THL202 Old Testament History and Narrative (8)

This subject focuses on Old Testament narratives from Joshua to 2 Chronicles, which relate ancient Israel's story of origins from settlement in Canaan to the Babylonian exile in 587 BCE. It examines key figures and defining events, with due consideration given to extra-biblical sources and archaeological evidence. The subject investigates the functions of narrative in the writing and rewriting of Israelite history and also explores ethical issues arising from these narratives. Attention is given to the accounts of conquest and settlement, the centralisation of Israel under the monarchy, the division of the kingdom, exile to Babylon and historical interpretation in the work of the Chronicler and in later Jewish and Christian texts.


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

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: THL202. 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 THP403, Old Testament History and Narrative, as this is a paired subject and shares similar content.

Assumed Knowledge

Students are recommended to have prior knowledge equivalent to or studied THL105.

Subject Relationships

THP403 Paired Subject

Incompatible Subjects


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to discuss in a critical way issues relating to the interpretation of history and narrative in the Old Testament;
  • be able to identify major periods in Israel's history and their defining events, including distinctive characteristics of the Deuteronomistic account and main features of the Chronicler's interpretation of Israel's history;
  • be able to demonstrate an understanding of the role of archaeology, historiography and textual witness in reconstructing ancient Israelite history;
  • be able to demonstrate familiarity with aspects of the reception history of Old Testament narratives in later Jewish and Christian texts;
  • be able to discuss major theological and ethical themes in Israel's historical and narrative literature and assess their contemporary relevance;
  • be able to demonstrate developing competence in the exegesis and interpretation of biblical texts and critical engagement with primary biblical sources and secondary literature; and
  • be able to demonstrate self-guided learning, including sound research, writing and communication skills.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • The relation between biblical narrative and Israelite history
  • The significance of archaeology, historiography and textual witness in the study of Israelite history
  • Narratives of Israelite conquest (Joshua)
  • Israelite society before the rise of kings (Judges; Ruth)
  • Samuel, Saul, David and Solomon (1-2 Samuel; 1 Kings)
  • The rival kingdoms of Israel and Judah (1-2 Kings)
  • Exile and dispersion (2 Kings; Esther)
  • Attention to the reception history of Joshua to 2 Kings, including revision by the Chronicler and use in later Jewish and Christian texts
  • Exegesis and interpretation of biblical narratives
  • The role and functions of biblical narrative: historical, ideological and aesthetic
  • Theological and ethical issues arising from the study of biblical narratives

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of THL202 in Session 2 2019. 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 %
Major essay
Exegetical paper
Minor essay

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.