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BIBS112 Interpreting the Old Testament

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.

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) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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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 (15%)
  • Book Review (15%)
  • Exegesis (30%)
  • Final Exam (40%)

Teaching Arrangements

The Distance Learning offering of this paper is taught remotely.

Campus: Three one-hour lectures per week
Distance: Seven 2-hour 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.

R. W. L. Moberly (2013). Old Testament Theology: Reading the Hebrew Bible as Christian Scripture. Grand Rapids: Baker.

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.

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    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 9-14, 16-22
    Tuesday 10:00-10:50 9-14, 16, 18-22
    Thursday 10:00-10:50 9-14, 16-22