Old Testament exegesis I

The aim of this course is to illustrate the process of interpretation of the Old Testament by concrete examples. During this process, the problems involved will be highlighted and commented upon. The course will help the student to take a critical stance towards texts and their interpretations. The course will further allow a thorough look at a concrete biblical text, namely Isaiah 7:1-9:6. This pericope is of central importance for Christian theology. Moreover, in view of its compositinal history and genre, this is a complex subsection of Isaiah's prophecy, which provides an excellent case study for visualising the complexities of Hebrew textual analysis.


Specific competences

The course aims to develop the following competences:
  • the student is able to translate any text of the Hebrew Bible with the help of dictionaries, and interpret it with the help of the known exegetical methods;
  • the student is aware of the compositional history of Isaiah 7:1-9:6;
  • understands the problems related to the history of composition, as well as their relevance for its interpretation;
  • the student is able to visually outline the logical structure of a complex biblical text;
  • is able to define the main line of thought and interpret the inner relationship of the sentences;
  • perceives the importance of genre and rhetorical features for the interpretation of a biblical text;
  • the student is able to localise the theological message of a particular pericope in the wider context of the Old Testament and the Bible.

General competences

In a more general sense, the course will contribute to develop the students ability:
  • to interpret a complex text;
  • to define the main line of thought of a text;
  • to identify the rhetorical features used by an author to convey a certain message;
  • to recognise factors playing a role in the history of the biblical text;
  • to take a critical stance towards texts, as well as its ancient or modern interpretations.

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 113
Studying course notes and bibliography 40
Further documentation in libraries, electronic platforms, or on the field 35
Preparing essays, papers, or documentation 10
Personal tutoring 0
Total individual study 85


The student is required to prepare and analyse the grammar and semantics of the Hebrew text of the pericope to be discussed during the courses (preparation). At the end of the course a final exam will be taken. The final mark is composed by regular preparatory activity (20%) and the final exam (80%).



Journal article

Book article

  • Williamson, Hugh G. M. (2009): Poetic Vision in Isaiah 7:18-25 In: Everson, A. Joseph: The Desert Will Bloom. Poetic Visions in Isaiah . Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 77-90 old.
  • Williamson, Hugh G. M. (2011): The Practicalities of Prophetic Writing in Isaiah 8:1 In: Aitken, James K.: On Stone and Scroll. Essays in Honour of Graham Ivor Davies . Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 420. Berlin: De Gruyter, 357-370 old.
  • Karasszon István (2007): Ézsaiás és a Könyv In: Geréb Zsolt: Isteni megszólítás…emberi válasz. Jubileumi tanulmánykötet Eszenyeiné dr. Széles Mária professzor asszony tiszteletére . Nagyvárad: Partium Kiadó, 23-30 old.
  • Zsengellér József (2003): Ézsaiás és az "intő jelek" In: Kun Mária: Tanulmánykötet az 50 éves Marjovszky Tibor tiszteletére . Budapest: B&V Bt., 270-277 old.
  • Karasszon Dezső (1974): Ézsaiás könyvének magyarázata. In: Jubileumi kommentár 2.. Budapest: Református Zsinati Iroda, 635-692 old.