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Old Testament :



This course should refer to Ancient Philosophy, which is being taught at the same time, and should give students a proper foundation for their later study of the New Testament and other Christian theology courses.



In lecture format, this is primarily a theology course, not a literature or history course. Rather than focusing on such matters as the art of Hebrew poetry or what critical history says about text formation, the course mainly concerns God's revelation of his providential plan for his creatures, particularly his people, Israel.

To illustrate, the course section dealing with the books of Moses might include such leading themes as: Creation ex nihilo; divine freedom; natural law; human freedom; original sin; divine punishment; God's historical plan; grace; covenant; God's faithfulness; human faith; predestination; good from evil; wrestling with God; repentance and purgation; God's care for all peoples; God's human agents; God's name; mysteriousness of God; miracles; revealed law; retaliation; holiness; social justice; collective responsibility; intercession; vicarious suffering.


Possible sequence of topics:

  • Divine revelation and the place of the Hebrew Scriptures in it.
  • The creation of the world, followed by its partial disintegration through human sin.
  • The history of Israel, ordinarily including the following: (1) the promises to the patriarchs; (2) the deliverance from Egypt, the covenant at Sinai, and the giving of the law; (3) the establishment of the house of David as God's anointed rulers; (4) the warnings of the prophets,fulfilled in the downfall of the kingdoms, and the prophets' assurances of unprecedented blessings to come; (5) the restoration of Israel on the basis of the law.
  • The wise maxims of worldly prosperity, and their limits.
  • Prayer in the Hebrew Scriptures.
  • Patriarchs: Genesis
  • Egypt and Sinai: Exodus, other scriptural legal materials
  • Establishment of kingship: I and II Samuel, I Kings
  • Writing prophets: II Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, "Second" Isaiah.
  • Wisdom literature: Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes
  • Prayer (interspersed among prior topics) Psalms
Texts: Comprehensive selection from the Old Testament
Selected parts of Dei Verbum (Constitution on Sacred Scripture, Vatican II)
Studies by Gerhard von Rad