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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : Divinity

Undergraduate Course: Old Testament Texts (DIVI10064)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Divinity CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryDetailed study of selected passages from the Old Testament in English translation. This year, the course is focussing on the books of 1 and 2 Samuel, which depict the political turmoil as ancient Israel implemented a monarchy for the first time. Complex individual characters are set against a background of royal power, competing ideologies, and an ambiguous deity.
Course description Academic Description:
This course deepens students' understanding of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament (HB/OT) through the close study of a selected text in translation. The text chosen for study changes from year to year; examples of past studies include the book of Job, with its profound probing of the issues surrounding unmerited suffering, and the book of Joshua, a central text for understanding the political theology of the HB/OT as well as providing focal point for discussions of theological violence. The historical, literary, theological, and ethical aspects of the text are open to investigation, extending also to relevant cognate literature and the history of interpretation. This year, the course is focussing on the books of 1 and 2 Samuel, which depict the political turmoil as ancient Israel implemented a monarchy for the first time. Complex individual characters are set against a background of royal power, competing ideologies, and an ambiguous deity.

Syllabus/Outline Content:
The course sets the chosen text in its religious and literary context. Key passages are identified for close scrutiny, and the course progresses through these in order to trace the development of thought through the text. Related themes are studied in tandem with the texts to gain a sense of the contribution the texts make to wider discussions, and vice versa. Sessions are devoted to structured exploration of the history of interpretation, typically towards the end of the course when students have gained familiarity with the text and its interpretative challenges for themselves. Key issues will include: the uncontrollable deity of the 'ark narrative'; Samuel's warnings against corrupt monarchic power; the tragic demise of king Saul; the security of God's covenantal promises; political propaganda and royal intrigue in David's court; the archaeological evidence for the kingdom; the text's (mis?)treatment of women and minorities.

Student Learning Experience Information:
The course has weekly meetings with sessions in two-hour blocks. All sessions are seminar based and active participation is expected. The seminars may include, for example, lecture-style sections, textual analysis, thematic discussion, debate, and examination of visual artefacts. Students will demonstrate their achievement of the intended learning outcomes through participation in discussion, a substantial interpretative essay investigating a particular passage or problem from the set text, and the final examination.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Old Testament Texts (BIST10036)
Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesPermission of the Course Manager.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  12
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 11, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 11, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 171 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 60 %, Coursework 40 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 40% - Essay (2000 words)

60% - Final Exam (in person exam)
Feedback Not entered
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Analyse in depth passages from the Hebrew Bible (in English translation)
  2. Use a range of different interpretive methods for understanding biblical texts
  3. Demonstrate understanding of the historical, literary, and theological contexts of biblical texts
  4. Adjudicate between different scholars views on disputed matters
  5. Articulate a coherent interpretation of biblical texts in written and oral formats
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Independence of mind and initiative
- Ability to attend to others and respect others' views
- Ability to gather, evaluate and synthesise different types of information
- Analytical ability and the capacity to formulate questions and solve problems
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Suzanna Millar
Tel: (0131 6)50 8904
Course secretaryMiss Rachel Dutton
Tel: (0131 6)50 7227
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