Year

2023

Credit points

10

Prerequisites

Nil

Teaching organisation

The 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, and online learning. The remaining hours typically involve reading, research, and the preparation and submission of tasks for assessment.

Unit rationale, description and aim

The Bible is the world's most published book, and one with an incalculable, and ongoing, impact on human society. It is also a central carrier of revelation for Christianity. It is a book made up of many books from different times, contexts and authors. These books are united by a unique narrative in which God reveals himself to the Israelite people and enters into covenantal relationship with them. This relationship comes to its climax when God becomes human in Jesus, who teaches and heals, dies and rises, to enable God's life of love to be fully shared with humanity and creation. Study of the Bible is therefore imperative to understanding Christian perspectives.

THBS100 is an introduction to the Bible, setting it within the context of its continuing significance for Christians particularly the Catholic community . It explores the historical background, literary character and theology of the texts, in order to provide a sound basis for their contemporary interpretation and application. The unit will involve study of selected biblical texts, such as Genesis, Exodus and the Gospel of Mark.

The aim of this unit is for students to acquire knowledge of the scriptures and begin to interpret them using scholarly methods and perspectives.

Learning outcomes

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

LO1- Identify the narrative and literary features of biblical texts using modern biblical scholarship (GA5)

LO2 - Analyse biblical narratives by considering their historical, geographical, social, and cultural contexts (GA5, GA9)

LO3 - Develop meaningful interpretations of biblical texts for contemporary audiences, especially in a Catholic Christian context, by drawing on modern biblical scholarship and theology (GA8, GA9). 

Graduate attributes

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

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

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

Content

Topics will include: 

An overview of the biblical canon and its representative narratives and theological aspects; 

The major geographical and historical frameworks for the study of ancient Israel and first-century Christianity;  

An introductory study of significant themes and traditions in the Pentateuch and other selected biblical writings (e.g. exodus, creation, election, covenant, and land); 

The emergence and development of the gospel traditions within the historical, social, and cultural contexts of late Second Temple Judaism and the eastern Mediterranean; 

The person and work of Jesus Christ; 

An introductory study of the Gospel of Mark.  

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 and online learning. The remaining hours typically involve reading, research, and the preparation and submission of tasks for assessment. 

 

The unit is normally offered in attendance mode. Students learn through formally structured and sequenced learning activities that support the achievement of the learning outcomes. Students are asked to critically reflect, analyse, and integrate new information with existing knowledge, draw meaningful new connections, and then apply what they have learned. Collaborative and peer learning is also emphasized.  

 

These face-to-face activities enable students to acquire and assimilate knowledge of the Bible, particularly through modern interpretative approaches, and identify the importance of the Bible to the life of believers, especially through the presence and articulation of the lecturer and tutors. Students will be guided in beginning to develop the academic skills needed for biblical study. Students will be provided with opportunities for the development of practical skills, technologies and strategies needed for successful academic theological study, including in one or more of the following: flexible learning, academic writing, and academic honesty. 

 

THBS100 emphasises students as active, adult learners. Students are recognised as adult learners who engage best when what they are learning is relevant to them and gives them the opportunity to be responsible for their own learning. In many ways, the student is the one who drives the learning forward. Active participation in this unit is essential. Learning is designed to be an engaging and supportive experience, which helps students to develop critical thinking and reflection skills.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to pass this unit, students are required to attempt all assessment tasks and achieve an overall mark of 50% or higher.  

 

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for students to progressively demonstrate their achievement of each learning outcome. 

 

Task 1 asks students to identify the important literary features in a biblical passage. This task is designed to allow them to display achievement of Learning Outcome 1. This task allows them a low-risk piece of assessment to test their interpretative skills, as well as academic writing techniques. Feedback provided from Task 1 will help them with the other two assessment tasks. 

 

Task 2 invites students to analyse key contexts and ideas of biblical passages in order to navigate the Bible. The principle focus of this task is to allow them to display achievement of Learning Outcome 2.  

 

Task 3 asks students to critically analyse the meaning of a biblical passage using scholarly methods and apply such understanding to interpret a biblical passage for a contemporary audience. The principle focus of this task is to allow students to display achievement of Learning Outcome 3.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Short introductory written task: Require students to identify the literary features of a biblical book or passage.

20%

LO1 

GA5

Critical Analysis Task: Require students to analyse the contexts and ideas of key biblical texts.

30% 

LO1, LO2 

GA5, GA8, GA9

Exegetical Analysis: Require students to demonstrate exegetical skills by analysing a selected biblical passage and apply such skills to assist a contemporary audience to understand the Bible. This task can take the form of an examination or research essay. 

50% 

LO1, LO2, LO3 

GA5, GA9 

Representative texts and references

Alexander, T. D. From Paradise to the Promised Land: An Introduction to the Main Themes of the Pentateuch. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1998. 

Brown, R. E. An Introduction to the New Testament. New York: Doubleday, 1997. 

Burnette-Bletsch, R. Studying the Old Testament: A Companion. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2007. 

Byrne, B. A Costly Freedom: A Theological Reading of Mark’s Gospel. Strathfield: St Paul’s, 2008. 

Carmody, T. R. Reading the Bible: A Study Guide. New York: Paulist Press, 2004.  

Collins, J. J. A Short Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007. 

McKenzie, S. L. and J. Kalmer. The Old Testament: Its Background, Growth & Content. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2007. 

Moloney, F. J. A Friendly Guide to Mark’s Gospel. Mulgrave: John Garrett Publishing, 2012. 

Newsome, J. D. Greeks, Romans, Jews: Currents and Culture and Belief in the New Testament World. Philadelphia: Trinity Press International, 1992. 

Perkins, P. Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007. 

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