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Fall 2011




OT501: Pentateuch. P. Scalise.


DESCRIPTION: This course will be concerned with the text of the Pentateuch and its interpretation. It will provide an introduction to (1) the content, structure, and literary forms of these five books, (2) their major theological themes, (3) cultural, geographical, and historical matters which aid understanding, and (4) tools and methods of interpretation.


COURSE OBJECTIVES/LEARNING OUTCOMES: Students successfully completing the course will have demonstrated that they: (1) have a knowledge and understanding of the Pentateuch (2) are able to interpret the Bible using a range of appropriate interpretive approaches, including ones that reflect the diversity of contexts from which the text can be read; (3) have reflected on the nature of the Bible as both human word and holy Scripture; (4) have articulated some reflection on the significance of the Pentateuch for their discipleship and ministry.


RELEVANCE FOR MINISTRY: The five books of the Pentateuch are foundational for the story of God's redemption of humanity told in the rest of Scripture.

COURSE FORMAT: The class will meet Mondays, September 26 – November 14, November 28 and December 5, 2011. NO CLASS on Monday, November 21.



  • Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy in the NRSV, CEB or the TNIV.
  • Alexander, T. Desmond. From Paradise to the Promised Land: An Introduction to the Pentateuch. or 2nd edition, Baker Books, 2002. ISBN: 9780801025976 $29.99. (You may also use the first edition, Pater Noster Press, 1995. Out of print, but check the used book market.)
  • Childs, Brevard S. The Book of Exodus: a Critical, Theological Commentary. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2004. 9780664229689. $50. (Earlier editions of this book are also OK. Check the used book market.)
  • Dalley, Stephanie. Myths from Mesopotamia. Rev. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. ISBN: 9780199538362. $13.95.
  • Mann, Thomas. The Book of Torah. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1988. ISBN: 9780804200851. $30.
  • Pritchard, James. The HarperCollins Atlas of Bible History. HarperOne, 2008. ISBN: 9780061451959. $25.95.
  • Ska, Jean-Louis. Introduction to Reading the Pentateuch. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2006. 9781575061221. $32.95.
  • Articles by various authors (available on the ATLA online database through the Fuller library). See the assignments in the syllabus.



ASSIGNMENTS: The course will require extensive reading in preparation for class from the Bible and textbooks. The major

requirements are:

  1. A report of completed reading assignments, due before class each week (uploaded to Moodle), plus participation in discussions and projects in class - 20%,
  2. A take-home mid-term exam. (6-7 pages) Due at the beginning of class on October 31, 2011. - 25%,
  3. A paper including researched interpretation and theological reflection, prepared in two stages. Stage one due October 17, 2011. Stage two (10-12 pages; graded) due November 28, 2011. - 30%
  4. A take-home final exam. (6-7 pages) Due December 5, 2010. - 25%.



            Meets M.Div. and MA/BST core requirements in Old Testament "a" (OTA), and Biblical Studies in MAT.




FINAL EXAM: Yes, take-home.