Religious Studies (RELS) 380

Advanced Studies in the Hebrew Bible (Revision 2)

RELS 380 Course Cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: RELS 204, an equivalent course at another Canadian university or permission of the course instructor. Also strongly recommended are a senior level English course and a course in Biblical Studies or Old Testament Studies from a secular post-secondary education institution.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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This an advanced level course designed to introduce students to the historical critical methods used in the secular, academic study of the Hebrew Bible. Students will be introduced to the use of form, textual, source, and rhetorical criticism. They will also be introduced to alternative theories to the Documentary Hypothesis, and a detailed evaluation of works by major Biblical scholars such as Wellhausen, Von Rad, Noth, Gunkel, Mowinckel, and Van Seters.


  • Unit 1: Approaches to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
  • Unit 2: The Ancient Worlds of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
  • Unit 3: The Torah
  • Unit 4: Nevi’im I: The Former Prophets (Joshua, Judges, 1-2 Samuel and 1-2 Kings)
  • Unit 5: Nevi’im II: The Latter Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and “The Twelve”)
  • Unit 6: The Writings I: Wisdom (Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes)
  • Unit 7: The Writings II: Songs of Israel (Psalms, Lamentations)
  • Unit 8: The Writings III: (Ruth, Esther, Song of Songs)
  • Unit 9: The Chronicler and the Deuteronomist
  • Unit 10: Apocalypticism and Heroism: Daniel and the Apocalyptic Visions of Early Judaism


To receive credit for RELS 380, you must complete both assignments as well as the final examination, and achieve a course composite grade of at least D (50 percent). The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Tutor Marked Exercise 1 20%
Tutor Marked Exercise 2 40%
Final Examination 40%
Total 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


McKenzie, Stephen L., and Graham, M. Patrick. The Hebrew Bible today: An Introduction to Critical Issues. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1998.

The HarperCollins Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version, with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books. Ed. Wayne A. Meeks. New York: HarperCollins, 2006.

Other Materials

The course materials also include a study guide, reading file and a student manual.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 2, October 1, 2010.

View previous syllabus