This unit is an introduction to the Old Testament. It consists of a study of the history and geography of biblical Israel, as well as a survey of the literature of the Old Testament and its formation. It includes an introduction to the contemporary critical methodologies used to explore biblical texts and an application of these to specific texts.

Unit code: BA8000Y (Approved)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Foundational

Unit discipline: Old Testament

Proposing College: Yarra Theological Union

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Learning outcomes


Demonstrate an understanding of the history of Israel/Judah, 1000–63 BCE, and of the geography of the biblical land and its surrounds


Identify and describe the structure of the Old Testament and the different types of literature found in the Old Testament


Locate and use resources for research and academic exegetical literature


Demonstrate a familiarity with and an ability to apply contemporary methods critically in the interpretation of selected Old Testament texts


Engage critically with contemporary debates about the historicity of the Old Testament and evaluate the ongoing significance of the text for the Christian community


Lectures, interaction with the text in pairs or small groups, group discussion

Indicative Bibliography

  • Bible, preferably with the Deuterocanonical or Apocrypha Books. Suitable versions are the NRSV (New Revised Standard Version), NAB (New American Bible), NJB (New Jerusalem Bible). (Either one recommended for purchase)
  • Albertz, Rainer. A History of Israelite Religion in the Old Testament Period. Volume 1: From the Beginnings until the End of the Exile. London: SCM, 1994.
  • –––––––. A History of Israelite Religion in the Old Testament Period. Volume 2: From the Exile to the Maccabees. London: SCM, 1994.
  • Collins, John J. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2004 (2nd ed. 2014).
  • Coogan, Michael D. The Old Testament: A Historical and Literary Introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures, New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.
  • Estes, Daniel J. Handbook on the Wisdom Books and Psalms. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2005.
  • Gerstenberger, Erhard. Psalms. FOTL 14. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1988.
  • –––––––. Psalms, Part 2 and Lamentations. FOTL 15. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2001.
  • Hayes, John H., and Carl R. Holladay. Biblical Exegesis: A Beginner’s Handbook. 3rd ed. Atlanta, GA: John Knox, 2007.
  • McKenzie, Steven L., and Stephen R. Haynes, eds. To Each Its Own Meaning: An Introduction to Biblical Criticisms and Their Application. 2nd revised and expanded ed. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 1999.
  • Miller, J. Maxwell. “Introduction to the History of Ancient Israel.” In New Interpreter’s Bible. Vol. 1, 244–271. Nashville, TN: Abingdon 1994.
  • Redditt, Paul L. Introduction to the Prophets. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2008.
  • Ska, Jean-Louis. Introduction to Reading the Pentateuch. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2006.
  • Westermann, Claus. Genesis: A Commentary. 3 Vols. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 1984–1986.
  • Whybray, R.N. Introduction to the Pentateuch. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1995.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Major Essay 4000 words

0 65.0
Exegetical Essay

Exegetical Essay 2000 words

0 35.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 19 Oct, 2016

Unit record last updated: 2020-10-30 19:16:46 +1100