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Prelims 2: The Study of Old Testament Set Texts: Genesis 1-11 and Amos

Course Description

Candidates will be expected to comment on passages from the set texts, and to show a general knowledge of their historical, literary and theological background. The texts will be studied in English in the New Revised Standard Version.

Aims and Objectives

Aims: To enable students to read two selected Old Testament texts in detail, and to begin to understand the historical, literary and theological influences which have formed such texts.


(a) Students will have acquired the skills of reading, analysing and writing about two ancient texts in English translation.
(b) Students will have gained an awareness of and will have assessed for themselves the distinctive features of these texts within the broader context of their ancient Near Eastern background.
(c) Students will have gained an awareness of the range of critical approaches to these texts, both traditional and more contemporary.
(d) By having to comment on short passages from these texts, students will have had to select the most appropriate of these critical approaches with which to evaluate their own responses to the texts.
(e) In tutorial discussion students will have begun to learn to defend what they have written against critical comment.

Course Delivery

Lectures: 16 given in Michaelmas and Hilary Terms:

‘Introduction to the Old Testament’ (8) – Michaelmas Term

‘Genesis 1-11′ (4) – Michaelmas Term

‘The Book of Amos’ (4) – Hilary Term

Number of Tutorials: 6, aiming to produce 6 essays: 3 essays on the historical, literary and theological background to each text.

Classes: 2 (or 2 tutorials) to help with reading and commenting on short selected passages

Assessment: through one 3 hour written examination, requiring candidates to answer four compulsory ‘gobbet’ questions and to write two essays.



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