This unit concerns the Pentateuch and its importance as a foundational text in both Judaism and Christianity. It outlines the ways that the Pentateuch has been interpreted in the past by both ancient and modern exegetes. In the examination of particular passages which highlight themes such as creation, covenant, law, purity, holiness and theodicy, both literary and historical-critical methodologies are used in the interpretation of the text. Consequently the distinctive contribution of Israel to the understanding of God within the Ancient Near Eastern context is brought to the fore. Attention is drawn also to the reception in the Old and New Testaments of passages studied, as is the continued relevance of their message in the present.

Unit code: BA9010Y

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Old Testament

Proposing College: Yarra Theological Union

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Learning outcomes


Apply a critical grasp of the historical, literary and theological issues associated with the Pentateuch to its interpretation


Demonstrate a critical knowledge of the theological themes in the books of the Pentateuch


Interpret passages from the books of the Pentateuch


Make critical use of secondary sources, e.g., commentaries


Critically discuss the issue of the continuing relevance of the Pentateuch


Apply exegetical analysis of text and understanding of distinctive theological themes to specific issues in the study of the Pentateuch

Unit sequence

24 foundational unit points in the Old Testament


synchronous lectures and tutorials

Indicative Bibliography

  • Alexander, T. Desmond. From Paradise to the Promised Land: An Introduction to the Pentateuch. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2012.
  • Brenner, Athalya, ed. Exodus to Deuteronomy: A Feminist Companion to the Bible (Second Series). Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000.
  • Campbell, Antony F., and Mark A. O’Brien. Rethinking the Pentateuch. Prolegomena to the Theology of Ancient Israel. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2005.
  • Collins, John J. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004.(recommended for purchase)
  • Dozeman, Thomas B., and Konrad Schmid and Baruch J. Schwartz, eds. The Pentateuch: International Perspectives on Current Research*. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011.
  • Edelman Diana V., et al. Opening the Book of Moses. Bible World. Sheffield: Equinox, 2012
  • Grypeou, Emmanouela, and Helen Spurling. The Book of Genesis in Late Antiquity: Encounters between Jewish and Christian Exegesis. Jewish and Christian Perspectives. Leiden: Brill, 2013.
  • Ska, Jean-Louis. Introduction to Reading the Pentateuch. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2006.
  • Ska, Jean Louis. The Exegesis of the Pentateuch: Exegetical Studies and Basic Questions. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2009.
  • Westermann, Claus. Genesis 1–11, 12–36, 37–50. 3 vols. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1984, 1985, 1986


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Essay 2400 35.0
Essay 4600 65.0

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

Unit record last updated: 2022-05-18 11:43:32 +1000