This unit provides an introduction to the diverse literature that makes up the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible situated in relation to the historical world out of which it arose. Students will be given an overview of the texts contained in the Old Testament arising from the ancient Israelites’ experience and reflection over hundreds of years, as well as some more in depth understanding of some of these texts. Historical and cultural settings from which the texts arose will be examined. Methods of interpreting these texts that seek to understand them within their original historical contexts, such as source criticism, form criticism, and redaction criticism will be introduced and there will be opportunity to practice these to facilitate interpretation. The material in this unit will provide the foundation for more in-depth explorations of Old Testament texts in later studies.

Unit code: BA1025Z

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 1

Unit discipline: Old Testament

Proposing College: Wollaston Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Describe the main features of the historical and religious backgrounds of the Old Testament writings


Outline the contents and major themes of Old Testament literature


Explain and apply scholarly theories about the formation and composition of these writings


Show proficiency in using historical-critical methodologies


Display interpretative skills in relation to the secondary literature

Unit sequence

Foundational first year unit


Lectures, tutorials

Indicative Bibliography

  • John J. Collins, Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. 2nd. Edition. Minneapolis; Fortress, 2014 ISBN 9781451469233 [required textbook]
  • The New Oxford Annotated Bible, 5th edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019 (or any other version of the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible containing the Apocrypha). [required textbook]
  • S. Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia, “The Epic of Creation” (Revd. ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000)
  • J. H. Hayes, An Introduction to Old Testament Study (Nashville: Abingdon, 1980)
  • Frank S. Frick, A Journey through the Hebrew Scriptures (2nd ed., Australia et al.: Thomson Wadsworth, 2003)
  • A. F. Campbell, The Study Companion to Old Testament Literature (Wilmington, DL:Glazier, 1989)
  • J. Crenshaw, Old Testament Wisdom: An Introduction (Louisville,KY: Westminster John Knox, 1998)
  • J. Maxwell Miller, The Old Testament and the Historian (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1976)
  • David M. Carr, The Formation of the Hebrew Bible: A New Reconstruction (Oxford: Oxfored University Press, 2011)


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Short Answer Responses 1500 20.0
Exegetical Essay 1500 40.0
Essay 1000 30.0

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

Unit record last updated: 2022-11-18 10:40:01 +1100