This unit provides an introduction to the theory and practice of textual interpretation. It also considers the particular challenges of interpreting the inspired text of the biblical canon with its multiple senses from a Catholic perspective. The student will learn about several interpretive methods and approaches and will apply some of them to the exegesis of passages from the Old and New Testaments, with the aid of dictionaries and commentaries.

Unit code: BS1002C (Approved)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 1

Unit discipline: Biblical Studies

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Articulate a satisfactory understanding of the concepts of biblical inspiration, canonicity, and the senses of Scripture;


State the key features and goals of several interpretive methods and approaches in biblical studies


Identify oral traditions or written sources of a biblical passage (with the aid of biblical dictionaries and commentaries) and use these in an interpretation of the passage


demonstrate appropriate use of a synchronic method or approach (with the aid of biblical dictionaries and commentaries) in the interpretation of a biblical passage


Engage with a biblical text as Scripture having relevance for the Church today, incorporating the results of specific techniques of interpretation


lectures and discussions

Indicative Bibliography

  • Aune, David E., ed. The Blackwell Companion to the New Testament. Blackwell Companions to Religion. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.
  • Fee, Gordon D. New Testament Exegesis: A Handbook for Students and Pastors. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002.
  • Fitzmyer, Joseph A., and the Catholic Church’s Pontifical Biblical Commission. The Biblical Commission’s Document “The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church”: Text and Commentary. Subsidia Biblica 18. Rome: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico, 1995.
  • Gorman, Michael J. Elements of Biblical Exegesis: A Basic Guide for Students and Ministers. Rev. ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2009.
  • Harrington, Daniel J. How Do Catholics Read the Bible? Come and See Series. Lanham, MD: Sheed & Ward, 2005. (recommended for purchase)
  • Hayes, John H., and Carl R. Holladay. Biblical Exegesis: A Beginner’s Handbook. 3rd ed. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2007. (recommended for purchase)
  • Law, David R. The Historical-Critical Method: A Guide for the Perplexed. Guides for the Perplexed. London: T. and T. Clark, 2012.
  • McKenzie, Steven L., and Michael D. Coogan, eds. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Biblical Interpretation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • Perdue, Leo G., ed. The Blackwell Companion to the Hebrew Bible. Blackwell Companions to Religion. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2005.
  • Pontifical Biblical Commission. The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church. 1993. (Available online.) (recommended for purchase)
  • Steck, Odil Hannes. Old Testament Exegesis: A Guide to the Methodology. Translated by James D. Nogalski. SBLRBS, Vol. 39. 2nd ed. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1998.
  • Thiselton, Anthony C. Hermeneutics: An Introduction. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2009.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

1250 word essay (passages from New Testament)

0 30.0
Written Examination

1 hour written examination (1000 words)

0 25.0

500 word essay

0 15.0

1250 word essay (passages from Old Testamaent)

0 30.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 1 Nov, 2017

Unit record last updated: 2019-02-21 11:23:23 +1100