Back to list of units


Reading the Bible for transformation

Second or third level unit for undergraduates
Elective unit for postgraduates

Content: This unit will investigate the connection between Biblical interpretation and social transformation. Traditional historical critical, literary and contemporary ideological approaches to Scripture will be explored. The applicability of these approaches to contemporary contexts, with attention given to political, cultural and environmental spheres of life, will be considered.

Learning outcomes: Upon successful completion of this unit, it is expected that students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate competency in the use of relevant tools for biblical studies, such as commentaries, theological and bible dictionaries, lexicons, journals and digital resources, and primary sources.
2. Engage a variety of exegetical methods in the analysis of biblical texts.
3. Identify and describe historical, cultural, social, and literary contexts of biblical texts.
4. Explain how the relationship between texts and readers affects the interpretation and application of biblical texts.
5. (third level) Apply critical insights from the studied methods within a particular context.
(postgraduate) Demonstrate research skills and critical insight in engaging biblical texts for specific contemporary contexts.

Faculty: Angela Sawyer

Offered: Catalyst programme (WA & VIC) 2018

Pre-requisite: BA1/8011S Justice in the Old Testament or an equivalent foundational unit in Biblical Studies


Level 2
Online Quiz               10%
One Minor Essay (Thematic) – 1000 words                30%
One major essay (Exegetical) – 2000 words                40%
Forum Posts – 1000 words                                       20%

Level 3
Online Quiz               10%
One Minor Essay (Thematic) – 1500 words                30%
One major essay (Exegetical) – 2500 words                40%
Forum Posts – 1000 words                                       20%

Online Quiz               10%
One Minor Essay (Thematic) – 2000 words                30%
One major essay (Exegetical) – 3000 words                40%
Forum Posts – 1000 words                                       20%

Select Bibliography

Brett, Mark G. Decolonizing God: The Bible in the Tides of Empire. The Bible in the Modern World. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2008.
Brueggemann, Walter. Texts Under Negotiation: The Bible and Postmodern Imagination. SCM Press, 2012.
Coomber, Matthew J.M. (Ed). Bible and Justice: Ancient Texts, Modern Challenges. BibleWorld: New York: Routledge Publishing, 2011.
Dube, Musa W. Postcolonial feminist interpretation of the Bible. St Louis: Chalice Press, 2000.
Fee, Gordon D., and Douglas Stuart. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003.
Gottwald, Norman K (Ed). The Bible and Liberation: Political and Social Hermeneutics. New York: Orbis Books, 1983.
Klein, William W., Craig L. Blomberg, and Robert L. Hubbard Jr. Introduction to Biblical Interpretation. Nashville, TN: W. Publishing Group, 1993.
* McKenzie, Steven L. and Haynes, Stephen R. Eds. To Each Its Own Meaning: An Introduction to Biblical Criticisms and Their Application. Louisville, KY: Westminster, 1993.
Stuart, Douglas. Old Testament Exegesis: A handbook for students and pastors. Louisville: WJK, 2014.
Thistleton, Anthony. Hermeneutics: an Introduction. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2009.
Trible, Phyllis. Texts of Terror: Literary-Feminist Readings of Biblical Narratives. Overtures to Biblical Theology. Philadelphia: Fortress Pr, 1984.
West, Gerald O. The Academy of the Poor: Towards a Dialogical Reading of the Bible. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Pr, 1999.