Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

BIBS112 Interpreting the Old Testament

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a selection of on-campus papers will be made available via distance and online learning for eligible students.
Find out which papers are available and how to apply on our COVID-19 website

The interpretation of the Old Testament in its historical context, including an introduction to the overall biblical story, methods of interpreting the Pentateuch (Genesis-Deuteronomy) and the historical Books (Joshua-2 Kings), and an in-depth exegesis of selected texts.

An introduction to the books of the Old Testament against the background of history and cultures of the ancient Near East. We will focus in detail on some key texts from the books of Genesis to Kings, learning the major methods of biblical scholarship as well as gaining an overview of the biblical story as a whole. This paper offers an insight into the foundational texts of two major world religions (Judaism and Christianity) and Western culture in general, and encourages students to develop skills in close reading and critical thinking, skills that will serve them well not only in their university career, but in the rest of their lives.

Paper title Interpreting the Old Testament
Paper code BIBS112
Subject Biblical Studies
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points 18 points
Teaching period(s) First Semester, First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $904.05
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,954.75

^ Top of page

Restriction
BIBX 112
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Theology
Eligibility
All students are welcome to study the Bible regardless of whether they have a particular faith commitment or not. All that is required is an inquiring mind and an interest in acquiring the critical skills common to all subjects in the Humanities.
Contact
james.harding@otago.ac.nz
Teaching staff
Reverend Dr James Harding
Paper Structure
The paper is structured around the content of the biblical books from Genesis to Kings. We will work through the historical and cultural background of these books, their content and major themes, with reference to specific texts and to major issues in recent scholarship.

There are three forms of assessment:
  • Exegesis of one text from the Old Testament (20%)
  • Summaries of three readings (20%)
  • Three-hour final examination (open book) (60%)
Teaching Arrangements
On-campus students: 39 1-hour lectures and five 1-hour tutorials

Distance students: six 2-hour videoconferences
Textbooks
Required: Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler (eds.), The Jewish Study Bible (2d ed.; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).

A course book also exists for this course.
Course outline

View the on campus course outline for BIBS 112
View the distance course outline for BIBS 112

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

By the end of this paper, students will be able to:

  • use The Jewish Study Bible intelligently to understand the Hebrew Bible in its geographical, historical, and cultural contexts
  • be familiar with the most important primary sources for understanding the Hebrew Bible in its ancient cultural context
  • be able to assess the cogency of scholarly arguments about the interpretation of biblical texts
  • have written an exegesis of one biblical text and summaries of three essays or articles written by modern scholars

^ Top of page

Timetable

First Semester

Location
Dunedin
Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system
Blackboard

First Semester

Location
Dunedin
Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system
Blackboard

Lecture

Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend
A1 Monday 10:00-10:50 9-13, 19-22
Tuesday 10:00-10:50 9-12, 18-22
Thursday 10:00-10:50 9-12, 18-22

Tutorial

Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend
A2 Wednesday 15:00-15:50 10, 12, 19

The interpretation of the Old Testament in its historical context, including an introduction to the overall biblical story, methods of interpreting the Pentateuch (Genesis-Deuteronomy) and the historical Books (Joshua-2 Kings), and an in-depth exegesis of selected texts.

An introduction to the books of the Old Testament against the background of history and cultures of the ancient Near East. We will focus in detail on some key texts from the books of Genesis to Kings, learning the major methods of biblical scholarship as well as gaining an overview of the biblical story as a whole. This paper offers an insight into the foundational texts of two major world religions (Judaism and Christianity) and Western culture in general, and encourages students to develop skills in close reading and critical thinking, skills that will serve them well not only in their university career, but in the rest of their lives.

Paper title Interpreting the Old Testament
Paper code BIBS112
Subject Biblical Studies
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points 18 points
Teaching period(s) First Semester, First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for 2021 have not yet been set
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

^ Top of page

Restriction
BIBX 112
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Theology
Eligibility
All students are welcome to study the Bible regardless of whether they have a particular faith commitment or not. All that is required is an inquiring mind and an interest in acquiring the critical skills common to all subjects in the Humanities.
Contact

Reverend Dr James Harding: james.harding@otago.ac.nz

Teaching staff
Reverend Dr James Harding
Paper Structure

The paper is structured around the content of the biblical books from Genesis to Kings. We will work through the historical and cultural background of these books, their content and major themes, with reference to specific texts and to major issues in recent scholarship.

There are three forms of assessment:

  • Review essay (20%)
  • Exegesis of one text from the Old Testament (20%)
  • Three-hour final examination (60%)
Teaching Arrangements

On-campus students: 39 1-hour lectures and five 1-hour tutorials

Distance students: seven 2-hour videoconferences spaced throughout the semester

Textbooks

Required: Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler (eds.), The Jewish Study Bible (2d ed.; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).

Course outline

View the on campus course outline for BIBS 112
View the distance course outline for BIBS 112

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

By the end of this paper, students will:

  • have a good knowledge and understanding of the narrative of the Hebrew Bible, from the creation of the world (Genesis 1:1-2:3) to the Babylonian Exile (2 Kings 24:1-25:30)
  • be able to use The Jewish Study Bible intelligently to understand the Hebrew Bible in its geographical, historical, and cultural contexts
  • summarize scholarly arguments about the meaning of particular biblical texts, and to offer their own interpretation
  • write a brief exegesis of a biblical text, taking account of its literary genre, historical context, and meaning in the context of the Hebrew Bible as a whole, with reference to available scholarly resources
  • and will have shown the knowledge and understanding gained in this paper in a final three-hour written examination.

    ^ Top of page

    Timetable

    First Semester

    Location
    Dunedin
    Teaching method
    This paper is taught through Distance Learning
    Learning management system
    Blackboard

    First Semester

    Location
    Dunedin
    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system
    Blackboard

    Lecture

    Stream Days Times Weeks
    Attend
    A1 Monday 10:00-10:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22
    Tuesday 10:00-10:50 9-13, 15-22
    Thursday 10:00-10:50 9-13, 15-22

    Tutorial

    Stream Days Times Weeks
    Attend
    A1 Wednesday 15:00-15:50 10, 12, 15, 17, 19