This unit will provide an overview of the Hebrew Bible taking into account its historical, cultural and literary contexts. It will seek to introduce students to the major theological themes of the Hebrew Bible and the interpretative approaches taken up by contemporary scholarship. It develops an understanding of critical exegetical tools, and includes an introduction to the context and interpretation of selected texts in the Pentateuch, the Deuteronomistic history, the prophetic tradition, and wisdom materials. This unit provides a foundation for further biblical and theological study.

Unit code: BA8391B

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Foundational

Unit discipline: Old Testament

Proposing College: Eva Burrows College

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Learning outcomes


Describe the general literary structures and narratives of the Hebrew Scriptures, and major theological themes in their socio-cultural contexts


Demonstrate the application of tools for biblical interpretation (dictionaries, lexica, commentaries, monographs, journals, etc)


Apply critical methodologies in the interpretation of the Hebrew Bible.


Distinguish between a variety of interpretations of biblical texts and the assumptions upon which they are based


Assess how the biblical text may be of value or relevance in the contemporary context.


Online synchronous and asynchronous, virtual classrooms, seminars, completion of workbooks

Indicative Bibliography

Required Text Coogan, Michael D. The Old Testament: a Historical and Literary Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. (4th edition) New York: Oxford University Press, 2018.

  • Birch, Bruce C. et al (eds) A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament. (2nd edition) Nashville : Abingdon, 2005.
  • Boadt, Lawrence, Richard J. Clifford, and Daniel J. Harrington. Reading the Old Testament: an Introduction (2nd edition) New York: Paulist Press, 2012.
  • Brueggemann, Walter, and Tod Linafelt. An Introduction to the Old Testament: The Canon and Christian Imagination. 3rd ed. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2021.
  • Carr, David M. An introduction to the Old Testament. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.
  • Collins, John J. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. (2nd edition) Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2014. 3rd edition 2018
  • Goheen, Michael W., and Craig G. Bartholomew. True Story of the Whole World : Finding Your Place in the Biblical Drama. Brazos Press, 2020.
  • Gossai, Hemchand. Postcolonial Commentary and the Old Testament. London, UK; T&T Clark, 2019.
  • Greer, Jonathan S., John W. Hilber, and John H. Walton. Behind the Scenes of the Old Testament : Cultural, Social, and Historical Contexts. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2018.
  • McKenzie, Steven L. and Kaltner, John. The Old Testament: its Background, Growth, & Content. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2007.
  • Walton, John H. and Andrew E. Hill. Old Testament Today: a Journey from Ancient Context to Contemporary Relevance. (2nd edition) Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Blog 600 10.0

Exegesis of selected text

1500 25.0
Essay 2700 45.0
Summative Reflection 1200 20.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Prof Albert Haddad on 17 Aug, 2022

Unit record last updated: 2022-08-17 18:05:15 +1000