This course will introduce the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) and critically examine its contents for insight into the life, the history and faith of the people of God in ancient Israel. The unit will survey the contents of the Old Testament which formed and established a people’s identity; the historical contexts; the diversity of genres; theological positions and of the OT books. The unit will equip the student to assess the meaning of the texts in their ancient Near Eastern environment; to understand the development of Hebrew religion through the 2nd temple period; and the relation of the OT texts to issues of contemporary faith.

Unit code: BA8010P

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Foundational

Unit discipline: Old Testament

Proposing College: Pilgrim Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Demonstrate understanding of the textual, cultural, historical, literary, religious, and theological aspects of the Old Testament


Discuss the relevance of the historical and socio-cultural contexts of the ancient Near Eastern world in which the books of the Old Testament emerged


Develop a critical framework for reading and interpreting the diverse contents of the Old Testament


Engage the Old Testament and its material in theological reflection and in preaching


Discern the significance and relevance of the Old Testament in our times and places


Build a foundation for more advanced study of the Old Testament.

Unit sequence

This is a foundational unit and will function as a prerequisite for advanced units in the discipline


Assigned readings; Lectures; Tutorials

Indicative Bibliography

  • Boadt, Lawrence. Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction. Second Edition. Revised and Updated by Richard Clifford and Daniel Harrington. New York/Mahwah, N. J.: Paulist Press, 2012.
  • Brooks, Roger and John J. Collins, (Eds.). Hebrew Bible or Old Testament? Studying the Bible in Judaism and Christianity. Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1990.
  • Brueggemann, Walter and Tod Linafelt. An Introduction to the Old Testament: The Canon and Christian Imagination. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2012. (recommended for purchase)
  • Collins, John J. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. 2nd ed. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2014. (recommended for purchase)
  • Dick, Michael B. Reading the Old Testament: An Inductive Introduction. Peabody, Massachusetts: 2008.
  • Drane, Jonathan. Introducing the Old Testament. Third Edition. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2011.
  • Gertz, Jan Christian, Angelika Berlejung, Konrad Schmid and Markus Witte. T & T Clark Handbook on the Old Testament: An Introduction to the Literature, Religion and History of the Old Testament. London/New York: T & T Clark International, 2012.
  • Gravett, Sandra L., Karla G. Bohmbach, F. V. Greifenhagen and Donald L. Polaski. An Introduction to the Hebrew Bible: A Thematic Approach. Louisville/London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2008. (recommended for purchase)
  • JPS Guide, The Jewish Bible. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 2008.
  • Knight, Douglas A. and Amy-Jill Levine. The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish Scriptures and Christian Old Testament Can Teach us. New York: Harper One, 2011.
  • Rutledge, Fleming. And God Spoke to Abraham: Preaching from the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, Michigan/Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2011.
  • Schottroff, Luise and Marie-Theres Wacker, Editors. Feminist Biblical Interpretation: A Compendium of Critical Commentary on the Books of the Bible and Related Literature. Grand Rapids, Michigan/Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2010.
  • Shanks, Hershel (ed.), Ancient Israel: A Short History from Abraham to the Roman Destruction of the Temple New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1988.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Exegetical Essay

An Exegetical essay - 2500 Words

2500 40.0

A short exercise - 1500 Words

1500 20.0

An Essay introducing a book of the OT – 2000 Words

2000 40.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 26 Sep, 2019

Unit record last updated: 2021-06-07 08:43:49 +1000