Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning. 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

In this unit participants will be provided with an opportunity to explore hermeneutical approaches to reading the Bible which enable the world of the modern reader to enter into the world of the biblical text. Participants will examine critical and reflexive forms of biblical interpretation that open up possibilities for meaning-making around the biblical message in and for our contemporary world. This unit supports educators to lead learners in an interpretation of biblical texts that is conducted in light of their own experience and their contemporary context.

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 - Identify contemporary hermeneutical approaches to engaging with the Bible (GA1, GA4, GA5, GA7) 

LO2 - Utilize hermeneutical approaches to interpret biblical texts in dialogue with contemporary culture and experience (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9)

LO3 - Evaluate the impact of hermeneutical approaches to the Bible in supporting learners in their own settings to make meaning (GA1, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA9) 

Graduate attributes

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

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

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: 

  • Approaches to the Bible in contemporary educational settings; 
  • The Bible in the Catholic tradition; 
  • Theoretical and theological approaches to biblical hermeneutical interpretation; 
  • Processes for engaging hermeneutically with the Bible; 
  • The conditions for creating interpretive communities; 
  • The roles of learners in interpreting biblical texts;  
  • The roles of educators in working hermeneutically with the Bible and with learners; 
  • Encountering difficult texts with learners. 

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 tasks such as input, discussion and online learning. The remaining hours typically involve reading, research, the required preparation prior to each intensive, and the preparation and completion of tasks for assessment. 

The unit is normally offered in attendance mode, undertaken over a sequence of two-day face-to-face intensives (4 days in total). During these face-to-face learning opportunities, participants will learn with and from the teaching team and each other through critical reading, analysis, discussion, dialogue, workshops and reflection. 

Participants are asked to engage critically with current approaches to biblical hermeneutical interpretation, and to examine the significance of these approaches both theoretically and practically for the context in which they might lead learning in the study of the Bible. THBS606 positions the participants as active partners in the learning process. Participants in this unit are recognized as adult learners who develop deep understanding when their learning is relevant to them and connected to the context in which they lead others to learn. Participants are thus expected to accept responsibility for their own learning in this unit. Active engagement with, and contribution to, the learning of others is essential throughout the unit.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

 In order to pass this unit, you are required to undertake all assessment tasks and achieve an overall grade of Pass (50% or higher).   

Task 1 asks you to identify the attitudes and assumptions that you and the learners in your context bring to the study of the Bible. This formative task is designed to enable you to understand the context in which you lead learning in order to inform the study of hermeneutical approaches to the Bible for contemporary settings. 

Task 2 asks you to interpret a biblical passage using a defined hermeneutical approach. The task allows you to assess your capacity to interpret the Bible hermeneutically. 

Task 3 invites you to investigate the significance and impact of teaching the Bible hermeneutically in your own local setting. The task is designed to allow you to integrate theory and practice through study, action, analysis and reflection.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Contextual analysis  

500-1000 words 



GA1, GA4, GA5, GA7 

Hermeneutical analysis of a selected biblical passage 

2000 words (maximum) 



GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9 

Written assignment, e.g. research essay, action research project, class learning design 

2500 words (maximum) 


LO1, LO3 

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA9 

Representative texts and references

Bieringer, R. and Mary Elsbernd,. Normativity of the Future: Reading Biblical and Other Authoritative Texts in an Eschatological Perspective. Annua Nuntia Lovaniensia 61. Leuven: Peeters, 2010. 

Bieringer, R., Roger Burggraeve, Emmanuel Nathan, and M. Steegen (eds.). Provoked to Speech: Biblical Hermeneutics as Conversation. Leuven: Peeters, 2014. 

Boer, Roland and Fernando Segovia (eds). The Future of the Biblical Past: Envisioning Biblical Studies on a Global Key. Semeia Studies 66. Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature, 2012. 

Jeanrond, Werner G. Theological Hermeneutics : Development and Significance. London: SCM, 1994. 

McKenzie, Steven L. and John Kaltner (eds.). New Meanings for Ancient Texts: Recent Approaches to Biblical Criticisms and Their Applications. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2013.  

Monaghan, Christopher J., and Mark O'Brian. God's Word and the Church's Council: Vatican II and Divine Revelation. Vatican II Series. Adelaide: ATF, 2014. 

Pollefeyt, Didier, and Reimund Bieringer. "The Role of the Bible in Religious Education Reconsidered: Risks and Challenges in Teaching the Bible." International Journal of Practical Theology 9, no. 1 (2005): 117-39 

Reinhartz, Adele. Befriending the Beloved Disciple: A Jewish Reading of the Gospel of John. New York: Continuum, 2005. 

Ruiz, Jean-Pierre. Readings from the Edges: The Bible and People on the Move. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2011. 

Schneiders, Sandra Marie. The Revelatory Text: Interpreting the New Testament as Sacred Scripture. Second ed. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1999. 

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