Methodology of Old Testament Exegesis

The general aim of this course is to introduce the student into the methodology of interpreting the Hebrew text of the Old Testament. This process is achieved by a synthesis of textual, linguistic, historical, literary critical, rhetorical, form critical and theological approaches. During this course the student will be introduced to the primary sources of the exegesis, such as the most important Hebrew biblical manuscripts, the critical editions of the Hebrew text of the Old Testament and the ancient translations of the Old Testament. The student will also encounter the secondary exegetical literature, such as word studies and commentaries, learning how to use them in the individual research and theological activities. The course also gives an overview of the importance and usefulness of softwares in biblical research (especially the BibleWorks program), enhancing significantly the critical arsenal meant to help the exegete.

Competences

Specific competences

By the end of this course the student is able to critically analyse the Hebrew text of the Bible; to interpret and use the critical apparatus of the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (3rd edition); to prepare detailed Hebrew word-studies; to structure a text according to rhetorical and grammatical structuring lines; to define the genre of a biblical text based on its content and vocabulary; to define major ideas and coherence of a pericope; to use the critical commentaries related to the biblical literature; to use BibleWorks' recent version in the exegetical process.

General competences

The student is able to analyse and interpret complex texts in foreign languages; to use new technology in analysing ancient texts.

Course structure

  1. Introduction to Old Testament exegesis. Exegetical methods and steps

    Reading:

    • Steck, Odil Hannes: Exegese des Alten Testaments. Leitfaden der Methodik. Ein Arbeitsbuch für Proseminare, Seminare und Vorlesungen, 1-25 (25)
    • Talstra, Eep: Oude en nieuwe lezers. Een inleiding in de methoden van uitleg van het Oude Testament, 91-111 (21)
    • Barton, John: Reading the Old Testament. Method in Biblical Study, 1-7 (7)
  2. The history of the Hebrew Text of the Old Testament. Hebrew manuscripts and codices. The Massoretic Text

    Reading:

    • Kustár Zoltán: A héber ószövetség szövege - A masszoréta szöveghagyományozás és annak megjelenítése a Biblia Hebraicában, 27-82 () 83-101 () 235-345 ()
    • Tov, Emanuel: Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, 21-121 ()
    • Würthwein, Ernst: Der Text des Alten Testaments. Eine Einführung in die Biblica Hebraica, 13-56 ()
    • Groom, Sue: Linguistic Analysis of Biblical Hebrew, 16-27 ()
    • Brotzman, Ellis R.: Old Testament Textual Criticism. A Practical Introduction
  3. The ancient translations of the Old Testament and their importance for the exegesis

    Reading:

    • Tov, Emanuel: Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, 121-154 ()
    • Würthwein, Ernst: Der Text des Alten Testaments. Eine Einführung in die Biblica Hebraica, 57-115 ()
    • Groom, Sue: Linguistic Analysis of Biblical Hebrew, 72-101 ()
    • Brotzman, Ellis R.: Old Testament Textual Criticism. A Practical Introduction, 63-86 ()
  4. Textual criticism. The critical apparatus of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia

    Reading:

    • Tov, Emanuel: Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, 287-370 ()
    • Würthwein, Ernst: Der Text des Alten Testaments. Eine Einführung in die Biblica Hebraica, 116-132 ()
    • Steck, Odil Hannes: Exegese des Alten Testaments. Leitfaden der Methodik. Ein Arbeitsbuch für Proseminare, Seminare und Vorlesungen, 37-44 ()
    • Brotzman, Ellis R.: Old Testament Textual Criticism. A Practical Introduction, 97-132 ()
  5. The grammatical and textual analysis of Old Testament pericopes

    Reading:

    • Groom, Sue: Linguistic Analysis of Biblical Hebrew, 103-174 ()
    • Talstra, Eep: Oude en nieuwe lezers. Een inleiding in de methoden van uitleg van het Oude Testament, 112-117 ()
    • Osborne, Grant R.: A hermeneutika spirálisa. Részletes bevezetés a bibliamagyarázathoz, 54-150 ()
  6. BibleWorks software and Old Testament exegesis

  7. Literary criticism and redaction criticism in the exegetical endeavour

    Reading:

    • Steck, Odil Hannes: Exegese des Alten Testaments. Leitfaden der Methodik. Ein Arbeitsbuch für Proseminare, Seminare und Vorlesungen, 45-61 () 75-96 ()
    • Barton, John: Reading the Old Testament. Method in Biblical Study, 20-29 () 45-60 ()
  8. Form and genre analysis in the exegetical endeavour

    Reading:

    • Osborne, Grant R.: A hermeneutika spirálisa. Részletes bevezetés a bibliamagyarázathoz, 179-273 ()
    • Barton, John: Reading the Old Testament. Method in Biblical Study, 30-44 ()
    • Steck, Odil Hannes: Exegese des Alten Testaments. Leitfaden der Methodik. Ein Arbeitsbuch für Proseminare, Seminare und Vorlesungen, 96-123 ()
  9. Biblical-theological analysis

    Reading:

    • Osborne, Grant R.: A hermeneutika spirálisa. Részletes bevezetés a bibliamagyarázathoz, 305-331 ()
    • Steck, Odil Hannes: Exegese des Alten Testaments. Leitfaden der Methodik. Ein Arbeitsbuch für Proseminare, Seminare und Vorlesungen, 124-147 ()
  10. The importance of the historical and archaeological background in textual analysis

    Reading:

    • Osborne, Grant R.: A hermeneutika spirálisa. Részletes bevezetés a bibliamagyarázathoz, 151-178 ()
    • Steck, Odil Hannes: Exegese des Alten Testaments. Leitfaden der Methodik. Ein Arbeitsbuch für Proseminare, Seminare und Vorlesungen, 148-156 ()
  11. Making use of secondary literature. Commentaries, word studies, dictionaries, monographs, specialistic studies

    Reading:

    • Steck, Odil Hannes: Exegese des Alten Testaments. Leitfaden der Methodik. Ein Arbeitsbuch für Proseminare, Seminare und Vorlesungen, 26-36 ()
  12. Presenting exegesis through a concrete example (1)

  13. Presenting exegesis through a concrete example (2)

  14. Important aspects in preparing the exegetical paper

Total estimated time

Classroom study

  • 2 hours/week (Course: 1 | Seminar: 1 | Practice: 0)
  • 28 hours/semester (Course: 14 | Seminar: 14 | Practice: 0)

Individual study

  • Time for studying course notes and bibliography: 14 hours/semester.
  • Time for further documentation in libraries, electronic platforms, or on the field: 14 hours/semester.
  • Time for preparing essays, papers, or documentation: 40 hours/semester.
  • Time for personal tutoring: 2 hours/semester.
  • Total individual study: 70 hours/semester.
  • Total estimated time: 98 hours/semester.

Examination

The student is required to deliver a written exegetical paper about a concrete biblical pericope (the pericope should be approved by the teacher). The paper contains the detailed exegetical analysis presenting the methods and steps discussed during the lectures. The length of the paper should be between 4000-5000 words.

Bibliography

Book