This unit explores the literary forms, traditions (oral and written) and central theological themes of the Pentateuch. Students will examine chosen pentateuchal passages in the light of source criticism, form criticism, narrative criticism, and reception history. They will develop familiarity with ancient and modern interpretations of the Pentateuch developed by Jewish and Christian exegetes. Attention will be given to both narrative and legal texts and to theological links between the Pentateuch and the New Testament. The unit will demonstrate the enduring relevance of pentateuchal texts to contemporary society and the church.

Unit code: BA3100C (Approved)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: Old Testament

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Accurately identify key passages in the Pentateuch.


Critically examine pentateuchal texts using detailed exegesis, appropriate methods, and secondary literature.


Demonstrate critical awareness of central debates about the composition of the Pentateuch.


Articulate the theology of pentateuchal texts and apply it to particular issues facing contemporary society and the church.


Investigate and evaluate scholarly literature on interpretative issues in the Pentateuch.

Unit sequence

Two Biblical Studies units at second level


Classes consist of interactive lectures, reading and analysing biblical texts, as well as discussions and seminars.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Alexander, T. Desmond, and David W. Baker, eds. Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2003.
  • Alexander, T. Desmond. From Paradise to the Promised Land: An Introduction to the Pentateuch. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2012.
  • Botterweck, G. Johannes, and Helmer Ringgren. Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament. 8 vols. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974–2006.
  • Brueggemann, Walter. Genesis. Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Atlanta: John Knox, 1982. (EBook available.)
  • Campbell, Antony F., and Mark O’Brien. Sources of the Pentateuch: Texts, Introductions, Annotations. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993.
  • Clines, David J. A. The Theme of the Pentateuch. 2nd ed. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000.
  • Collins, John J. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004.
  • Ska, Jean Louis. The Exegesis of the Pentateuch: Exegetical Studies and Basic Questions. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2009.
  • Ska, Jean Louis. “Our Fathers Have Told Us”: Introduction to the Analysis of Hebrew Narratives. Subsidia Biblica 13. Roma: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico, 1990.
  • Westermann, Claus. Genesis 1-11, 12-36, 37-50. 3 vols. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1984, 1985, 1986.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

2,000-word exegetical essay OR 2,000-word learning resource

2000 45.0
Written Examination

1-hour written examination

1000 20.0

1,500-word case study (exegetical)

1500 35.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 6 Aug, 2018

Unit record last updated: 2019-02-12 08:35:12 +1100