Introduction to the Old Testament I

The main objective of this course is to supply an all-embracing introduction, presentation and summary of the content of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, including some basic questions concerning the genesis and development of the canon of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. This objective will be achieved through the employment of the various books of the Old Testament / Hebrew Bible as primary sources. While the course takes a textual-based approach as regards to the accounts, history and literature of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, time will be allocated for questions and facts of theological, ethical and sociological nature. The goal is also to facilitate engagement with the most important scriptural facts, which at first sight cause difficulty to the modern and/or postmodern student / reader.

The specific objective of this course is to introduce the student into the Hungarian text and content of the Old Testament / Hebrew Bible by means of summarising presentations, section by section and chapter by chapter. Topics to be tackled include the primeval and patriarchal periods, the exodus, the Sinai covenant and the desert wanderings. The course homes in on the interpretative enterprise en ensemble, which encapsulates a comprehensive knowledge about the authors and the historical background of the individual books of the Old Testament / Hebrew Bible and its wider cultural milieu in the ancient Near East. Theological facets of these ancient works are also explored, shifting from the theoretical issues to the more practical matters of daily life and experience. This course does not presume any special degree of competence in terms of the content of the Old Testament / Hebrew Bible on the part of the student. The student with prior knowledge of the Old Testament / Hebrew Bible will experience this course to be advantageous but those who lack such an acquaintance will not be at disadvantage.


Specific competences

By means of this course, the student will become familiar with basic issues related to the formation of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. Moreover the student will acquire a solid scriptural working knowledge of the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. More specifically the student will:
  • be able to explain the process of development of the canon of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible.
  • be educated on a medium level in the subject area of bibliology and textual history;
  • understand and explain the content of the Torah;
  • use extra-biblical texts in relation to the Torah;
  • recite verbatim the Bible verses specified on the Selected Bible Verses Sheet supplied by the lecturer at the beginning of the course from one of the Hungarian translations of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, which verses have been opted for on the basis of their relevance for Christian theology.

General competences

  • The student’s ability to work in a team will be improved, just as his/her oral or writing skills, respect and also development of professional thinking and ethics, proficiency in solving questions pertaining to the content of the Hungarian text of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible.
  • The student will also gain some expertise in recognizing and respecting cultural and ethnic diversity present in the relevant ancient texts.
  • The student will be encouraged to be imaginative in terms of his/her theological thinking and future homiletical practice, whereby nurturing a constant openness in order to discover the minute details of the content of the Hungarian text of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible.

Total estimated time

Classroom study Course Seminar Practice
2 hours/week 2 0 0
28 hours/semester 28 0 0
Individual study Hours/sem
Total estimated time 124
Studying course notes and bibliography 60
Further documentation in libraries, electronic platforms, or on the field 28
Preparing essays, papers, or documentation 8
Personal tutoring 0
Total individual study 96


Attendance: The course relies significantly upon the material discussed in class. Therefore attendance is strongly endorsed to one’s success in the course. Reading: The student ought to read all the assigned readings for the class. If a student consistently appears to be unprepared the class participation grade will be adversely affected. The lecturer reserves the right to assign quizzes to those who obnoxiously refuse to prepare for upcoming classes. Cheating, plagiarizing, copying, etc. is not tolerated.



Book article

  • Carson, Don A. (1994): Approaching the Bible In: Wenham, Gordon: New Bible Commentary . Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 1-10 old.

Collection of studies

Source edition