Challenging times produce challenging texts. This unit offers a thematic introduction to the book of Ezekiel, a prophetic book of the Babylonian Exile (597/587-539 BCE) that explores existential questions such as the meaning of exile, the perceived presence (or absence) of God and the emerging of hope from within the crisis. Special attention will be given to the book’s historical and socio-religious setting and to the experience of trauma pervading both author and historical audience. The approach of reading Ezekiel as trauma literature can shed light on some of the most challenging texts in this book. It also can help build bridges from these ancient texts into our own contemporary world.

Unit code: BA2021Y

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 2

Unit discipline: Old Testament

Proposing College: Yarra Theological Union

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Learning outcomes


illustrate the historical, political and religious contexts that influenced the book of Ezekiel


recognise and apply select contemporary methods of interpretation to texts within the book of Ezekiel, demonstrating some engagement with the text as well as with appropriate secondary literature


describe textual and theological difficulties in the texts discussed


reflect on the ongoing significance of the book of Ezekiel in an informed academic manner


engage in constructive, criteria-referenced peer-evaluation of tutorial presentations.

Unit sequence

Pre-requisites: BA1000Y and BN1000Y, or equivalent


The unit follows a student-centred and outcomes-based approach. Learning activities include lectures, discussions, group work, personal study, seminars with student presentations and peer evaluation. Seminar presentations of Level 3/9 students are peer-evaluated in writing, using a grading form. Measuring the work of their peers against clear criteria is intended to develop students’ confidence in recognising, assessing and producing quality work in relation to academic standards, besides encouraging them to listen to, and learn from, each other. The evaluations are submitted to the teacher and marked according to how well they apply the criteria and how helpful their comments are. The poster/concept map is on the same topic as and in preparation of the exegetical essay, thus allowing for nested feedback.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Boase, Elizabeth, and Christopher G. Frechette. Bible Through the Lens of Trauma. Semeia Studies. Atlanta, GA: SBL Press, 2017.
  • Block, Daniel I. The Book of Ezekiel. 2 vols. The New International Commentary on the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1997-98 (vol. 2 (chapters 25-48) only).
  • Boda, Mark J., Frank Ritchel Ames, John J. Ahn, and Mark Leuchter, eds. The Prophets Speak on Forced Migration. Ancient Israel and Its Literature 21. Atlanta, GA: SBL Press, 2015.
  • Bowen, Nancy R. Ezekiel. Abingdon Old Testament Commentaries. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2010.
  • Caruth, Cathy. Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative, and History. Twentieth Anniversary ed. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016.
  • Joyce, Paul M. Ezekiel: A Commentary. Library of Hebrew/Old Testament Studies 482. 2nd ed. New York: T&T Clark, 2009.
  • Kutsko, John F. Between Heaven and Earth: Divine Presence and Absence in the Book of Ezekiel. Biblical and Judaic Studies 7. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2000.
  • Lyons, Michael A. An Introduction to the Study of Ezekiel. T&T Clark Approaches to Biblical Studies. London: Bloomsbury, 2015.
  • Tooman, William A., and Michael A. Lyons, eds. Transforming Visions: Transformations of Text, Tradition, and Theology in Ezekiel. Princeton Theological Monograph Series 127. Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2010.
  • Zimmerli, Walther. Ezekiel 1: A Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel. Translated by Ronald E. Clements. Edited by Frank Moore Cross and Klaus Baltzer. Hermeneia. Philadelphia, PA: Fortress, 1979.
  • Zimmerli, Walther. Ezekiel 2: A Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel. Translated by James D. Martin. Edited by Paul D. Hanson and Leonard Jay Greenspoon. Hermeneia. Philadelphia, PA: Fortress, 1983.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Peer Evaluation 500 15.0

Poster or Concept Map

1000 30.0
Exegetical Essay 2500 55.0

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

Unit record last updated: 2020-09-11 16:24:48 +1000