University of Sydney Handbooks - 2013 Archive

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Biblical Studies

Biblical Studies is located in the School of Languages and Cultures (SLC).

Biblical Studies is an interdisciplinary approach to the books of the Bible, including the Hebrew Bible/tanach, the Apocrypha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the New Testament. The program provides tools for understanding the historical, literary, and cultural background of these ancient books.

Program structure and content
The Bible in translation forms the major focus of this program. The two junior units provide an introduction to the study of the texts, focusing on understanding the literary techniques that the authors of the Pentateuch and Historical Books used to convey their message. The formation of the Bible and the historical setting of Ancient Israel in the Ancient Near East are also examined and analysed.

In the six senior units of study, the focus moves to an exploration of the phenomenon of prophecy and particular prophetic works, poetic and wisdom texts from the Writings, apocalyptic literature found in the Hebrew Bible, the Christian Scriptures and in apocryphal and pseudepigraphic works, and two courses on the New Testament. All sections of the program consider relevant material from the Qumran discoveries (the Dead Sea Scrolls).

Requirements for a major
Students who wish to major in BBCL must complete 36 senior credit points normally consisting of;

  • BBCL2603 Messianism in Biblical Prophetic Texts
  • BBCL2606 Apocalyptic in the Bible and Beyond
  • BBCL2607 Biblical Poetic Books
  • BBCL2608 Biblical Wisdom Literature

plus either

  • BBCL2609 Historical Jesus to Written Gospels
  • BBCL2610 The New Testament as Literature

or two units in Classical Hebrew (normally HBRW2631 and 2632, students with some background in Classical Hebrew should consult the course coordinator).
RLST2624 The Birth of Christianity may be substituted for one of the senior units.

Up to 12 credit points from approved cross-listable units of study may be cross-listed towards the Biblical Studies major. Please check the cross-listing schedule located on the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences website.

Sample pathway:
The following is an example only.

  • First year: BBCL1001 Reading Bible: Narrative Law and Ritual and BBCL1002 Biblical Themes: Joshua to Kings.
  • Second year: BBCL2603 Messianism in Biblical Prophetic Texts and BBCL2606 Apocalyptic in the Bible and Beyond (note that BBCL2607 and BBCL2608 can be studied before BBCL2603 and BBCL2606). Plus HBRW2631 Hebrew Accelerated C1 and HBRW2632 Hebrew Accelerated C2.
  • Third year: BBCL2607 Biblical Poetic Books and BBCL2608 Biblical Wisdom Literature.

Intending honours students must obtain a credit average or better in their Biblical Studies major (36 senior credit points) and an additional 12 credit points (two units of study) from courses offered in the Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish studies. At least 12 credit points must be from Classical Hebrew. Exemptions may be granted if the proposed honours thesis topic requires a knowledge of another relevant language or field of study. Honours students will undertake three seminars, and write a 15,000 word thesis.

Contact/further information

Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies
Room 621, Brennan MacCallum Building A18
Course coordinator: Professor Ian Young
Phone: +61 2 9351 6671;

Or contact the SLC office: