Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


At least 60 cps in each of Biblical Studies and Christian Thought

Teaching organisation

This unit involves 300 hours of focused learning, or the equivalent of 20 hours per week for 15 weeks. The total includes formally structured learning activities such as lectures, tutorials, online learning, video-conferencing, or supervision. The remaining hours typically involve reading, research, and the preparation of tasks for assessment.

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit focuses on the theme of social justice in the biblical texts. It traces this central theme through the history of Israel and into the period of the early Christian Church, including its importance in the mission and teaching of Jesus. Emphasis will be placed on the location and the importance of the oppressed, the marginalised, the disenfranchised and the disempowered as a constant theme in the biblical literature.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1- Work collaboratively to identify and demonstrate knowledge of the genre, social, cultural and historical settings of a wide variety of biblical texts (GA1, GA7; GA8)

LO2 - Apply all previously studied exegetical methods, as well as canonical criticism and contextual critical approaches to a variety of biblical texts dealing with the theme of social justice (GA1, GA4, GA8)

LO3 - Integrate Biblical Studies with other theological disciplines (GA2, GA4)

LO4 - Apply biblical social justice perspectives to Australian Indigenous issues (GA6)

LO5 - Evaluate the different perspectives of a number of biblical texts on key contemporary social problems (GA3, GA6, GA8; GA9).  

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include: 

The theme of social justice as a consistent and all-embracing biblical theme;  

The similarities and differences between biblical texts on the theme of social justice; 

Biblical teaching on the identity and status of, and the attitudes towards, the oppressed, the marginalised, the disenfranchised, and the disempowered; 

Social justice issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, or the equivalent of 10 hours per week for 15 weeks. The total includes formally structured learning activities such as lectures, tutorials, online learning, video-conferencing, or supervision. The remaining hours typically involve reading, research, and the preparation of tasks for assessment. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Introductory Written Task 

For example: short essay, review of a reading 


1, 3 

GA1, 2, 4, 7, 8 

Exegetical Analysis


2, 5

1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9 

Extended Written Task 

For example: research essay, annotated bibliography, review  


2, 3, 4 

1, 2, 4, 6, 8 

Representative texts and references

Baker, D. L. Tight Fists or Open Hands? Wealth and Poverty in Old Testament Law. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009. 

Brawley, R. L. Character Ethics and the New Testament: Moral Dimensions of Scripture. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2007. 

Buckley, C. and Dobson, R. Humanitarian Jesus: Social Justice and the Cross. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2010.  

Jegen, M. E. Just Peacemakers: An Introduction to Peace and Justice. Mahwah: Paulist Press, 2008. 

Grassi, J. A. Informing the Future: Social Justice in the New Testament. New York: Paulist Press, 2003. 

Malchow, B. V. Social Justice in the Hebrew Bible. What is New and What is Old. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1996. 

Marshall, C. D. The Little Book of Biblical Justice: A Fresh Approach to the Bible’s Teaching on Justice. Intercourse: Good Books, 2005.  

Mott, S. C. Biblical Ethics and Social Change. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.  

O’Brien, M. A God Merciful and Gracious: Justice and Mercy in the Old Testament. Alexandria: Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, 2008. 

Weinfeld, M. Social Justice in Ancient Israel and in the Ancient Near East. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000. 

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