This course will introduce the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) and critically examine its contents for insight into the life, the history and faith of the people of God in ancient Israel. The unit will survey the contents of the Hebrew/Old Testament canon, which formed and established a people’s identity; the historical contexts; the diversity of genres; and the theological positions of the OT books. The unit will equip the student to assess the meaning of the texts in their ancient Near Eastern environment; to understand the development of Hebrew religion through the 2nd temple period. Some attention will be given to the history of interpretation, including dominant critical issues relating to the Old Testament; and the relevance of the OT texts to issues of contemporary faith.

Unit code: BA8019P

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Foundational

Unit discipline: Old Testament

Proposing College: Pilgrim Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Demonstrate understanding of the textual, cultural, historical, literary, religious and theological aspects of the Old Testament


Develop a critical framework for reading and interpreting the diverse contents of the Old Testament


Articulate the relevance of the historical and socio-cultural contexts of the ancient Near Eastern world in which the books of the Old Testament emerged.


Engage the Old Testament and its material in theological reflection and in preaching


Discern the significance and relevance of the Old Testament in our times and places


Build a foundation for more advanced study of the Old Testament at postgraduate level

Unit sequence

This is a foundational unit and will function as a prerequisite for advanced units in the discipline


Assigned readings; Lectures; Tutorials

Indicative Bibliography

  • Boadt, Lawrence. Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction. Second Edition. Revised and Updated by Richard Clifford and Daniel Harrington. New York/Mahwah, N. J.: Paulist Press, 2012.
  • Brueggemann, Walter and Tod Linafelt. An Introduction to the Old Testament: The Canon and Christian Imagination. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2012. (recommended for purchase)
  • Collins, John J. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. 2nd ed. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2014. (recommended for purchase)
  • Drane, Jonathan. Introducing the Old Testament. Third Edition. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2011.
  • Gertz, Jan Christian, Angelika Berlejung, Konrad Schmid and Markus Witte. T & T Clark Handbook on the Old Testament: An Introduction to the Literature, Religion and History of the Old Testament. London/New York: T & T Clark International, 2012.
  • Gottwald, Norman K. he Hebrew Bible: A Brief Socio-Literary Introduction*. Philadelphia, PA: Fortress, 2009.
  • Gravett, Sandra L., Karla G. Bohmbach, F. V. Greifenhagen and Donald L. Polaski. An Introduction to the Hebrew Bible: A Thematic Approach. Louisville/London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2008. (recommended for purchase)
  • Kugler, Robert and Patrick Hartin. An Introduction to the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI/Cambridge, UK: Eerdmans, 2009.
  • Matthews, Victor H.A Brief History of Ancient Israel. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox, 2002.
  • Schottroff, Luise and Marie-Theres Wacker, Editors. Feminist Biblical Interpretation: A Compendium of Critical Commentary on the Books of the Bible and Related Literature. Grand Rapids, Michigan/Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2010.
  • Shanks, Hershel (ed.), Ancient Israel: A Short History from Abraham to the Roman Destruction of the Temple New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1988.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Exegetical Essay

Exegetical essay - 2500 Words

2500 40.0

Essay introducing a book of the OT – 2500 Words

2500 40.0

Participation in the online discussion forum 1500 words

1500 20.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 26 Sep, 2019

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