This unit addresses key questions associated with the study of the Pentateuch. It pays particular attention to its content, literary forms, historical, religious and cultural background, including its history of formation and reception. It also explores the role and place of the Pentateuch within the biblical canon and its metanarrative. Attention will be also given to key themes of the pentateuchal story: the identity of YHWH and the Jewish people, creation, covenants, exodus, laws, atonement and holiness/purity.

Unit code: BA9124B

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Old Testament

Proposing College: Eva Burrows College

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Learning outcomes


Evaluate key hypotheses relating to the origin, unity, and composition of the Pentateuch


Appraise the theological and literary characteristics of different Pentateuchal traditions


Demonstrate a detailed understanding of the historical contexts (political, religious and social) of the Pentateuch


Assess the use of Pentateuchal themes in other biblical traditions


Analyse selected texts from the Pentateuch


Integrate theological ideas located in the Pentateuch into practical application to contemporary life, ministry or social contexts

Unit sequence

Interpreting the Hebrew Bible, or postgraduate foundational equivalent (24points)


Guided readings, online tutorials and workshops, exegetical exercises, knowledge application exercises, video lessons

Indicative Bibliography

** Alexander, T. Desmond. From Paradise to the Promised Land: An Introduction to the Pentateuch. Third edition. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2012. (The unit textbook is available as an eBook via UD Library Hub)

  • Anderson, Bradford A, and Paula Gooder. An Introduction to the Study of the Pentateuch. T & T Clark Approaches to Biblical Studies. London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2017.
  • Baden, Joel S. The Composition of the Pentateuch: Renewing the Documentary Hypothesis. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012.
  • Baden, Joel S, and Jeffrey Stackert, eds. Oxford Handbook of the Pentateuch. Oxford Handbooks. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021.
  • Campbell, Antony F., and Mark A. O'Brien. Rethinking the Pentateuch: Prolegomena to the Theology of Ancient Israel. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2005.
  • Dozeman, Thomas B. The Pentateuch: Introducing the Torah. Introducing Israel's Scriptures. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2017.
  • Fox, R. Michael, ed. Reverberations of the Exodus in Scripture. Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2014.
  • Hamilton, Victor P. Handbook on the Pentateuch: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Second ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2015.
  • Neusner, Jacob, Bruce Chilton, and Baruch A. Levine. Torah Revealed, Torah Fulfilled: Scriptural Laws in Formative Judaism and Earliest Christianity. New York: T&T Clark, 2008.
  • Van Seters, John. The Pentateuch: A Social-Science Commentary. Second ed. Cornerstones Series. London: Bloomsbury T & T Clark, 2015.
  • Witherington, Ben. Torah Old and New: Exegesis, Intertextuality, and Hermeneutics. Baltimore, Maryland: Project Muse, 2018.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Oral Presentation

1,500 word Presentation

1500 20.0

2,200 word Thematic Essay

2200 35.0

3,300 word Exegetical Essay

3300 45.0

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

Unit record last updated: 2022-08-18 10:35:43 +1000