RGB1005H online- INTRODUCTION TO THE OLD TESTAMENT -- M. Kolarcik  January-April, 2018

This introductory course explores the thematic unity of the Old Testament under the heading of Covenantal Theology. Significant covenantal moments in the Bible are studied in their historical settings and context, cultic realizations, and literary expressions (Abram, Sinai, David/Zion, Prophecy, Exile, Deuteronomistic texts, Priestly texts - Creation / Noah / Abraham, Wisdom, Covenant in the New Testament). Literary and  rhetorical analysis, historical and textual criticism are employed as means of exploring the biblical texts. Assignments:  readings, five short study papers, on-line discussions on questions and two sets of terms to define as presented in the materials of the syllabus.

BOADT, Lawrence. Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction. Second edition, revised and updated by Richard Clifford and Daniel Harrington. New York: Paulist Press, 2012.
COLLINS, John J.  Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (with CDRom).
Minneapolis: Fortress, 2004.
Check for these two books at Crux Book Store,
located at Wycliffe College, or you can easily order them from amazon.ca if you are off campus. I suggest you acquire at least one of these introductions and consult the other books through the libraries of TST and Robarts. For a solid understanding of historical events in Israel in relation to the biblical tradition, I highly recommend John Bright, A History of Israel).  I am afraid I heard that Crux Book Store may close. The UofT Bookstore is taking the orders for textbooks for TST. 

Recommended texts :

ANDERSON, Bernard W., Steven BISHOP, Judith H. NEWMAN. Understanding the Old Testament. 5th edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall:  2007.

ANDERSON,  Bernhard W. Contours of Old Testament Theology. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1999.

BRIGHT, John. A History of Israel. 4th edition. Philadelphia: Westminster, 2001.  

CAMPBELL, Antony, F., Mark A. O’BRIEN. Rethinking the Pentateuch: Prolegomena to the Theology of Ancient Israel. Louisville, KE: Westminster John Knox,  2005.

CERESKO, Anthony. An Introduction to the Old Testament: A Liberation Perspective. Updated and Revised.  First edition, 1992. New York: Orbis, Maryknoll, 2001.

HAHN, Scott W. Kinship by Covenant: A Canonical Approach to the Fulfillment of God's Saving Promises. The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library. New Haven: Yale University, 2009.

LEVENSON, Jon.  Sinai and Zion: an Entry into the Jewish Bible. San Fransisco: Harper & Row, 1987.

Goals -Outcomes  :   With the successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
a) define key terms in the field of Old Testament and biblical studies;  assessment:  collaborative or individual work in definition of terms
b)  present an overview of covenantal theologies in their historical context; assessment:  study papers,  online discussion
c) appreciate and articulate the literary structure of important covenantal passages;
assessment: study papers
d) collaborate with other students in grasping questions and formulating responses;
assessment: collaborative work in definition of terms and online discussion
e) apply literary and rhetorical analysis to a biblical text
assessment: study papers, online discussion

Questions for study based on lecture material (in alphabetical characters) and on reading assignments (in numerical characters) The specific questions are found in the Course Materials.

Answer one question in three pages, double-spaced, font-timesroman-12 point.

<>All of the assignments are due to be sent by email through blackboard on the Saturday of the week. Note that grading will be done on the top four assignments. So, this means you have the choice of  not submitting  a particular assignment.  I suggest you do all of them, and if you find you need the time  for other assignments in other courses, you could drop the final assignment.

First Assignment Due Sat January 27th

Second Assignment Due Sat February 17th

Third Assignment Due Sat March 3rd

Definitions of terms (1st section) to be submittted Sat March 10th.

Fourth Assignment Due Sat March 17th

Definitions of terms (2nd section) to be submitted March 24th 

Fifth Assignment  Due April 14th (Saturday of Exam week)

For reading assignments and tasks for each lecture go to the Course Materials file under Content on Blackboard/portal

  Course and Reading Materials listed for Weekly study

For Guidance on Writing Style and specifically for referencing your work follow

Turabian  (An Adaptation for Biblical essays from  the University of Toronto Writing Manual)



ADAM, A.K.M. ed. Postmodern Interpretations of the Bible: A Reader. St. Louis, Missouri: Chalice, 2001.

ADAM, A.K.M. ed Handbook of Postmodern Biblical Interpretation. St. Louis, Missouri: Chalice, 2000.

ALTER, R. and F. KERMADE, eds. The Literary Guide to the Bible, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1987. (Reference Shelf BS 535 L54)

BACH, A. ed. Women in the Hebrew Bible: A Reader. New York: Routledge, 1999.

BARR, J. The Concept of Biblical Theology: An Old Testament Perspective. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1999.

BRUEGGEMANN, W. Theology of the Old Testament: Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1997.

CHILDS, B.S. Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993.

CHILDS, B.S. Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979.

EISSFELDT, O. The Old Testament: An Introduction. Translated by Peter R. Ackroyd.  London: Blackwell,1974.

FRYE, N. The Great Code: the Bible and Literature. Toronto: Academic, 1982.

GOTTWALD, N.K. The Hebrew Bible:  A Social-Literary Introduction.  Philadelphia : Fortress Press, 1985.

GOTTWALD, N.K. The Tribes of Yahweh. Maryknoll, N.Y. : Orbis Books, 1979.  

KIM, Wonil and others, eds., Reading the Hebrew Bible for a New Millennium: Form, Concept, and Theological Perspective, Studies in Antiquity & Christianity. Vol 1: Theological and Hermeneutical Studies, Vol 2: Exegetical and Theological Studies,  Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press Internation, 2000.

LOHFINK, N. Theology of the Pentateuch: Themes of the Priestly Narrative and Deuteronomy. Translated L.M. Maloney, Minneapolis: Fortress, 1994.

PILCH, J. Introducing the Cultural Context of the Old Testament. Vol. 1. New York: Paulist, 1991.

PRITCHARD, J.B. Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament. ANET 3rd edition with supplement.  Princeton:  Princeton University, 1963. (Reference)

von RAD, G.  Old Testament Theology.  Vol. I, II.  Translated D.M.G. London:  Stalker, 1975.

RENDTORFF, R. The Old Testament: An Introduction. Philadelphia, Fortress, 1986.

RICOEUR, P. "Philosophy and Religious Language.” JR 54 (1974) 71-85.

RICOEUR, P. "Philosophical Hermeneutics and Theological Hermeneutics.” Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 5 (1975) 14-33.

RICOEUR, P. "Creativity in Language.” Philosophy Today 17 (1973) 97-111.

RICOEUR, P. "Biblical Hermeneutics.” Semeia 4 (1975) 29-145.


AZELLES, H. "Covenant.” [Sacramentum Mundi, New York: 1975].

HILLERS, D.R. Covenant: The History of a Biblical Idea. Baltimore: 1969.

McCARTHY, D.J. Old Testament Covenant: A Survey of Current Opinions. Oxford: Blackwell, 1972.  

McKENZIE, J.L. "Aspects of Old Testment Thought.” [The New Jerome Biblical Commentary. eds., BROWN, FITZMYER, MURPHY, Prentice Hall, New Jersey: 1990, 1284-1315].

MENDENHALL, G.E. "Covenant.” [IDB. (Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible) vol. 1].

MENDENHALL, G.E and G.A. HERION. "Covenant.” The Anchor Bible Dictionary, I 1179-1202.

WEINFELD, M. "berith.” TDOT (Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament) Volume 2. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1977.


ADEYEMI, F. The New Covenant Torah in Jeremiah and the Law of Christ in Paul. New York: Peter Lang, 2006.

BALTZER, K.  The Covenant Formulary in the Old Testament. Translated D.E. Green. Philadelphia:  Fortress, 1971.

BRIGHT, J. Covenant and Promise: the prophetic understanding of the future in pre-exilic Israel. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1976.

BRUEGGEMANN, W. The Land: Place as Gift, Promise, and Challenge in the Biblical Faith. New York: Fortress,1977.

BRUEGGEMANN, W. David's Truth in Israel's Imagination and Memory. New York: Fortress, 1985. |bs 580 d3 b78

CLEMENTS, R.E. Prophecy and Covenant. SBT 43, London: SCM Press, 1965.

CLEMENTS, R.E. Abraham and David, Genesis 15 and its Meaning for Israelite Tradition. SBT 2:5, London:  SCM Press, 1967.

CLEMENTS, R.E. God's Chosen People: A Theological Interpretation of the Book of Deuteronomy. London: SCM Press,  1968.

CLIFFORD, R. Deuteronomy, with Excursus on Covenant and Law. Old Testament Message 5. Wilmington: Michael Glazier, 1982.

CRENSHAW, J.L. Story and Faith, a Guide to the Old Testament. New York: Macmillan, 1986.

CROSS, F.M. Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University, 1973.  (See especially "The Ideologies of Kingship in the Era of the Empire: Conditional Covenant and Eternal Decree.” 219-273).

Dumbrell, William J. Covenant and Creation : a theology of Old Testament covenants. Nashville : T. Nelson, 1984.

GUTHRIE, H. Israel's Sacred Songs: a study of dominant themes. New York:  Seabury, 1966.
HAHN, Scott W. Kinship by Covenant: A Canonical Approach to the Fulfillment of God's Saving Promises. The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library. New Haven: Yale University, 2009.

KALLUVEETTIL, P. Declaration and Covenant, A Comprehensive Review of Covenant Formulae from the Old Testament and the Ancient Near East.  Analecta Biblica 88. Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1982.

McCARTHY, D.J.  Treaty and Covenant: A Study in Form in the Ancient Oriental Documents and in the Old Testament. Analecta Biblica 21a. Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1978.

McCARTHY, D.J. Institution and Narrative: Collected Essays. Analecta Biblica 108. Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1985.

McCOMISKEY, T.E. The Covenants of Promise: a theology of Old Testament Covenants. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1985.

McEVENUE, S.E. The Narrative Style of the Priestly Writers. Analecta Biblica 50, Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1971.

MENDENHALL, G.E. Law and Covenant in Israel and the Ancient Near East. Pittsburg: Presbyterian Board of Colportage of Western Pennsylvania, 1955.

MENDENHALL, G.E. The Tenth Generation; the origins of the biblical tradition. Baltimore: John Hopkins University, 1973.

NEWMAN, Murray Lee. The People of the Covenant. New York: Abingdon, 1962.

NICHOLSON, Ernest W. God and his people : covenant and theology in the Old Testament. Oxford: Clarendon; New York : Oxford University, 1986.

NICHOLSON, Ernest W. Exodus and Sinai in History and Tradition. Oxford:  Clarendon, 1973.

ORLINSKI, H.M. The So-Called "Servant of the Lord" and Suffering Servant in 2nd Isaiah. VTSup 14 (1967). [Note the appendix, "A Light of Nations, A Covenant People,” 97-119].

Person, Raymond F. The Deuteronomic School : history, social setting, and literature. Atlanta, GA : Society of Biblical Literature, 2002.

PLASTARAS, J. Creation and Covenant. Milwaukee: Bruce, 1968.

POLZIN, R. Moses and the Deuteronomist.  New York:  Seabury, 1980.  

SCHMIDT, W.H. The Faith of the Old Testament. London: Basil Blackwell, 1983.

W. VOGELS, La Promesse Royale de Yahweh Préparatoire à L'Alliance. Ottawa:  Editions de l'Université Saint-Paul, 1970.

M. WEINFELD, Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic School, Oxford: Clarendon, 1972.

WHYBRAY, R.N. The Succession Narrative: A Study of 2 Samuel 9-29, 1 Kings 1 and 2. London:  SCM Press, 1968.

WRIGHT, C.J.H. God's People in God's Land, Family, Land and Property in the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990.


BRUEGGEMANN, W. "Amos 4:4-13 and Israel's Covenant Worship.” VT 15 (1965).

BUSS, M.J. "Covenant, Theme in Historical Perspective.” VT 16 (1966).

CAMBELL, A.I. "An Historical Prologue in a Seventh Century Treaty.” Bib 50 (1969).

EICHRODT, W. "Covenant and Law.” Interpretation 20 (1966).

FENSHAM, F.C. "Father and Son Terminology for Treaty and Covenant.” [Near Eastern Studies in Honor of W.F. Albright, ed. H. Goedicke, Baltimore: 1971].

FENSHAM, F.C. "Common Trends in Curses of the Near-Eastern Treaties and Kudurru-Inscriptions Compared with Maledictions of Amos and Isaiah.” ZAW 75 (1963).

FENSHAM, F.C. "Covenant, Promise and Expectation in the Bible.” TZ 23 (1967).

FENSHAM, F.C. "Malediction and Benediction in Ancient Near-Eastern Vassal Treaties and the Old Testament.” ZAW 74 (1962).

FITZMYER, J.A.  "The Aramaic Treaty from Sefire in the Museum of Beirut.” CBQ 20 (1958).

FREEDMAN, D.N.  "Divine Commitment and Human Obligation.” Interpretation 18 (1964).

GERSTENBERGER, E.  "Covenant and Commandment.” JBL 84 (1965).

HELD, M.  "Philological Notes on the Mari Covenant Rituals.” BASOR 200 (1970).

HEPPENSTALL, E.  "The Law and the Covenant of Sinai.” AndrewsUnivSeminarySt 2 (1964).

HILLERS, D.R.  "berit 'am, Emancipation of the People.” JBL 97 (1978).

JOTHANN, C.D.  "The Covenant and Covenant Making in the Pentateuch." BangaloreTheologicalForum 3 (1969).

KLINE, M.G.  "Law Covenant.” WestminThJ 27 (1964).

KLINE, M.G.  "Dynastic Covenant.” WestminThJ 27 (1964).

LEVENSON, J.D.  "The Davidic Covenant and its Modern Interpreters.” CBQ 41 (1979).

MARTIN-ACHARD, R.  "La nouvelle alliance selon Jérémie.” RThPh 3:12 (1962); also in [Questions disputées... see D.J. McCarthy]

MARTIN-ACHARD, R. "La signification de l'alliance dans l'Ancien Testament d'après quelques travaux récents.” RThPh 3:18 (1969).

MAYES, A.D.H.  "The Covenant on Sinai and the Covenant with David.” Hermathena 110 (1970).

MAYES, A.D.H.  "King and Covenant, a study of 1K 22-23.” Hermathena 124 (1978).

McCARTHY, D.J.  "berit and Covenant in the Deuteronomistic History.” [Studies in the Religion and History of Ancient Israel. VT 23 (1972)].

McCARTHY, D.J.  "berit in Old Testament History and Theology.” Bib 53 (1972).

McCARTHY, D.J.  "2Sam 7 and the Structure of the Deuteronomistic History.” JBL 84 (1965).

McCARTHY, D.J.  "Covenant Relationships.” [Questions disputées d'Ancien Testament, BETL 33, ed. C.H.W. Brekelmans, Leuven-Gembloux: 1974].

McCARTHY, D.J.  "Prophets and Covenantal Community.” Jeevadhara 11 (1981).

McCARTHY, D.J.  "Moses' Dealings with Pharaoh.” CBQ 27 (1965).

McCARTHY, D.J.  "Notes on the Love of God in Deuteronomy and the Father-Son Relationship between Yahweh and Israel.” CBQ 27 (1972) 144-147.

McKAY, J.W.  "Man's Love for God in Deuteronomy and the Father/Teacher -- Son/Pupil Relationship.” VT 22 (1972) 426-435.

McKENZIE, J.L.  "The Dynastic Oracle: 2 Sam 7.” ThSt 8 (1947) 187-218.

McKENZIE, S.L and H.N. WALLACE.  "Covenant Themes in Malachi.” CBQ 45:4 (1983).

MORAN, W.L.  "The Ancient Near Eastern Background of the Love of God in Deuteronomy.” CBQ 24 (1963).

MOST, W.  "A Biblical Theology of Redemption in a Covenantal Framework.” CBQ 29 (1959).

MUILENBURG, J.  "The Form and Structure of the Covenantal Formulations.” VT 9 (1959).

NICHOLSON, E.W.  "The Covenant Ritual in Ex 24:3-8.” VT 32 (1982).

NICHOLSON, E.W.  "The Tradition in Exodus 24:9-11.” VT 26 (1976).

NICHOLSON, E.W.  "The Interpretation of Exodus 24:9-11.” VT 24 (1974).

O'DOHERTY, E.  "The Organic Development of Messianic Revelation.” CBQ 19 (1957) 16-24.

PRUSSNER, F.C.  "The Covenant of David and the Problem of the Unity in Old Testament Theology.” [Transitions in Biblical Scholarship, ed. J.C. Rylaarsdam, Chicago: 1968].

QUELL, G.  "diatheke, The Old Testament term berit.” Theological Dictionary of the Bible.

RIEMANN, P.A.  "Covenant, Mosaic.” [IDB, suppl. vol, Nashville: 1976].

SWETNAM, J.  "Why was Jeremiah's new covenant new?.” [Studies on Prophecy, VTSup 26 (1974)].

SWETNAM, J.  "Diatheke in the Septuagint account of Sinai: A Suggestion.” Bib 47 (1966).

TSEVAT, M.  "The House of David in Nathan's Prophecy.” Bib 46 (1965).

TSEVAT, M.  "The Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian Vassal Oaths and the Prophet Ezekiel.” JBL 78 (1959).

WEINFELD, M.  "berith - Covenant vs Obligation.” Bib 56 (1975).

WEINFELD, M.  "Deuteronomy and the Present State of Inquiry.” JBL 86 (1967).

WEINFELD, M.  "Jeremiah and the Spiritual Metamorphis of Israel.” ZAW 88 (1976).

WHITLEY, C.F.  "Covenant and Commandment in Israel.” JNES 22 (1963).

WIJNGAARDS, J.  "Death and Resurrection in Covenantal Contexts (Hosea 6:2).” VT 17 (1967).





Five short essays (three-page, double-spaced, timesroman12 point, 1 inch margins) on selected questions arising from reading materials and class notes
  (due on Jan 27, Feb 17, Mar 3, Mar 17,  Apr 14).

Two sets of definitions of terms employed in Old Testament studies (to be done in groups of two or three, or alone if group work is not possible).
  First set is due on March 10th. 
Second set is due on March 24th.

The five papers will constitute 80%;
the two sets of definitions 10% and online activity will constitute the final 10% of your grade. (I will take the average of your four best papers, which means you are ultimately responsible for four papers, but I suggest you do all five.)

[I was not able to generate significant online activity in this course. As a result the two sets of definitions will constitute 20% of the final grade instead of 10%. - mfk 2018-04-28.]

All the best  -  
Michael Kolarcik, S.J.