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 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: BS9019P

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


Explain the significant approaches, hermeneutical principles, methods and practices of biblical interpretation


Analyse the assumptions of the many schools/approaches and perspectives of biblical method and criticism


Evaluate the contemporary claims for Biblical truth through the appropriate application of various approaches to interpretation.


Understand and appreciate the context of the text 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

Old Testament Foundational Unit


Lectures, guided reading and seminar discussion

Indicative Bibliography

  • Broyles, Craig C. (Ed). Interpreting the Old Testament: A Guide for Exegesis. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2001.
  • Brown, William P. A Handbook to Old Testament Exegesis. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox, 2017.
  • Davies, Eryl W. Biblical criticism: A Guide for the Perplexed. London: Bloomsbury, T & T Clark, 2013.
  • 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.
  • Gillingham, S. E. One Bible: Many Voices: Different Approaches to Biblical Studies London: SPCK, 1998.
  • 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. (Recommended for purchase)
  • Schüssler- Fiorenza, Elisabeth, (ed.). Searching the Scriptures: A Feminist Introduction, New York: Crossroad Publishing Company, 2000.
  • Soulen, Richard N and R. Kendall Soulen. Handbook of Biblical Criticism, Fourth Edition Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011.
  • Sugirtharajah, R. S. Voices from the Margin: Interpreting the Bible in the Third World. Revised and Expanded Third Edition, Maryknoll, New York: Orbis, 2006.
  • Tate, Randolph W. Handbook for Biblical Interpretation: An Essential Guide to Methods, Terms and Concepts. Second Edition. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2012.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Exegetical Essay

Exegetical Essay 3000 Words

3000 40.0

Essay 3000 words

3000 40.0

Short Essay on Reading Material 1000 words

1000 20.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 26 Sep, 2019

Unit record last updated: 2021-06-07 08:43:50 +1000