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BIBS112 Interpreting the Old Testament

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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
Teaching period(s) Semester 1 (Distance learning)
Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $913.95
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,073.40

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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%)
  • Essay (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

    Semester 1

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

    Semester 1

    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 Monday 14:00-14:50 13, 16, 18, 21

    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
    Teaching period(s) Semester 2 (Distance learning)
    Semester 2 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for 2022 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

    Dr Jonathan Robinson - email jonathan.robinson@otago.ac.nz

    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%)
    • Essay (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

      Semester 2

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

      Semester 2

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

      Lecture

      Stream Days Times Weeks
      Attend one stream from
      A1 Monday 10:00-10:50 28-34, 36-41
      Tuesday 10:00-10:50 28-34, 36-41
      Wednesday 14:00-14:50 29, 31, 33, 36, 38
      Thursday 10:00-10:50 28-34, 36-41
      A2 Wednesday 15:00-15:50 29, 31, 33, 36, 38