Reading and understanding biblical texts is a foundational skill for all theology students, and this unit introduces key skills required for reading the Bible in its historical, social, cultural, religious, and literary contexts. An overview of biblical narratives will be presented, with attention to current theories concerning how and when these narratives were recorded and collated into the Christian scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Through this focus, students will learn to identify different voices and perspectives in biblical writing. This unit will introduce students to the historical and literary criticism of biblical texts, as well as the significance of the contexts from which they read the Bible today.

Unit code: BS8001Z

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Foundational

Unit discipline: Biblical Studies

Proposing College: St Francis College

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Learning outcomes


Develop foundational knowledge and understanding of the arc of biblical history and the socio-historical contexts in which texts were written and collated.


Demonstrate an emerging ability to recognise and analyse literary forms from biblical texts, including narrative, legal, prophetic, poetry, gospel, epistle, and apocalyptic.


Demonstrate foundational skills in historical and literary criticism.


Demonstrate the ability to apply skills in analysis and synthesis to developing a foundational exegetical essay.

Unit sequence

This unit is a prerequisite for 9000-level units in Biblical Studies.


This unit will incorporate a flipped learning approach prior to on-campus workshops that will combine direct instruction and collaborative learning approaches.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Collins, John J. A Short Introduction to the Hebrew Bible: And Deutero-Canonical Books. 3rd ed. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2018. [ISBN 9781506445991]

  • Powell, Mark A. Introducing the New Testament: A Historical, Literary, and Theological Survey. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2018.

  • Kugler, Robert A. and Patrick J. Hartin. An Introduction to the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2009.

  • Gorman, Michael J. Elements of Biblical Exegesis: A Basic Guide for Students and Ministers. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2020.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Multiple Choice Quizzes or Tests - Quizzes

Short online quizzes on the background readings for each week.

500 20.0

Background paper on when, where, why, how, by whom, and for what audience a biblical text was written.

1500 25.0
Oral Presentation - Presentation

Oral presentation (7-10 minutes) that analyses one passage of biblical narrative using narrative criticism.

2000 25.0
Exegetical Essay - Exegesis

An exegetical essay on one of a choice of selected passages.

2000 30.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Prof Albert Haddad on 18 Nov, 2022

Unit record last updated: 2022-11-18 10:37:14 +1100