy: Sin and Its Remedy in the Old Testament. Siphrut; Literature and Theology of the Old Testament Scriptures. Winona Lakes IN.: Eisenbrauns, 2009.
  • Gillmayr-Bucher, Susanne & Maria Hausl (eds.) Sedaqa and Torah in Post-Exilic Discourse. London: Bloomsbury, T & T Clark, 2017.
  • Crenshaw, J. L. Theodicy in the Old Testament. London: SPCK, 1983.
  • ––––––––– . Defending God: Biblical Responses to the Problem of Evil. Oxford: OUP, 2005.
  • Heagle, John. Justice Rising: The emerging biblical vision. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2010.
  • Houston, Walter J. Contending for justice: Ideologies and theologies of social justice in the Old Testament. London: T & T Clark, 2006.
  • * O’Brien, Mark A. Restoring the Right Relationship: The Bible on Divine Righteousness. Adelaide: ATF Press, 2014. (Set text)
  • Perdue, Leo. The Collapse of History: Reconstructing Old Testament Theology. OBT. Augsburg, MN: Fortress Press, 1994.
  • –––––––––––. Reconstructing Old Testament Theology: After the Collapse of History. OBT. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2005.
  • Weinfeld, Moshe. Social Justice in Ancient Israel and in the Ancient Near East. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1995.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Exegesis 1500 35.0
Essay 3500 65.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 11 Sep, 2020

Unit record last updated: 2021-06-07 08:43:49 +1000