This unit provides an introduction to the contemporary interpretation of the Old Testament by reading it as a collection of diverse writings and by exploring its varied historical, cultural and social backgrounds. It introduces some methods used in the exegesis of biblical texts, and explores some of the issues surrounding the application of the ancient writings to contemporary contexts. A series of discrete but incremental topics will be covered throughout the semester presenting both an overview of the literature and specific study of representative sections of biblical material.

Unit code: BA8741Z

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Foundational

Unit discipline: Old Testament

Proposing College: Uniting College for Leadership and Theology

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Learning outcomes


Analyse the historical, geographical, cultural and social contexts reflected in the Old Testament


Discuss key content, literary forms and theological themes of the Old Testament


Evaluate the use and limitations of selected methods of interpreting the Old Testament


Identify and apply contemporary relevance from specified texts


Employ knowledge and skills developed in the unit to critique and develop resources suitable for selected ministry context(s)

Unit sequence

A Level 8 unit in postgraduate theology and ministry awards


UCLT uses primary and secondary sources considered through different lenses to identify and explore the challenges of the unit material for the contemporary world. Students are engaged in a range of comparative, analytical and reflective practices to identify the original meanings of the text in their contexts and to interpret them hermeneutically.

Indicative Bibliography

  • The Old and New Testaments with Apocrypha, NRSV (e.g. The New Interpreter’s Study Bible, The Harper Collins Study Bible, or The New Oxford Annotated Bible).
  • Brown, William P. A Handbook to Old Testament Exegesis, Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2017.
  • Brueggemann, Walter. Introduction to the Old Testament: the Canon and Christian Imagination, Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2003.
  • Collins, John J. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible, 3rd ed. Fortress Press, 2018.
  • Coogan, M. Old Testament: A Historical and Literary Introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures, New York: Oxford University, 2011.
  • Davies, Ellen. B. Biblical Criticism London: Bloomsbury, 2013.
  • Davies, Philip R. The History of Israel: A Guide for the Perplexed. London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2015.
  • Havea, Jione, Postcolonial Voices from Downunder: Indigenous Matters, Confronting Readings, Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2017.
  • Scholz, Susanne. Introduction to the Women’s Hebrew Bible: Feminism, Gender Justice, and the Study of the Old Testament, (2nd ed.). London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2017.
  • Tuhiwai Smith, Linda, Decolonizing Methodologies : Research and Indigenous Peoples, 3rd ed. New York: Bloomsbury, Zed Books, 2021.
  • Un Sok Ro, J (ed.). From Judah to Judaea : Socio-economic Structures and Processes in the Persian Period, Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2013.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Oral Presentation

Interaction with content of the Old Testament

500 10.0

Methods of Interpretation

500 15.0

Historical/geographical/cultural/social contexts of the Old Testament

1000 20.0
Exegetical Essay

Text Analysis and contemporary application

2500 30.0
Learning Resource

Resource critique and development

2000 25.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Prof Albert Haddad on 20 Oct, 2022

Unit record last updated: 2022-10-27 18:38:35 +1100