MA/PhD - Pentateuch


Fall 2019
Sat 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

This course leads students through a detailed reading of the first five books of the Bible with a view to its theological, historical, and literary interpretation and significance. In order to equip students for interpreting these foundational books we will take into account critical matters & methodologies, ancient Near Eastern parallels and the canonical context of the books as the first scriptures in the canon. Matters of authorship, origin, sources used in its compilation, unity and complexity, structure and themes will be discussed. We will also focus on several questions throughout our study: How does Genesis 1–11 function as an introduction to the Pentateuchal narratives? What is the significance of the roles of Abraham and Moses in salvation history? What does the Pentateuch teach us about God’s Covenant(s) with humans? How did biblical laws function for ancient Israelites? What is the value of Old Testament law for Christians today? What is the role of ritual for ancient Israel? What can we learn theologically from the ritual sacrifices in the Pentateuch? How does Deuteronomy function as the conclusion to the Pentateuch but the introduction to the historical books? These questions will be explored in an effort to underscore the continuing relevance of the Pentateuch for Christian theology.


  • To have a thorough knowledge of the contents and message of the Pentateuch
  • To have a thorough knowledge of modern critical scholarship on the Pentateuch
  • To have a thorough knowledge of the use of ritual studies in the study of the Pentateuch


  • To embrace the contemporary relevance of the Pentateuch for the Church today
  • To appreciate the Pentateuch as the origin story of the people of God and its relevance for Christian identity today
  • To grow closer to God through study of the Pentateuch


  • To be able to employ the best academic resources in the study of the Pentateuch
  • To be able to use ritual studies critically to study priestly texts of the Pentateuch
  • To be able to interpret the Pentateuch in its original context
  • To articulate the biblical theological message of the Pentateuch