Sacrifice, praise and wisdom

Level 5 - DT2014-03

This module will enable students to build upon and develop an existing awareness and understanding of the field of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament scholarship.

This module will enable students to build upon and develop an existing awareness and understanding of the field of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament scholarship by means of a study of three core texts studied in English, namely:

  • The Book of Leviticus
  • The Psalms
  • The Wisdom Literature of Job, Ecclesiastes and Proverbs.

Topics covered

Main topics of the module include:

  • Method in biblical study

Leviticus

  • The shape of the book of Leviticus: a meaningful organisation?
  • The concept of ‘holiness’: Purity and Impurity in the book of Leviticus
  • Understanding Ritual in the book of Leviticus and contemporary issues 

Psalms

  • The poetry and shape of the canonical book of Psalms
  • Psalms in worship

Wisdom

  • Wisdom Literature in Israel and the Ancient Near East
  • Proverbs: linking creation and moral order
  • Job and the limits of theodicy
  • Ecclesiastes: A Crisis of Wisdom?

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, you will be expected to be able to: 

Knowledge and understanding 

  • Gain critical insight into significant historical, literary and theological issues evoked by a study of this material;
  • Recognise and engage with the variety of interpretations of the texts under scrutiny.       

Intellectual and cognitive skills 

  • Critically evaluate a number of approaches to the interpretation of the texts under consideration;
  • Undertake a critical exegesis of the set texts in English.

Practical and transferable skills  

  • Select and organize material from a range of primary and secondary sources; 
  • Show an ability to assimilate and evaluate competing arguments ;
  • Produce clear, well-structured written work; 
  • Manage their own learning, including taking part in discussion forums and working effectively to deadlines.

Assessment

A two thousand-word essay (40%) and a 1.5-hour unseen written examination (60%).

Tutor in Hebrew Bible

Susannah Rees Divinity tutor

Susannah Rees

Susannah Rees is currently working on her PhD at King’s College London. Her research focuses on the role that cosmetics play in the construction and performance of identity in ancient Israel. Susannah has an MPhil (specialising in Hebrew Bible) and a BA from the University of Oxford. She is also a Research Associate on the Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible Project for the volume on Psalms 101-150.