Introduction to the Bible
Available in 2012
|Callaghan Campus||Semester 1|
|UoN Broken Bay Instit - Online||Semester 1, Summer|
Previously offered in 2013, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008
This course introduces students to the Old (OT) and New Testaments (NT), their development and their contexts. Introductions are given to the literary types of the Bible, the specific issues raised by the treatment of the OT and NT as distinct bodies of writings, and the contexts (Judaic, Graeco-Roman and Early Christian) which provided the crucible for their formation.
Further attention is directed towards the ways in which the Bible has been read and interpreted particularly in the modern Higher Criticism. The course provides an introduction to the movements within Higher Criticism and encourages students to develop a critical appreciation of each. Particular attention is given to examining cultural factors in the interpretation of these texts. The presuppositions and prejudices underlying particular critical approaches are examined. Contemporary literary theory and hermeneutics are used to inform the question of where the meaning of the Bible can be located, and to make students aware of the difficulties in claiming objective readings of texts. Students will also examine how literary theory influences contemporary biblical scholarship as well as more recent approaches such as narrative theology and social-scientific criticism.
Students will deal with questions relating to the historical background of individual texts as part of a wider study of the environment of the Bible. They will also examine difficulties relating to the formation of the biblical texts as currently constituted and the formation of the OT and NT canons in all their diversity: it will include examination of the Apocrypha and the Septuagint. Students will note how the formation of various canons also has an impact on their interpretation. This will lead, ultimately, to consideration of the historical and theological issues relating to biblical studies.
Practical skills are a strong component of the course. Students will be taught how to transliterate and verbalise Biblical Hebrew and Koine Greek to assist their reading of secondary literature. Introductions are given to different textual, linguistic, lexical and interpretative resources available as well as the particular jargon and shadings of argument used in biblical scholarship. Thus a critical approach to reading even classic interpretations should be fostered. These skills are practiced in lecture and colloquy by attending to selected texts which raise specific exegetical questions; these examples illustrate the methods being described.
The course assumes no prior knowledge of the Bible or of the environments which formed it.
The New Revised Standard Version will be the basic text reference for this course: students are recommended to own a copy which includes the Apocrypha.
The aim of the course is to enable students to:
- select and employ appropriate tools used for critical study of the Bible and to interpret and analyse particular texts (eg. specific books of the Bible);
- articulate the shaping influences, both historically and in contemporary settings, of context upon theological issues and key texts of the Bible;
- identify or allow a reading of biblical texts to interpret issues relating to the public arena or world events;
- communicate effectively with colleagues from other disciplines including sociology, psychology and health sciences.
- use suitable tools for ethnic and generational cross cultural understanding which is required in dealing with biblical material
- exegete and interpret key texts of the Bible, using appropriate contextual and hermeneutic tools;
- use a range of relevant methods to read, analyse and interpret key biblical texts and make use of scholarly and popular literature in so doing.
- develop and meet professional standards and requirements for the handling of biblical material.
Students will be required to attend two one hour lectures each week. Themes for the lectures will include: an overview and rationale of the Old and New Testaments; relevant history and culture of the times; transliteration, linguistic conventions and academic nuances in studying biblical literature; and strategies for exegesis.
Students will be required to attend and contribute to, or lead discussion in a one hour seminar each week. Its topic will be based on the lecture theme(s) and assigned reading will be identified or provided at the start of the course. Written summaries or reflections based on discussions will be part of the assessment regime of the course.
Students who have previously undertaken RELI1030 can not enrol in this course
No assumed knowledge. This is an introductory level course.
Modes of Delivery
Seminar: for 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Lecture: for 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term