Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)

Module THMN44830: Advanced Old Testament Studies

Department: Theology, Ministry and Mission

THMN44830: Advanced Old Testament Studies

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Not available in 2020/21


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To enable students to explore in depth - and with some independence - selected Old Testament text(s) and/or theme(s) within the context of contemporary biblical and theological scholarship and the Old Testament as a whole.
  • To enable students to analyse critically the ways in which Old Testament text(s) and/or theme(s) can be used to address contemporary situations.
  • To illustrate ways in which Old Testament text(s) and/or theme(s) can be communicated


  • This module will involve
  • Exploration of text(s) and/or theme(s) from the Old Testament, including within the context of the Old Testament and Christian Scripture as a whole.
  • Examination of selected text(s) and/or theme(s) (they may vary from year to year) in greater detail, and how they can be used to address contemporary situations.
  • Study of the critical, hermeneutical and theological processes by which we reflect on these text(s) and/or theme(s) in contemporary contexts.
  • It is intended that the module will focus on the books of either Daniel or Exodus (and associated theological themes) in the initial years of running; with the focal text for a specific year advertised to students at the point of signing up for the module.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Demonstrate in depth knowledge of specific themes and/or texts within the Old Testament and interpret them within their context with reference to the methodologies and findings of current scholarship.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Interpret Old Testament themes and/or texts through the employment of exegetical processes that draw upon historical, theological, and other contemporary modes of inquiry.
  • Demonstrate the capacity to exercise independence in analysing and engaging critically with Old Testament texts in relation to contemporary issues for contemporary audiences.
Key Skills:
  • Carry out systematic and creative research into complex issues and communicate their findings with clarity, sensitivity, fairness and imagination to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • Demonstrate initiative, self-direction and independence in tackling and solving problems, and in planning and implementing tasks.
  • Exercise their independent learning skills to pursue further professional development or academic study

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

  • Lectures provide content, a conceptual framework and a survey of approaches within Old Testament studies and hermeneutics that enable students to locate their learning in a wider context, to make connections with other disciplines, and to evaluate and apply their learning to different contexts.
  • Seminars offer students an opportunity to present, evaluate and apply their knowledge to specific reading contexts, and to engage with teaching staff and peers in debate and reflection.
  • Guided reading in conjunction with lectures and seminars encourages independent learning and underpins the knowledge and understanding gained in lectures and seminars.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 7 weekly 2 hours 14
Seminars 8 weekly 2 hours 16
Preparation & Reading 270
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 75%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 4000 words 100%
Component: Book critique Component Weighting: 25%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Book critique - of a critical monograph exploring a specific aspect of the focal text or theme 1500 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

A 2,500 word written commentary (exegetical essay) on a selected passage in the focal Old Testament text. It is compulsory to pass the formative before being admitted to the summative assessment. Students may also contribute to the leading of a section of a seminar in preparation for their summative essay (component 1).

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