This unit seeks to explore the rich variety of theological perspectives that are found in the various traditions and levels of text of which the Pentateuch is composed. We will delve into the theology of the sources, the Priestly and non-Priestly material, and analyse in some depth selected texts within the ancestral material in Genesis 12-50 and texts that occur at key points in Exodus and Numbers. A particular focus will be the Exodus material. In exploring these texts we will use primarily the historical critical approach (source criticism, form criticism, traditio-historical criticism, redaction criticism) but we will also at times newer literary approaches by way of comparison and contrast.

Unit code: BA3600T

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: Old Testament

Proposing College: Trinity College Theological School

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Learning outcomes


Discuss various theological perspectives found in the Pentateuch and in particular the theology of the Priestly and non-Priestly material


Analyse biblical texts and especially texts in the Pentateuch using historical critical approaches (e.g. source criticism, form criticism, traditio-historical criticism, redaction criticism) and newer literary approaches


Demonstrate an understanding of how different methodological approaches affect one's interpretation of texts


Critically engage with both the text and the secondary literature, so as to reach an interpretation of texts on an informed basis

Unit sequence

An introductory unit in BA


Lectures, tutorials

Indicative Bibliography

  • Boorer, Suzanne., The Vision of the Priestly Narrative: its Genre and Hermeneutics of Time.,Atlanta: SBL, 2016.
  • Campbell, Antony F., and Mark A. O’Brien. Sources of the Pentateuch: Texts, Introductions, Annotations. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1993.
  • Childs, Brevard S., Exodus: A Commentary. Old Testament Library, London: SCM, 1974
  • Dozeman, Thomas B. (ed.) Methods for Exodus, Cambridge: Cambridge University, 2012
  • Fretheim, Terrence E., Exodus, Louisville: John Knox, 1991
  • Gorman, Frank., The Ideology of Ritual: Space, Time and Status in the Priestly Theology, JSOTSup91; Sheffield: JSOT, 1990
  • Knierim, Rolf P. and Coats, George W., Numbers, FOTL 4; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005.
  • Lohfink, Norbert, “The Priestly Narrative and History,” in Theology of the Pentateuch: Themes of the Priestly Narrative and Deuteronomy, Minneapolis: Fortress, 1994, pp. 149-172
  • Moberly, R. W. L., At the Mountain of God: Story and Theology in Exodus 32-34, JSOTSup 22; Sheffield: JSOT, 1983.
  • Trible, Phyllis, Texts of Terror: Literary Feminist Readings of Biblical Narratives. Overtures to Biblical Theology, Philadelphia: Fortress, 1984


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Essay 2000 40.0
Seminar or Tutorial - Presentation 1000 30.0
Written Examination 2000 30.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 27 Sep, 2021

Unit record last updated: 2021-09-27 14:56:12 +1000