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 some contemporary critical methodologies used to explore biblical texts and an application of these to specific texts.

Unit code: BA8000Y

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Foundational

Unit discipline: Old Testament

Delivery Mode: Blended

Proposing College: Yarra Theological Union

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Learning outcomes


Explain in outline the main events in of the history of Israel/Judah, 1000–63 BCE, and of the geography of the biblical land and its surrounds


Describe and classify the main types of literature found in the Old Testament


Locate and use appropriate resources for research and academic exegetical literature


Apply contemporary methods in the analysis and 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, with the Deuterocanonical or Apocrypha Books. NRSV (New Revised Standard Version).

  • 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.

  • Carr, David M. The Formation of the Hebrew Bible: A New Reconstruction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

  • Collins, John J. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. 3rd ed. 4 vols. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2019.

  • 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.

  • Hayes, John H., and Carl R. Holladay. Biblical Exegesis: A Beginner’s Handbook. 3rd ed. Atlanta, GA: John Knox, 2007.

  • Hays, Christopher B. Hidden Riches: A Sourcebook for the Comparative Study of the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2014.

  • 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.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Case Study 500 10.0
Exegetical Essay

Exegetical Essay

2000 30.0

Major Essay

3500 60.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 27 Aug, 2021

Unit record last updated: 2021-08-27 14:35:13 +1000