How important is method in our study and interpretation of the Bible? What are the methods or hermeneutical principles one can employ? How can we effectively interpret the Bible so that it might speak to our contemporary times? This unit will survey the many approaches, methods and hermeneutical principles employed by readers and practitioners (Historical-Critical, Literary, Feminist, Queer, Ecological, Liberational, Postcolonial, Postmodern, Psychological, Popular Culture, Disability, etc) of the Bible; explore the questions raised by them and assess both their strengths and weaknesses. The course will instruct how these methods are applied to select texts from the Old Testament and the New Testament as test cases to encourage the students to appreciate not only the variety of methods but also the multiplicity of meaning inherent within the Biblical text.

Unit code: BS3010P

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: Biblical Studies

Proposing College: Pilgrim Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Describe the history of biblical interpretation


Identify and discuss some of the approaches, hermeneutical principles, methods and practices of biblical interpretation


Analyze and describe the key assumptions of a selection of methods (schools, approaches, and perspectives) of biblical criticism


Understand and appreciate the context of those methods as well as one’s own cultural contexts in the process of biblical interpretation


Apply these methods in their reading and interpretation of Biblical texts

Unit sequence

A foundational Unit (18 points) in OT AND A foundational unit (18 points ) in NT


Readings and Lectures

Indicative Bibliography

  1. Davies, Eryl W. Biblical criticism: A Guide for the Perplexed. London: Bloomsbury, T & T Clark, 2013.
  2. Deppe, Dean B. All Roads Lead to the Text: Eight Methods of Inquiry into the Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan/Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2011.
  3. Gillingham, S. E. One Bible: Many Voices: Different Approaches to Biblical Studies London: SPCK, 1998.
  4. Havea, Jione (ed.). Sea of Readings: The Bible in the South Pacific. Atlanta: SBL, 2018.
  5. Havea, Jione (ed.). Scripture and Resistance. New York: Lexington, 2019.
  6. Havea, Jione and Monica J. Melanchthon (eds). Bible Blindspots: Dispersion and Othering. Eugene: Pickwick, 2021.
  7. McKenzie, Stephen L. and John Kaltner (Eds). New Meanings for Ancient Texts: Recent approaches to Biblical Criticisms and their Applications. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2013.
  8. Schüssler- Fiorenza, Elisabeth, (ed.). Searching the Scriptures: A Feminist Introduction, New York: Crossroad Publishing Company, 2000.
  9. Sugirtharajah, R. S. Voices from the Margin: Interpreting the Bible in the Third World. Revised and Expanded Third Edition, Maryknoll, New York: Orbis, 2006.
  10. Saul M. Olyan, Disability in the Hebrew Bible: Interpreting Mental and Physical Differences, Cambridge University Press, 2008.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Exegetical Essay - Exegetical Essay

Exegetical Essay 5000 Words

5000 100.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 21 Sep, 2021

Unit record last updated: 2021-09-21 11:10:27 +1000