Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Pentateuch and Historical Books

UM LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DEPARTMENT Sacred Scripture, Hebrew and Greek

DESCRIPTION Pre-requisite:
Foundations of Theology

The study-unit opens with the examination of the place of the Pentateuch and the Historical Books in the Jewish and Christian canons. After a brief presentation of the history of the study of the formation of the Pentateuch, we will study the main sections of the Pentateuch: the beginning time (Gen. 1-11), the story of the ancestors of Israel (Gen. 12-50), the exodus from Egypt and the wilderness wandering (Exodus-Leviticus-Numbers), the Sinai covenant and the Law (Exodus-Leviticus-Numbers), and the book of Deuteronomy. Then follows an introduction to the "Deuteronomic History" (Joshua - 2 Kings).

Study-Unit Aims:

The aims of the study-unit are to introduce the students to the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch, and the historical books, the so-called Deuteronomic History. The study-unit aims at teaching the students the difference in understanding of these books within the Jewish and the Christian traditions, particularly the Torah and the Pentateuch, and the Deuteronomic History and the Former Prophets.

The study-unit also aims at introducing the students to the complex history of the formation of the Bible, particularly by focusing on the long history of formation of the Pentateuch and the rest of the historical books.

This study-unit will also expose the students to the methods employed in analysing these texts making them aware of the historical connections between each book.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

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

- Explain the differences in the way Jews and Christians understand the first five books of the Bible;
- Explain the differences in the way Jews and Christians understand the collection of books extending from Joshua, Judges, 1&2 Samuel; 1&2 Kings;
- Describe the structure of the Pentateuch and its relation with the rest of the biblical books.

2. Skills:

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

- Critically evaluate the various theories surrounding the formation of the Pentateuch;
- Critically evaluate the so-called Deuteronomistic History and its relevance in Old Testament studies;
- Critically evaluate the main theological themes that emerge from the Pentateuch and the historical books within both Jewish and Christian Perspectives.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:

- Blenkinsopp J., The Pentateuch. An Introduction to the First Five Books of the Bible, London 1992.
- Whybray R. N., Introduction to the Pentateuch. Grand Rapids/MI 1995.

Supplementary Texts:

- Broadt L., Reading the Old Testament. An Introduction, Mahwah/NJ 1984.
- Jagersma H., A History of Israel to Bar Kochba, London1994).
- Levin, Christoph. The Old Testament: A Brief Introduction. Translated by Margaret Kohl. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005.
- Rofé, Alexander. Introduction to the Composition of the Pentateuch. Translated by Harvey N. Bock. Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999.
- Ska, Jean-Louis. Introduction to Reading the Pentateuch. Translated by Pascale Dominique. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2006.
- Baker, S, Kenneth Bergland, Felipe A Masotti, and A. Rahel Wells. Exploring the Composition of the Pentateuch. Penn State Press, 2020.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Sept. Asst Session Weighting
Examination (2 Hours) SEM1 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Joseph Ciappara


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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 2023/4. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.