Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Reading the Bible

LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Oriental Studies

DESCRIPTION This study-unit offers an introduction to the Hebrew Bible, with a focus on reading and interpretative methodologies. Lectures will explore the biblical books from different perspectives, with a view to training students to read critically the various biblical texts and unpack their historical, literary, cultural, and theological significance.

Study-unit Aims:

- To introduce students to the Hebrew Bible;
- To discuss methodologies that are implemented in academic readings and interpretations of biblical texts;
- To highlight the historical, literary, cultural, and theological significance of the Hebrew Bible;
- To train students to become critical readers and interpreters of ancient texts.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- recall basic knowledge and information about the various biblical texts;
- evaluate and assess the significance and shortcomings of a wide range of reading methodologies that are typically applied in the academic study of the Hebrew Bible;
- apply, within limits, these methodologies in their own reading of biblical texts;
- read critically the Hebrew Bible, with a view to appraise and analyze its historical, literary, cultural, and theological significance.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- employ various interpretative approaches to the reading of ancient and modern texts;
- demonstrate evidence of creative and critical thinking.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Core Textbooks:

Collins, John J. 2014 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. 2nd edn. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

Coogan, Michael D. 2014 The Old Testament: A Historical and Literary Introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures. 3rd edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Stanley, Christopher D. 2010 The Hebrew Bible: A Comparative Approach. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

Selected Works on Biblical Criticism:

Barton, John. 1996 Reading the Old Testament: Method in Biblical Study. 2nd edn. London: Darton, Longman, & Todd.

Barton, John. 2007 The Nature of Biblical Criticism. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press.

Collins, John J. 2006 The Bible after Babel: Historical Criticism in a Postmodern Age. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Harrington, Daniel. 1991 Interpreting the Old Testament. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press.

Porter, Stanley E. 2009 Dictionary of Biblical Criticism and Interpretation. London: Routledge.

Companions/Handbooks on the Hebrew Bible and Biblical Studies:

Chapman, Stephen B. and Sweeney, Marvin A., eds. 2016 The Cambridge Companion to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rogerson, J. W. and Lieu, Judith M., eds. 2008 The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

A detailed bibliography will be given in class.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM2 Yes 50%
Assignment SEM2 Yes 50%


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It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2019/0, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.