Biblical Studies and Hebrew (Classical)

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 and Classical Hebrew major, you will learn how to read the Bible in a more informed and responsible way, with units available that study the Bible in both English translation and in Biblical Hebrew. Pathways are available that allow students to focus either on the non-language steam or to go in depth in the study of ancient Hebrew. Junior BBCL 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, while junior HBRW units teach the basic skills for translating Biblical texts from Hebrew. 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 can learn how to read Old Testament (Tanak) narrative, law, ritual, poetic, wisdom, prophetic and apocalyptic texts in English translation and in Hebrew, and you will have the opportunity to take additional units on the New Testament. 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. The Classical Hebrew texts are primarily from the Bible, but over the course of your major you will have the opportunity to study all the varieties of pre-Modern Hebrew, from the Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls to that of ancient inscriptions, the Mishnah, and medieval commentators on the Bible.

Pathway through the major

A major in Biblical Studies and Classical Hebrew requires at least 36 senior credit points including at least 6 credit points at 3000 level.

The units of study for the major can be found in the Table A unit of study table for Biblical Studies and Classical Hebrew. The table shows units of study on offer in the current handbook year. You can 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 available in first year are: BBCL1001 Reading Bible: Narrative, Law and Ritual, BBCL1002 Biblical Themes: Joshua to Kings, HBRW1111 Hebrew Classical B1 and HBRW1112 Hebrew Classical B2.

The foundation BBCL 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. The foundation HBRW units teach the skills necessary to translate Classical Hebrew texts. They are beginners’ level units which lay the groundwork of grammar and translation skills by working with Biblical texts of a relatively easy level, generally narrative.

Senior units of study (2000 and 3000 level)

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, and cover all of the other main types of biblical literature. The 36 senior credit points to complete a major in Biblical Studies and Classical Hebrew are drawn from BBCL2603 Messianism in Biblical Prophetic Texts, BBCL2607 Biblical Poetic Books, BBCL2609 From Historical Jesus to Written Gospels, BBCL2610 The New Testament as Literature, HBRW2623 Hebrew Classical 3, HBRW2625 Hebrew Classical 5, HBRW2631 Hebrew Accelerated C1, HBRW2632 Hebrew Accelerated C2, BBCL3601 Daniel and Revelation as Apocalypses,

BBCL3602 Job, Proverbs and Other Biblical Wisdom, HBRW3601 Hebrew Classical Advanced 4, and HBRW3602 Hebrew Classical Advanced 6.

Example pathway1, Non-Language Focus:

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 BBCL3601 Daniel and Revelation as Apocalypses [or: BBCL2607 Biblical Poetic Books and BBCL3602 Job, Proverbs and Other Biblical Wisdom; these courses are offered in alternative years and can be taken in either order]. Plus BBCL2609 From Historical Jesus to Written Gospels and BBCL2610 The New Testament as Literature, or HBRW 2631 and HBRW 2632 Hebrew Accelerated C1 and C2.

Third year:

BBCL2607 Biblical Poetic Books and BBCL3602 Job, Proverbs and Other Biblical Wisdom [or: BBCL2603 Messianism in Biblical Prophetic Texts and BBCL3601 Daniel and Revelation as Apocalypses; these courses are offered in alternative years and can be taken in either order]

Example pathway 2, Language Focus:

First year:

HBRW 1111 and HBRW 1112 (Hebrew Classical B1 and B2)

Second year:

HBRW 2623 (Hebrew Classical 3) and HBRW 3601 (Hebrew Classical Advanced 4) [or: HBRW 2625 (Hebrew Classical 5) and HBRW 3602 (Hebrew Classical Advanced 6); these courses are offered in alternative years and can be taken in either order]. Plus two units from Biblical Studies (from BBCL 2603, 3601, 2607, 3602)

Third year:

HBRW 2625 (Hebrew Classical 5) and HBRW 3602 (Hebrew Classical Advanced 6) [or: HBRW 2623 (Hebrew Classical 3) and HBRW 3601 (Hebrew Classical Advanced 4); these courses are offered in alternative years and can be taken in either order]

Honours

A high proportion of students who major in Biblical Studies and Classical Hebrew continue to an Honours year.

To qualify for honours you must complete the major with an average of 70 percent or above, normally including at least two Classical Hebrew units of study.

An example of a combination of units for honours would consist of BBCL2603, BBCL2607, BBCL3601, BBCL3602, HBRW2631 and HBRW2632.

The honours program allows students in Biblical Studies and Classical Hebrew to undertake advanced seminars on biblical compositions and themes, and write a research thesis on a topic of their choice.

Contact/further information

Website: sydney.edu.au/arts/hebrew_biblical_jewish_studies

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

Or email the SLC office: