The unit will examine a broad range of approaches to the use of the Bible in ethics. A number of case studies will illustrate the diversity of biblical material as it relates to particular ethical topics (such as war, reconciliation, human rights, wealth and poverty, abortion, ecology, and sexuality). In exploring hermeneutical analogies, consideration will be given to the similarities and differences between biblical cultures and our own multicultural contexts. Attention will also be paid to the ways in which Biblical models and interpretation may play a role in public life.

Unit code: BS3020W

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: Biblical Studies

Proposing College: Whitley College

Show when this unit is running

Learning outcomes


Articulate the differences between a range of hermeneutical approaches


Demonstrate an understandig of the diversity of biblical ethics


Reflect critically on the cultural dimensions of hermeneutics


Analyze the key issues at stake in a particular ethical case study


Assess approaches to ethical questions for the local church and other ministry contexts

Unit sequence

36 points in Field B; 18 points in Systematic Theology


12 weekly sessions, requiring online participation. Each session consists of lecturer’s input, guided reading, additional suggested resources, and tutorial tasks requiring critical reflection and peer interaction.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Barton, J. Ethics and the Old Testament. London: SCM, 2nd edn 2010.
  • Barton, S.C. Life Together: Family, Sexuality and Community in the New Testament and Today. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 2001.
  • Burridge, R. Imitating Jesus: An Inclusive Approach to New Testament Ethics Today Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007.
  • Carroll, M.D. and J.E. Lapsley (eds), Character Ethics and the Old Testament. Louisville: WJKP, 2007.
  • Coomber, Matthew, Re-Reading the Prophets through Corporate Globalization: A Cultural-Evolutionary Approach to Understanding Economic Injustice in the Hebrew Bible. Biblical Intersections 4: Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2010.
  • Cosgrove, C.H. Appealing to Scripture in Moral Debate: Five Hermeneutical Rules. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.
  • Hays, R. The Moral Vision of the New Testament. San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1996.
  • Horrell, D. Solidarity and Difference: A Contemporary Reading of Paul’s Ethics. London: T & T Clark, 2005.
  • Horrell, D. et al. (eds), Ecological Hermeneutics: Biblical, Historical and Theological Perspectives. London: T & T Clark, 2010.
  • Janzen, W. Old Testament Ethics: A Paradigmatic Approach. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1994.
  • Wolterstorff, N. Justice: Rights and Wrongs. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008.
  • Wright, C.J.H. Old Testament Ethics for the People of God. Leicester: IVP, edn 2013.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Essay 2000 words

2000 40.0
Exegetical Essay

Exegetical essay 2000 words

2000 40.0
Critical Review

Critical reviews (x5)

1000 20.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 30 Sep, 2019

Unit record last updated: 2020-11-05 10:46:08 +1100