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: BA8791B

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 ability to use 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 the continuing significance of the text for the contemporary context.


Lectures, seminars, group work, online forums, videos

Indicative Bibliography

  • 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. Introduction to the Old Testament: the Canon and Christian Imagination. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2003.
  • 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
  • Coogan, Michael D. The Old Testament: a Historical and Literary Introduction to the Hebrew Bible . (3rd edition) New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. (recommended for purchase)
  • Coggins, Richard J. Introducing the Old Testament. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990.
  • Gillingham, Susan E. *One Bible, Many Voices: Different Approaches to Biblical Studies. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999.
  • Hays, John H. and Holladay, Carl R. Biblical Exegesis: a Beginner’s Handbook*. (3rd edition) Atlanta: John Knox, 2007.
  • McKenzie, Steven L. and Kaltner, John. The Old Testament: its Background, Growth, & Content. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2007.
  • Rogerson, John and Philip R. Davies. The Old Testament World. London: T&T Clark, 2005.
  • 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 (%)

1,200 word summative reflection

1200 20.0

1,800 word exegesis of selected text

1800 30.0

3,000 word Essay

3000 50.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 27 Jul, 2017

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