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 his people, creation, covenants, exodus, laws, atonement, and holiness/purity.

Unit code: BA2724B (Approved)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 2

Unit discipline: Old Testament

Proposing College: Eva Burrows College

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Learning outcomes


Outline major theories relating to the formation of the Pentateuch


Describe the key literary, theological and historical issues pertinent to the Pentateuch


Identify the place and the role of the Pentateuch in the wider biblical narrative


Interpret selected passages from the Pentateuch


Apply theological ideas located in the Pentateuch to contemporary life, ministry or social contexts

Unit sequence

Interpreting the Hebrew Bible, or equivalent


Lectures, exegetical exercises, group presentations, group discussions, visual aids, videos

Indicative Bibliography

  • Alexander, T. Desmond. From Paradise to the Promised Land: An Introduction to the Pentateuch. 3rd edition. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2012. (Recommended for purchase)
  • Brenner, Athalya, ed. Exodus to Deuteronomy: A Feminist Companion to the Bible (Second Series). Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000.
  • Hamilton, Victor P. Handbook on the Pentateuch: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. 2nd edition. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005.
  • Gooder, Paula. The Pentateuch : A Story of Beginnings. New York: Continuum, 2000.
  • Lienhard, Joseph T., and Ronnie J. Rombs, eds. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2001.
  • Livingston, G. Herbert. The Pentateuch in its Cultural Environment. 2nd edition. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1997.
  • 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.
  • Robinson, George. Essential Torah : A Complete Guide to the Five Books of Moses. New York: Schocken Books, 2006.
  • Rofé, Alexander. Introduction to the Composition of the Pentateuch. Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999.
  • Vogt, Peter T. Interpreting the Pentateuch: An Exegetical Handbook. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2009.
  • Wenham, Gordon J. Story as Torah: Reading the Old Testament Ethically. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 2000.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

2,000 word Exegetical Essay

2000 50.0

800 word Reflection

800 20.0

1,200 word Thematic Essay

1200 30.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 17 Oct, 2017

Unit record last updated: 2019-09-13 13:25:39 +1000