Biblical Studies


In the Biblical Studies (BBCL) major, you will learn how to read the Bible in a more informed and responsible way. Junior units teach the methods needed to understand what biblical books were trying to communicate in their ancient setting, the foundation of all further discussion about the message of these books. Senior units build on these skills and introduce students to the methods necessary to understand each distinctive type of biblical literature.

Over the course of the major you will learn how to read Old Testament (Tanak) narrative, law, ritual, poetic, wisdom, prophetic and apocalyptic texts, and you will have the opportunity to take additional units on the New Testament, and Biblical (Classical) Hebrew. By the end of the major, you will have mastered methods for better understanding biblical texts. In addition the major will teach you skills specific to understanding the various different sorts of biblical texts and a solid groundwork on background issues such as the ancient historical and social context of the biblical literature.

Major outline

A major in Biblical Studies requires at least 36 senior credit points, including at least 24 credit points from core units of study of which 6 must be taken at 3000 level.

Junior units of study (1000 level):
Junior units taken in first year are: BBCL1001 Reading Bible Narrative, Law and Ritual, and BBCL1002 Biblical Themes: Joshua to Kings.

These foundation units teach the skills necessary to understand what the biblical texts were trying to communicate in their ancient context, and what literary techniques they used in narrative, law and ritual texts.

Senior units of study (2000 and 3000 level)
Senior-intermediate (2000 level) and senior-advanced (3000 level) units build on the basic methodological approach taught in the junior units. You will study four core units of study: Biblical Poetic (BBCL2607), Wisdom (BBCL3602), Prophetic (BBCL2603) and Apocalyptic (BBCL3601) texts.

Senior units of study are offered on a two-year rotation with BBCL2607 and BBCL3602 one year, and BBCL2603 and BBCL3601 in alternate years. Whichever sequence you follow, you will gain a progressive increase of knowledge not only about each individual type of biblical literature, but in the depth of your understanding of the methodological issues in studying Biblical Literature as a whole.

To complete a major, you will need to add two more senior level units of study to the four core units. These can be either units studying the New Testament (BBCL2609 From Historical Jesus to Written Gospels and BBCL2610 The New Testament as Literature) or Classical (Biblical) Hebrew (commonly HBRW2631 and HBRW2632 Hebrew Accelerated C1 and C2).

Graduate opportunities

Sydney Arts and Social Sciences graduates work in government departments at all levels, and major private sector consultancies and corporations, locally and overseas. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences offers a range of subject areas that prepare graduates for careers in administration, education, business research, marketing, media, management consultancy, public relations, gallery and museum curatorship, hospitality and tourism, community and welfare. Our graduates are proficient in research and inquiry, and demonstrate personal and intellectual autonomy, and ethical, social and professional understanding, qualities sought after by leading employers all over the world.

Further study for major

Eligible candidates may proceed to an Honours year in the Bachelor of Arts, or apply for admission to a rich postgraduate program in the humanities and social sciences, comprising advanced learning and professional courses. Master degrees include capstone projects ranging from internships with government and non-government organisations in Australia and overseas, the gallery and museum sector, and leading media organisations, to opportunities for independent research projects which prepare students for higher degrees by research.

Related subject areas

Hebrew (Classical), Jewish Civilisation, Thought and Culture

Our courses that offer this major

Not available in 2014