Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Readings in Hebrew: Biblical Literature

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Oriental Studies

DESCRIPTION This study-unit offers an introduction to biblical literature through the reading of select passages from one or more biblical books in Hebrew. Lectures will explore both the art of biblical literature and the historical-cultural context of specific texts. In addition to introducing students to some of the most important works of literature, this study-unit trains students in the grammar of Classical Hebrew as well as methods of reading and interpretation.

Study-unit Aims:

The aims of this study-unit are:
1. to offer an introduction to biblical literature;
2. to train students to read and translate biblical texts written in Hebrew;
3. to expose students to the grammar and artistry of biblical literature;
4. to train students to read and interpret biblical literature using a wide range of reading and interpretative strategies, such as literary, philological, and historical-critical approaches.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. relate salient details regarding specific biblical texts and their literary characteristics;
2. read, translate, and analyze different genres of biblical literature written in Hebrew;
3. appraise biblical texts as literature while also assessing their significance for historical purposes and the understanding of ancient Hebrew/Jewish thought and beliefs;
4. distinguish and describe the grammar and syntax of different biblical works.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. read and translate texts written in Classical Hebrew;
2. apply literary, philological, and historical-critical methods to the reading of texts;
3. use literature to reconstruct the socio-cultural, historical, and ideological contexts in which it was produced and read.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Select Introductions on the Hebrew Bible, Biblical Literature, and Biblical Criticism:

- Barton, John. Reading the Old Testament: Methods in Biblical Study. Rev. edn. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1997.
- Barton, John. The Nature of Biblical Criticism. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 2007.
- Carr, David M. An Introduction to the Old Testament: Sacred Texts and Imperial Contexts of the Hebrew Bible. Chicester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.
- Chapman, Stephen B. and Sweeney, Marvin A., eds. The Cambridge Companion to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016.
- Collins, John J. The Bible after Babel: Historical Criticism in a Postmodern Age. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 2006.
- Collins, John J. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. 3rd edn. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2018.
- Gabel, John B. et al. The Bible as Literature: An Introduction. 5th edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
- Linafelt, Tod. The Hebrew Bible as Literature: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.
- Porter, Stanley E., ed. Dictionary of Biblical Criticism and Interpretation. London: Routledge, 2009.
- Rogerson, J. W. and Lieu, Judith M., eds. The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Reference Grammars:

- Joüon, Paul and Muraoka, T. A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew. Revised English edition. Rome: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico, 2006.
- Merwe, Christo H. J. van der and Naude, Jacobus. A Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar. 2nd edn. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2017.
- Waltke, Bruce K. and O'Connor, Murphy. An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax. Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 1990.
- Wilhelm, Gesenius. Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar. Edited and enlarged by E. Kautzch. Translated by A. E. Cowley. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, 2006.


- Brown, F., Driver, S. R., and Briggs, C. A. The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1906.
- Koehler, Ludwig and Baumgartner, Walter. The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament. 2 vols. Translated and edited under the supervision of M. E. J. Richardson. Leiden: Brill, 2001.

An extensive bibliography pertinent to the biblical texts to be read will be provided by the lecturer in class.

ADDITIONAL NOTES Pre-Requisite Study-units: NES1003, NES1002


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment 50%
Examination (2 Hours) 50%


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.