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: BS9010P

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Biblical Studies

Proposing College: Pilgrim Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Demonstrate knowledge of the history of biblical interpretation


Critically engage with the approaches, hermeneutical principles, methods and practices of biblical interpretation


Analyze and determine the key assumptions of the many methods (schools, approaches, perspectives) of biblical criticism


Become aware that understanding these methods of investigation is essential for evaluating the claims made about Biblical truth


Appreciate and articulate the context of the 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 (24 points) in OT AND A foundational unit (24 points ) in NT


Lectures, guided reading and seminar discussion

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 (7000 Words)

7000 100.0

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

Unit record last updated: 2021-09-21 11:01:34 +1000