This unit focuses on understanding the Pentateuch in the wider context of the Old Testament narrative of Israel becoming the People of God. The Pentateuch is significant in both Judaism and Christianity as the foundational sacred text that narrates creation and the establishment of God’s covenant with Israel. Due to its importance both canonically and theologically, it is critical that students gain a comprehensive understanding of the Pentateuch in its historical, textual, and interpretive contexts. Through this unit, students will develop skills in reading and interpreting biblical texts, and gain an understanding of the Pentateuch’s composition, literary forms, redaction, and perspectives. This unit will engage students with the fields of historical, literary, and ideological criticism.

Unit code: BA9001Z

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Old Testament

Proposing College: St Francis College

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Learning outcomes


Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the compositional theories for the Pentateuch and the proposed socio-historical settings for the writing and collation of its component texts through engagement with history and archaeology.


Demonstrate skills in using literary criticism to analyse a biblical text, focusing on narrative criticism of the Pentateuch.


Demonstrate the ability to analyse and synthesise multiple perspectives on the ideology and theology in the text by engaging contextual readings of the Pentateuch.

Unit sequence

The prerequisites for this unit are two postgraduate foundation-level Biblical Studies units.


This unit will incorporate a flipped learning approach prior to on-campus workshops that will combine direct instruction and collaborative learning approaches.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Dozeman, Thomas. The Pentateuch: Introducing the Torah. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2017.

  • Alexander, T. Desmond. From paradise to the promised land: An introduction to the Pentateuch. 3rd edition. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2012.

  • Bakhos, Carol. The family of Abraham: Jewish, Christian and Muslim interpretations. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2014.

  • Anderson, Bradford A. An introduction to the study of the Pentateuch. T & T Clark Approaches to Biblical Studies. 2nd edition. London: Bloomsbury T & T Clark, 2017.

  • Ska, Jean-Louis. Introduction to reading the Pentateuch. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2006.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Exegesis - Scaffolded Exegesis Preparation

Scaffolded activities to support the development of exegetical skills.

500 10.0
Oral Presentation - Oral Presentation

Students will present an oral presentation (7-10 minutes).

1000 20.0
Exegesis - Exegesis

An exegetical essay.

1500 30.0
Essay - Essay

Hermeneutical essay.

4000 40.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Prof Albert Haddad on 18 Nov, 2022

Unit record last updated: 2022-11-18 10:34:03 +1100