THP409 The Pentateuch (8)

This subject is a detailed investigation of the five books of the Pentateuch (Torah: Genesis to Deuteronomy). It examines the history of and contemporary perspectives on the Pentateuch along two main lines: detailed exploration of various Pentateuchal texts and the study of critical developments in Pentateuchal scholarship. Exegetical and interpretive competence is further developed and refined through the critical review and creative application of historical, socio-cultural, literary and ideological methods of analysis to a range of texts in the Pentateuch.


Session 1 (30)
On Campus
Canberra Campus
United Theological College
Session 2 (60)
On Campus
Canberra Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: THP409. 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

This subject is not available to students who have completed subject THL304 The Penteteuch as this is a paired subject and shares similar content.

Assumed Knowledge

Students are recommended to have prior knowledge equivalent to or studied THL408 and THP403.

Subject Relationships

THL304 Paired Subject

Incompatible Subjects


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • to be able to discuss in a critically informed way issues relating to the interpretation of the Pentateuch;
  • to be able to articulate and explain differing theories of structure and composition of the Pentateuch;
  • to be able to engage in critical discussion of scholarly methods of Pentateuchal analysis such as source, form, redaction, narrative criticism, and including an advanced understanding of the relationship of oral and written sources;
  • to be able to demonstrate an advanced understanding of the historical, socio-cultural and religious contexts of the sources making up the books of the Pentateuch;
  • to be able to analyse critically the theological and ethical themes arising from the Pentateuchal traditions and evidence sophisticated discernment of their contemporary relevance;
  • to be able to demonstrate advanced competence in exegesis and interpretation of biblical texts through critical engagement with primary biblical sources and secondary literature; and
  • to be able to demonstrate self-guided learning, including advanced research skills, sophisticated writing and well-developed communication skills.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Compositional and rhetorical features of each book in the Pentateuch
  • Key developments in the history of Pentateuchal scholarship
  • Scholarly debate regarding oral and written sources of the Pentateuch
  • Distinctive theological perspectives within the Pentateuch
  • Law codes and their functions in Israelite narratives
  • Archaeology and historiography in the study of the Pentateuch
  • Covenantal membership, identity and ethnicity
  • Symbol, metaphor and meaning in the Pentateuch
  • The relationship between the Pentateuch and other parts of the Old Testament
  • Recent interpretive approaches in relation to the Pentateuch
  • Exegesis and interpretation of Pentateuchal texts
  • The relationship between the trauma of exile and the traditions of the Pentateuch
  • The use of Pentateuchal traditions in Jewish and Muslim practice

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.