In this unit, students will engage in an in-depth study of broad and interrelated themes of the Old and New Testaments, including: our relational God, our suffering God and human suffering, our troubling God, our God of hope, our God and human sexuality. Students will be challenged to listen to the biblical text in fresh ways—not just in its harmonies, but also its creative dissonances. This will raise and encourage evaluation of appropriate theological and pastoral responses to critical questions arising from their contemporary context in relation to these themes.

Unit code: BS9021L

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Biblical Studies

Proposing College: Australian Lutheran College

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Learning outcomes


Examine the unity-in-diversity of significant theological themes discerned in the biblical text of both testaments and in Christian tradition


Apply a range of hermeneutical approaches to identifying and interpreting the interplay of variations, harmonies and dissonances in biblical themes


Critically analyse a selected biblical theme


Evaluate contemporary scholarship on significant biblical themes


Reflect critically and apply insights from biblical theology to contemporary issues in a pastoral manner

Unit sequence

Course relationship: A level 9 unit in postgraduate theology, ministry and education courses

Prerequisites: 24 points in Field B—Biblical Studies

Prohibited combinations: BS9020L Biblical Theology for Educators, BS8040L Big Questions: Human Sexuality and BS8041L Big Questions: God for People Who Wonder


This unit uses teaching strategies which encourage student engagement and participation in a variety of learning tasks and opportunities which foster deep learning.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Burrell, David B. 2008. Deconstructing theodicy: why Job has nothing to say to the puzzled [i.e. puzzle of] suffering. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press.
  • Childs, Brevard. 1992. Biblical theology of the Old and New Testaments: theological reflection on the Christian Bible. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.
  • Copan, Paul. Is God a moral monster? Making sense of the Old Testament God. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2011.
  • Cornwall, Susannah. Intersex, theology, and the Bible: troubling bodies in church, text, and society. New York: Palgrave, Macmillan, 2015.
  • De Villiers, Pieter, and Jan Willem van Henten. Coping with violence in the New Testament. Studies in Theology and Religion 16. Leiden: Brill, 2012.
  • Fretheim, Terence E. 2010. Creation untamed: the Bible, God, and natural disasters. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
  • Kirby, Michael D., ed. Five uneasy pieces: essays on scripture and sexuality. Adelaide, SA: ATF Press, 2011.
  • Neville, David J. A peaceable hope: contesting violent eschatology in New Testament narratives. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013.
  • Peters, Ted. God—the world’s future: systematic theology for a new era. 3rd ed. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2015.
  • Römer, Thomas. 2013. Dark God: cruelty, sex, and violence in the Old Testament. New York, NY: Paulist Press.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Annotated Bibliography

Annotated record of academic reading

2400 30.0

Critical evaluation of divergent approaches to the topic ‘Our Relational God’

2400 30.0

Critical integration of insights from biblical theology to contemporary issues

3200 40.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 9 Oct, 2020

Unit record last updated: 2020-10-09 11:24:25 +1100