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BIBS225 Special Topic: Approaches to Hermeneutics

An overview of the historical development of biblical hermeneutics, from early Christian and Jewish interpretation to contemporary critical approaches. This paper incorporates key hermeneutical approaches, concepts, issues, and terms.

This paper addresses the question of how the Bible is to be interpreted today, which is the area covered by hermeneutics.

Paper title Special Topic: Approaches to Hermeneutics
Paper code BIBS225
Subject Biblical Studies
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2023 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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36 100-level points
BIBX 225
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Theology
Any student can study Theology, whether they are of the Christian faith, another faith or of no religious faith at all. Theology is an examination of the scriptures, history, content and relevance of the Christian faith, but it presupposes or requires no Christian commitment from students. All it requires is an inquiring mind and an interest in those skills that can be gained through the study of any subject in the Humanities.
Teaching staff
Lecturer: Dr Don Moffat
Paper Structure
  1. What do we mean when we talk about "Biblical Hermeneutics"?
  2. An outline of the historical development of hermeneutics, from early Christian and Jewish interpretation to contemporary global questions
  3. Key approaches: historical, source/form/redaction, rhetorical, narrative, canonical, feminist, queer, liberation, post-colonial, ecological
  4. Key concepts and issues, including: genre, translation, canon, reception, sexuality, gender, power
  5. Key terms and ideas: exegesis, typology, allegory and the four "senses" of Scripture inspiration, deduction/induction/abduction, semiotic
  • Critical examination of a Biblical passage (1,200 words) 20%
  • Essay (2,500 words) 40%
  • Essay (2,500 words) 40%
Teaching Arrangements
Campus: There will be one 2-hour lecture each week.

Distance: In addition to the weekly videoconferenced lectures, there will be one teaching day and one 1-hour videoconference specifically for distance students.
Distance students are invited to join weekly videoconferences. However, recordings will be available on Blackboard for students who cannot attend live.

No textbook is required.

Course outline

View the course outline for BIBS 225

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Scholarship, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes
Learning Outcomes
On successfully completing this paper students will be able to:
  • Discuss critical issues associated with the historical development of biblical interpretation
  • Analyse, evaluate, compare and contrast views arising from the application of hermeneutical methods to contemporary and historical issues
  • Assess the implications of different hermeneutical debates for the 21st century
  • Demonstrate interpretive skills by the exegesis of selected biblical texts using a variety of critical approaches.

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Not offered in 2023

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system