Unit Weighting                       

9 cps

Type of Unit                




Academic Staff            

Dr Margaret Beirne, RSC, BA (UNE 1973) MA (Weston 1978) BD (MCD 1984), MEd (UNSW 1986) DTheol (MCD 2000), Senior Lecturer

Curriculum Objectives

This course unit aims to introduce students to the literary forms, historical and cultural contexts and theological themes of the Old Testament.  It seeks to provide a foundation for further biblical and theological study.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this unit students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate a general understanding of the overall structure and contents of the Old Testament
  2. identify the literary shape, themes, social and historical background of the individual books of the Old Testament
  3. employ critical methodologies in the interpretation of Old Testament texts.
  4. access secondary literature
  5. convey the relevance of the Old Testament to Christian life and the contemporary world


  1. Introduction to the Canon
  2. Introductory questions of each book of the Old Testament (authorship, date, historical, political and cultural contexts, etc.)
  3. Structure and outline of the major books of the Old Testament
  4. Literary genres of Old Testament literature
  5. Key theological themes of the Old Testament collection
  6. Critical approaches to Old Testament interpretation

Assessment Profile

  1. Book review (800 words). Value: 20%
  2. Exegetical exercise (1,500 words). Value: 40%
  3. Thematic essay (1,500 words). Value: 40%

Prescribed Text

Boadt, L. Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction (Second Revised Edition). Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2012.


3hr lecture per week on campus, or via distance education