Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2008-2009 (archived)


Department: Theology and Religion


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2008/09 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To explore critically themes of major Early Jewish literature within their theological and historical contexts, and to assess the significance of these writings for early Christian thought and as interpretation of the Old Testament.
  • To equip students with skills and knowledge for study of related areas at level 3.
  • To equip students with skills and knowledge ancilliary to other modules which they are taking at level 2.


  • This module provides a critical exploration of Jewish religious thought in the time of Jesus.
  • It will focus on Ben Sirah, Wisdom of Solomon, Psalms of Solomon, 1 Enoch, Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, 4 Esdras, 2 Baruch, Jubilees and Tobit. Each of these documents, except for 4 Esd. and 2 Bar., which are treated together, will be explored in two lectures and one seminar.
  • The students will study wisdom literature, apocalyptic literature, testamental literature, and the rewriting of scriptural tradition.
  • The module will stress that although one can speak of different forms of expression, ideas expressed within the literature show that stereotypical caricatures of Early Judaism often break down when subjected to scrutiny.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • A knowledge of the individual documents surveyed on the course.
  • A knowledge of the underlying concepts and principles associated with the study of early Jewish literature, and an ability to evaluate and interpret these within the context of that area of study.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Skills in the comparative analysis of ancient texts and the application of traditional and contemporary methods of study.
Key Skills:
  • Skills in the acquisition of information through reading and research, and in the structured presentation of information in written form.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures convey information and exemplify an approach to the subject-matter, enabling students to develop a clear understanding of the subject and to improve their skills in listening and in evaluating information.
  • Seminars enhance subject-specific knowledge and understanding both through preparation and through interaction with students and staff, promoting awareness of different viewpoints and approaches.
  • Through small-group discussion, tutorials provide feedback on student work and the opportunity to discuss specific issues in detail, enhancing student knowledge and writing skills.
  • Examinations assess subject-specific knowledge and understanding, along with student skills in the structured presentation of information in written form under time constraints.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 19 Term 1: 1 lecture per week wks 1-2, 4-5, 7-8, Term 2: 2 lectures per week wks 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 1 hour 19
Tutorials 1 Term 3: 1 revision tutorial wk 1 1 hour 1
Seminars 8 Term 1: 1 seminar per week wks 3, 6, 9, Term 2: 1 seminar per week wks 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 1 hour 8
Preparation and Reading 172
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Summative Essay Component Weighting: 25%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Summative Essay 3,000 words 100%
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 75%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Unseen Written Examination 3 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

Student presentations in the seminars. These will be based on passages from the set texts, which the students will be expected to analyse in written and oral presentations.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University