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  • Term Mode
  • Semester 1Online Scheduled


THEL210 Introductory Biblical Hebrew B OR THEL207 Biblical Hebrew B

Teaching organisation

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, language seminars and online learning. The remaining hours typically involve individual reading of texts, preparation for class, revising grammatical paradigms and increasingly complex vocabulary, research, and the preparation of tasks for assessment. 

Unit rationale, description and aim

Building on the foundation of Biblical Hebrew A and B, this unit introduces Biblical Hebrew texts from a variety of genres (e.g., prophetic literature) and of increasing linguistic complexity. These texts will include complex prose narratives, prose sermons, semi-poetic, and poetic texts. The emphasis will be on reading Biblical Hebrew in its literary and historical contexts, while the unit also enables students to engage with scholarly discussions of the textual transmission, compositional history and historical background of the biblical books on the basis of detailed original language study of texts.

Sources for ancient Hebrew outside the Bible are limited. Therefore, deep acquaintance with the various modes of discourse in Biblical Hebrew is essential to understand the meaning of the Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament. Ancient manuscripts and ancient translations reveal that the forms of the Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament books were, to an extent, fluid. Understanding the ways that ancient scribes transmitted the written forms of biblical traditions thus provides insight into the nature of the compositions preserved in the Hebrew Bible. This unit aims, therefore, to equip students to read Hebrew texts of increasing complexity, while also acquiring the tools to understand the textual history of those compositions.

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.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome Description
LO1Differentiate the main characteristics of the language and literary form of complex prose, semi-poetic, and poetic texts in Hebrew
LO2Apply understanding of Hebrew grammar, syntax and vocabulary to the interpretation of complex texts in their literary, theological and historical contexts
LO3Analyze textual variations from multiple sources and use them to describe aspects of the history of the textual transmission of the Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament


Topics will include:

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The unit is normally offered in Online Scheduled mode. Students learn through formally structured and sequenced learning activities that support the achievement of the learning outcomes through highly interactive language learning and textual analysis. 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 language, text and historical background of the Bible, particularly through modern interpretative approaches, through the presence and articulation of the lecturer and tutors. Students will be guided to develop the academic skills needed for intermediate level study of the biblical text in its original language. Students will be provided with opportunities for the development of practical skills in applying linguistic knowledge to complex research problems, as well as technologies and strategies needed for successful academic research on the Bible, including one or more of the following: flexible learning, academic writing, and academic honesty. 

THEL211 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 and is at the core of its learning strategy. 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 grade of Pass (50% or higher).

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

The unit’s main focus is on establishing skills in translation across a range of genres while also developing students’ capacity to use developed linguistic skills to interpret texts in context.

The first assessment task examines how well students can understand and translate complex Hebrew grammatical forms. It thus enables assessment of students’ ability to demonstrate knowledge of grammar, vocabulary, and syntax.

The second assessment task asks students to research and evaluate data from primary sources and their interpretation in secondary sources. It assesses the students’ ability to apply increasingly complex linguistic skills to the analysis of research problems in the biblical text 

The third assessment task examines translation ability, i.e., the ability to apply knowledge of grammar, syntax, and vocabulary to the interpretation of the texts, and the students’ ability to analyse significant features of texts across a range of genres.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Weekly quizzes: Require students to demonstrate their understanding of Hebrew grammatical and textual phenomena.



Research task: Requires students to demonstrate critical thinking skills by researching and evaluating primary and secondary sources relating to problems regarding the historical, theological and textual background of selected passages from the Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament.


LO1, LO2, LO3

Textual analysis: Requires students to demonstrate and apply linguistic and textual evaluation skills to the analysis of selected passages from the Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament.


LO1, LO2, LO3

Representative texts and references

George Athas and Ian Young, Elementary Biblical Hebrew, 5th ed. (Sydney: Ancient Vessel Press, 2016).

David M. Carr, The Formation of the Hebrew Bible: A New Reconstruction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011). 

Paul Joüon, A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew, translated and revised by T. Muraoka, Subsidia Biblica 27, 2nd ed. (Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 2006). 

Juha Pakkala, God’s Word Omitted: Omissions in the Transmission of the Hebrew Bible, FRLANT 251 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013). 

Robert Rezetko and Ian Young, Historical Linguistics and Biblical Hebrew: Steps Toward an Integrated Approach, SBLANEM 9 (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2014).

Carolyn J. Sharp (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Prophets (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016). 

Emanuel Tov, Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, 4th ed. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2022). 

Bruce K. Waltke, and M. O’Connor. An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1990). 

Molly M. Zahn, “‘Editing’ and the Composition of Scripture: The Significance of the Qumran Evidence,” Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 3 (2014): 298–316. 

Ian Young, “Literature As Flexible Communication: Variety in Hebrew Biblical Texts,” in Registers and Modes of Communication in the Ancient Near East: Getting the Message Across, ed. Kyle H. Keimer and Gillan Davis (London: Routledge, 2018), 156–73.

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