THL408 Introduction to Old Testament Studies (8)

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.


* Offering has a residential school. Please view following information for further details.

Session 1 (30)
On Campus
Canberra Campus
Port Macquarie Campus
United Theological College
Online *
Canberra Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: THL408. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Theology

Enrolment Restrictions

Not available to students who have completed THL105 Introduction to Old Testament Studies or THL103.

Subject Relationships

THL105 Paired Subject

Incompatible Subjects

THL103, THL105

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to demonstrate advanced knowledge of the contents of the Old Testament and of its social, cultural and historical background;
  • be able to demonstrate advanced familiarity with key historical, cultural, literary and theological issues pertaining to the study of the Old Testament;
  • be able to discuss critically a range of texts from the Pentateuch, Prophets, Writings and Apocrypha;
  • be able to demonstrate a critical understanding of interpretive issues concerning the relationship between the two Testaments of the Christian Bible;
  • be able to discuss critically the use of Old Testament texts in the life of the contemporary Church;
  • be able to engage in sound exegesis of Old Testament texts and to interact critically with primary biblical sources and secondary literature; and
  • be able to demonstrate self-guided learning, including advanced research, writing and communication skills.


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

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of THL408 in Session 1 2021. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Exegesis preparation
Exegesis bibliography
Exegesis paper
Critical review

Residential School

This subject contains a 2 day Optional Residential School.

The residential school for this subject provides an orientation to the subject matter, methodology, library resources, and research tools pertaining to the study of the Old Testament.

Activities include lectures, library orientation and group work.

Special Resources

Online students who choose to attend the optional residential school in Canberra will need to arrange and cover the costs of travel, accommodation and meals.

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: June 2022. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.