Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, which reflects the standard volume of learning for a unit in a University qualification of this Australian Qualifications Framework type.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Graduates of programs in Ignatian Spirituality should develop knowledge and skills in this discipline and be able to reflect critically on the ways in which their personal development impacts upon their professional roles. This unit is designed to develop in students an ability to engage in an informed critical reading of New Testament texts. Students will broaden and deepen their engagement with the New Testament in a spirit of open and critical inquiry by drawing on a wide range of exegetical tools of interpretation. Students will also learn to evaluate and relate the literature of the New Testament, its literary forms and historical setting, as well as its representation of God, to the literature, literary forms and representation of God in the Spiritual Exercises. The unit aims to enable students to bring the biblical texts and the Spiritual Exercises into mutual, critical engagement. 

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 - View the New Testament as a set of historical texts, and describe and engage in the various methods of historical-critical study of the New Testament (GA4);

LO2 - Demonstrate an understanding of the world of the New Testament, how we can read New Testament writings in a modern context (GA4; GA5);

LO3 - Articulate and review New Testament scholarship, particularly in relation to the Gospels, and be able to demonstrate the impact of biblical scholarship on the way we understand and interpret the Bible (GA4; GA5);

LO4 - Analyse critically and reflect on the ways in which Ignatius adopted and applied the New Testament in the Spiritual Exercises (GA4; GA8);

LO5 - Synthesise and evaluate the ways in which the New Testament can be understood and used within an Ignatian Spiritual Framework (GA8).

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

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


Topics will include:

  • Approaches to reading and studying the New Testament;
  • The use of the New Testament in the Spiritual Exercises;
  • Introduction to the methodologies for biblical interpretation;
  • Key issues in modern Gospel scholarship;
  • Focused analysis of each Gospel;
  • Paul and the Spiritual Exercises;
  • Using a historical-critical approach to the Bible in the practise of Spiritual Direction in the Ignatian tradition.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

THSP500 will be delivered in multi-mode, that is, in various combinations of face to face and mediated learning environments, utilising strategies which may include:

  • Self-directed activities (such as completing scaffolded reading tasks or web-based exercises) which enable each student to build a detailed understanding of a topic;
  • Small-group tasks and activities (such as contributing to discussion forums or undertaking peer review) which enable students to test, critique, expand and evaluate their understandings; 
  • Plenary seminars and webinars which enable students to link their understandings with larger frameworks of knowledge and alternative interpretations of ideas;
  • Practical or fieldwork activities which enable students to rehearse skills necessary to the discipline and to be mentored in that practice;
  • Critically reflective activities (such as a guided Examen or private journal-writing) which assist students to learn reflexively, that is, to identify their affective responses to the learning and to integrate their learning with action.

The unit is delivered with the expectation that participants are adult learners, intrinsically motivated and prepared to reflect critically on issues as well as on their own learning and perspectives.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to pass this unit, students are required to complete all assessment tasks and achieve an overall minimum grade of pass. All assessment tasks are designed for students to show their achievement of each learning outcome and graduate attribute. They require students to demonstrate the nexus between their learning, dispositions, and spiritual practice, and the evidence on which this demonstration is based.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Critical review of a scholarly article or book chapter (1500- words). This task is designed to allow students to articulate and review New Testament scholarship and consider the impact of biblical scholarship on the way we understand and interpret the Bible.


LO1, LO3

GA4, GA5

15-minute class presentation (1500-word equivalent). This task is designed to give the student the opportunity to reflect critically on a key aspect of textual interpretation.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA4, GA5

Major exegesis (3000-words). This task is designed to enable students to consolidate their learning and to demonstrate their acquired skills by presenting an exegesis and an integrated Ignatian reflection on a specific New Testament passage.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA8

Representative texts and references

* = recommended for purchase

*The New Oxford Annotated Bible: New Revised Standard version with the Apocrypha: an ecumenical study Bible / Michael D. Coogan, editor ; Marc Z. Brettler, Carol A. Newsom, and Pheme Perkins, associate editors. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Barry, William A. Seek My Face: Prayer as Personal Relationship in Scripture. New York: Paulist Press, 1989.

Borg, Marcus. Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously But Not Literally. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1999.

Boring, M. Eugene. An Introduction to the New Testament: History, Literature, Theology. Louisville: John Knox Press, 2012.

Brown, Sherri, and Francis J. Moloney. Interpreting the Gospel and the Letters of John: An Introduction. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2017.

Byrne, Brendan. Freedom in the Spirit: An Ignatian Retreat with Saint Paul. New York: Paulist Press, 2016.

Byrne, Brendan. A Costly Freedom: A Theological Reading of Mark’s Gospel. Strathfield: St Pauls Publications, 2008.

Gallagher, Timothy. Meditation and Contemplation: An Ignatian Guide to Praying with Scripture. New York: Crossroad Pub. Co., 2008.

Levine, Amy Jill. The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2006.

Schüssler Fiorenza, Elizabeth. In Memory of Her: A Feminist Theological Reconstruction of Christian Origins, 2nd edition. London: SCM, 1996.

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