This unit addresses key questions associated with the study of the Pentateuch. It pays particular attention to its content, literary forms, historical, religious and cultural background, including its history of formation and reception. It also explores the role and place of the Pentateuch within the biblical canon and its metanarrative. Attention will be also given to key themes of the pentateuchal story: the identity of YHWH and his people, creation, covenants, exodus, laws, atonement and holiness/purity.

Unit code: BA9724B (Approved)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Old Testament

Proposing College: Eva Burrows College

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Learning outcomes


Evaluate key hypotheses relating to the origin, unity, and composition of the Pentateuch


Appraise the theological and literary characteristics of different Pentateuchal traditions


Demonstrate a detailed understanding of the historical contexts (political, religious and social) of the Pentateuch


Assess the use of Pentateuchal themes in other biblical traditions


Analyse selected texts from the Pentateuch


Integrate theological ideas located in the Pentateuch into practical application to contemporary life, ministry or social contexts

Unit sequence

Interpreting the Hebrew Bible, or postgraduate foundational equivalent


Online forums, tutorials, guided readings, exegetical exercises, reflections, videos, discussions

Indicative Bibliography

  • Alexander, T. Desmond. From Paradise to the Promised Land: An Introduction to the Pentateuch. 3rd edition. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2012. (Recommended for purchase)
  • Baden, Joel S. The Composition of the Pentateuch: Renewing the Documentary Hypothesis. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012.
  • Campbell, Antony F., and Mark A. O'Brien. Rethinking the Pentateuch: Prolegomena to the Theology of Ancient Israel. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2005.
  • Fox, R. Michael, ed. Reverberations of the Exodus in Scripture. Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2014.
  • Gooder, Paula. The Pentateuch: A Story of Beginnings. New York: Continuum, 2000.
  • Hamilton, Victor P. Handbook on the Pentateuch: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. 2nd edition. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005.
  • Lienhard, Joseph T., and Ronnie J. Rombs, eds. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2001.
  • Livingston, G. Herbert. The Pentateuch in its Cultural Environment. 2nd edition. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1997.
  • Moyise, Steve and ‎Maarten J.J. Menken, eds. Deuteronomy in the New Testament: The New Testament and the Scriptures of Israel. London: T&T Clark, 2007.
  • Neusner, Jacob, Bruce Chilton, and Baruch A. Levine. Torah Revealed, Torah Fulfilled: Scriptural Laws in Formative Judaism and Earliest Christianity. New York: T&T Clark, 2008.
  • Sailhamer, John. The Meaning of the Pentateuch: Revelation, Composition, and Interpretation. Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Academic, 2009.
  • Ska, Jean Louis. The Exegesis of the Pentateuch: Exegetical Studies and Basic Questions. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2009.
  • Vogt, Peter T. Interpreting the Pentateuch: An Exegetical Handbook. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2009.
  • Wenham, Gordon J. Story as Torah: Reading the Old Testament Ethically. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2000.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

1,500 word Presentation

1500 20.0

2,200 word Thematic Essay

2200 35.0
Exegetical Essay

3,300 word Exegetical Essay

3300 45.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 27 Sep, 2017

Unit record last updated: 2019-09-16 09:43:18 +1000