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 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

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

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, themes, and features of 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 (in each case, presented in a manner appropriate for face-to-face, online, blended, or intensive delivery modes).

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.
  • Amit, Yairah. Reading Biblical Narratives: Literary Criticism and the Hebrew Bible. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2001.
  • Botterweck, G. Johannes, and Helmer Ringgren. Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament. 15 vols. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974–2021.
  • Brueggemann, Walter. Genesis. Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Atlanta: John Knox, 1982.
  • Campbell, Antony F., and Mark O’Brien. Sources of the Pentateuch: Texts, Introductions, Annotations. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993.
  • Collins, John J. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004.
  • 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. 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 (%)

Variant 1


1,500-word case study (exegetical)

1500 35.0

2,000-word exegetical essay

2000 45.0
Written Examination

1-hour written examination

1000 20.0

Variant 2


1,500-word case study (exegetical)

1500 35.0

2,000-word learning resource

2000 45.0
Written Examination

1-hour written examination

1000 20.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 19 Jul, 2021

Unit record last updated: 2021-07-19 12:50:30 +1000