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: BA9100C

Unit status: Approved (Minor revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Old Testament

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

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Learning outcomes


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


Compare and assess scholarly proposals of the origin and growth of the Pentateuch.


Raise and respond to questions about fundamental concepts and approaches in the study of the Pentateuch.


Reflect theologically on key themes in the Pentateuch, elucidating contemporary insights for society and the church.


Communicate deliberated conclusions from research of scholarly debate on interpretative issues in the Pentateuch.


Produce critical biblical research in pentateuchal studies.

Unit sequence

BA8001C and BN8001C (or BS8001C and BS8002C) or equivalent


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

Exegetical Essay


  • 7,000-word exegetical essay Due Week 14. Weight 100% Meets Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6



  • 2,000-word case study (exegetical) Due Week 6. Weight 35%. Meets Learning Outcomes 1, 2
  • 2,000-word book review Due Week 10. Weight 25% Meets Learning Outcomes 3, 5
  • 3,000-word exegetical essay Due Week 14. Weight 40% Meets Learning Outcomes 1, 3, 4, 5, 6



  • 2,000-word case study (exegetical) Due Week 6. Weight 30% Meets Learning Outcomes 1, 2
  • 30-minute seminar or tutorial Due Week 10. Weight 30% Meets learning Outcomes 3, 5
  • 3,000-word exegetical essay Due Week 14. Weight 40% Meets Learning Outcomes 1, 3, 4, 5, 6
7000 100.0

Variant 2


2,000-word case study (exegetical)

2000 35.0
Book Review

2,000-word book review

2000 25.0
Exegetical Essay

3,000-word exegetical essay

3000 40.0

Variant 3


2,000-word case study (exegetical)

2000 30.0
Tutorial Paper/Seminar Paper

30-minute seminar or tutorial

2000 30.0
Exegetical Essay

3,000-word exegetical essay

3000 40.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Prof Albert Haddad on 7 Aug, 2023

Unit record last updated: 2023-08-07 14:47:48 +1000