Introduction to Old Testament Studies

THL105 / THL408

This subject is a foundational introduction to the contents of the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) and to basic scholarly tools and critical methods used in Old Testament studies. It surveys the formation of the Old Testament, both as a whole and as comprising collections of books, while focusing on selected texts from the Torah (Pentateuch), Prophets, Writings and Apocrypha. It pays particular attention to issues of oral and textual transmission, historical and geographical context, religion and culture, genre and canon, exegesis, interpretation and diverse theological perspectives.


One Semester


Semester 1 every year

Subject Points



Delivery Mode

On site at St Francis College Milton; or Externally – log in to listen and participate or view the lecture via video later.



Boadt, L., (2012), Reading the Old Testament: an introduction; Revised and updated by Clifford, R. & Harrington, D. Second Edition. ISBN 9780809147809

The year of publication and ISBN given corresponds to the copy placed in Closed Reserve at the Roscoe Library; there may be other valid ISBNs that differ because of a different publisher or format. Please contact your lecturer or the Roscoe Library staff to confirm text before purchasing. If purchasing, we recommend that you use

Prescribed Texts

Exegesis Preparation 20%

Exegesis Paper 50%

Tutorial Paper - Critical Review of Readings 30%



This subject will cover the following topics:

  • The contents of Old Testament books

  • Scholarly methods of Old Testament studies

  • The historical, cultural and geographical contexts of the Old Testament

  • The diverse literary genres within the Old Testament, including Hebrew narrative, poetry and rhetoric

  • Exegesis and interpretation of texts from the Pentateuch, Prophets, Writings and Apocrypha

  • Old Testament theology and theological issues in the Old Testament

  • Ethical issues arising from the study of the Old Testament

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:

  • be able to demonstrate a working knowledge of the contents of the Old Testament and of its social, cultural and historical background;

  • be able to demonstrate familiarity with key historical, cultural, literary and theological issues pertaining to the study of the Old Testament;

  • be able to discuss in a way that shows developing critical awareness a range of texts from the Pentateuch, Prophets, Writings and Apocrypha;

  • be able to demonstrate an understanding of interpretive issues concerning the relationship between the two Testaments in the Christian Bible;

  • be able to discuss the use of Old Testament texts in the life of the contemporary Church;

  • be able to engage in basic exegesis of Old Testament texts and to interact with primary biblical sources and secondary literature; and

  • be able to demonstrate self-guided learning, including basic research, writing and communication skills.