Biblical Studies

The Biblical Studies Program is taught by the Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies within the School of Languages and Cultures (SLC).

About the major

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.

Pathway through the major

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.

The units of study for the major can be found in the Table A unit of study table for Biblical Studies. The table shows units of study on offer in the current handbook year. You may find information regarding a full list of units of study available to the major on the departmental website.

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).


A high proportion of students who major in Biblical Studies continue to a fourth, Honours year. To qualify for honours you complete 48 senior credit points of Biblical Studies which must include at least two Classical Hebrew units of study. An example of a common combination of units for honours would consist of the four core senior units of study (BBCL2603, BBCL3601, BBCL2607, BBCL3602) plus the two New Testament units of study (BBCL2609, BBCL2610) plus two Classical Hebrew units of study (e.g. HBRW2631, HBRW2632). The honours program allows students an even broader integration of the overall Biblical Studies program with the Classical Hebrew program in which students study courses on biblical compositions and themes, and write a research thesis on a topic of their choice.

Please note: from 2015 the minimum requirement for entry into Honours will increase to an average of 70% or above across 48 senior credit points in the intended subject area/s.

Contact/further information


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

Or contact the SLC office: