Old Testament Writings

BA (Hons) in Theology - Year 1
COURSE UNIT 214 - 8214


Students are first introduced  to the Psalms - their origins, use in Israelite worship, structure, exegesis and contemporary application.  Attention is paid to the characteristics of Hebrew poetry.  An overview of the OT Wisdom tradition is then given and particular attention is paid to two wisdom books.  The place of OT wisdom literature within the church is addressed. Throughout, exegetical skills are developed.


To introduce students to the Ketubim group of OT books, with emphasis on the Psalms, and to consider various approaches to the interpretation of this part of Old Testament literature.


Category of outcome

By the end of this unit students should be able to:

Knowledge and understanding

·      Identify the main characteristics of Hebrew poetry

·      Describe the major themes and features of OT wisdom literature

Intellectual skills

·      Critically discuss the role of the Writings in the Bible and in Christianity

·      Evaluate different approaches to the interpretation of the Psalms

Practical and Transferable skills; Personal qualities

·      Demonstrate increased exegetical skills

·      Apply passages from the Writings in the context of the Church and the world


Assessment task


Weighting within unit



500 words

2000 words




·         214:

·         8214:

An essay plan

An essay



3000 words

2000 words





·         214:

·         8214:

An essay

An essay

and a learning journal*


* Distance learning students are required to pass this element. So long as this element has been passed, they will be eligible for compensation if the overall unit mark is within the compensation zone (30-39%), and the compensatable credit allowance as set out in the Degree Regulations has not been exceeded.




Available on which programme(s)?

BA in Theology


·         Introduction to the Psalms:

·         History of research

·         Hebrew poetry (parallelism etc)

·         Exegesis of a Psalm of revenge: Psalm 58

·         The Psalms and the New Testament

·         Introduction to the Wisdom literature

·         Job

·         Ecclesiastes / Qohelet

Teaching method

Interactive lectures (8214 distance learning)

Additional eLearning content

Unit materials are available at Spurgeon’s Online to support student learning


Written feedback within 15 working days from submission

Date of approval (for office use)


Information updated on

December 2015

Indicative reading

Ballard, H.W., and Tucker W.D., An Introduction to Wisdom Literature and the Psalms. FS Marvin E. Tate (Macon GA: Mercer University Press, 2000)

Bartholomew, Craig G., and Ryan P. O'Dowd, Old Testament Wisdom Literature: A Theological Introduction (Downers Grove: IVP Academic/Nottingham: Apollos, 2011)

Bullock, C. Hassell, Encountering the Book of Psalms (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001)

Crenshaw, J.L., OT Wisdom: An Introduction (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1998)

Futato, M., Interpreting the Psalms: An Exegetical Handbook (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2007)

Holladay, William L., The Psalms through Three Thousand Years (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1993)

Johnston, Philip S., and David G. Firth, Interpreting the Psalms: Issues and Approaches (Leicester: Apollos, 2005)

McCann, J.C., A Theological Introduction to the Book of Psalms (Nashville: Abingdon, 1993)

Murphy, Ronald E., The Tree of Life: An Exploration of the Biblical Wisdom Literature (New York: Doubleday, 1992)

Murphy, Ronald E., The Gift of the Psalms (Peabody: Hendrickson, 2000)

Sheriffs, D., The Friendship of the Lord: An Old Testament Spirituality (Carlisle: Paternoster, 1996)

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Old Testament Writings

BA (Hons) in Theology - Year 1
Course Unit 214 - 8214





Hours of Learning:



Dr Hetty Lalleman

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