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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.

    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. Students will learn how to read the Hebrew Scriptures in their ancient contexts, as well as how to read and interpret these texts in today’s world.

    About this paper

    Paper title Interpreting the Old Testament
    Subject Biblical Studies
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period(s) Semester 1 (Distance learning)
    Semester 1 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $981.75
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    BIBX 112
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music, Theology
    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.

    Rev Dr Katie Marcar

    Teaching staff

    Rev Dr Katie Marcar

    Paper Structure

    This paper is designed to give students a basic understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures. This paper has four forms of assessment:

    • Weekly Reading Responses (20%)

    • Exegesis: Part A (10%) and Part B (20%)

    • Final Exam (50%)

    Teaching Arrangements

    The Distance Learning offering of this paper is taught remotely.

    Campus: Three one-hour lectures per week
    Distance: Seven videoconferences on Zoom spaced throughout the semester



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

    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


      Semester 1

      Teaching method
      This paper is taught through Distance Learning
      Learning management system

      Semester 1

      Teaching method
      This paper is taught On Campus
      Learning management system


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