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Former Prophets

OT421/OT621 (English)

WORKLOAD: One semester in extensive mode, 4 credit points (preparation required for MDiv and BTh/BMin)
Status: Electives
PRE-REQUISITES: 16 credit points of core foundation units which include OT501 and OT502
WHEN: Usually every odd numbered year, first semester (2013, 2015)
LECTURER: Lindsay Wilson

Spanning the books of Joshua, Judges, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings, this unit looks at the historical narratives of the Old Testament, charting Israel’s history from the conquest of Canaan to the destruction of Jerusalem. Despite being predominantly historical narratives, the Hebrew people considered these books the beginning of the book of Prophets because of the number of prophetic figures featured in these stories guiding and interpreting Israel’s history. Samuel, Nathan, Elijah and Elisha are just a few of the prophets whose ministry was brought to bear on the people of God at this time. This unit gives students the opportunity to consider the role of the prophet, the theological message of these narratives and develop their exegetical skills in the text.

Content

a. The theology of the Former Prophets, with special reference to the books of Samuel, and Kings.
b. Exegesis of English text of 1 Samuel 8-12; 2 Samuel 5-7; 1 Kings 3-4; 9:1-11:13; 17-19.

Assessment

OT421 (English text option)

1. Thematic Essay

Write a 2000 word thematic essay (40%) on one of the following topics:

  • What is the function of the so-called ‘Ark Narrative’ (1 Samuel 4-6; 2 Samuel 6) in the books of Samuel?
  • How can we best reconcile the various perspectives on kingship found in 1 Samuel 8-12?
  • To what extent was God’s rejection of Saul justified?
  • Given David’s murky actions, how can he be regarded as ‘a man after God’s own heart’?

2. Exegetical Essay

The second assessment will take the form of a 3000 word exegetical essay (60%).  The aim of this essay is to utilize exegetical skills developed in the unit to articulate the message of the passage. More details will be provided in-class.  Passages will be chosen from the set texts in 1 Kings, and will be allocated in class (depending on the number of students).

OT621 (English text option)

1. Thematic Essay

Write a 3000 word thematic essay (50%) on one of the following topics:

  • ‘The book of Joshua is about God’s kingship over his people.’ Evaluate this view with reference to all parts of the book.
  • How should a Christian reader of the book of Joshua interpret and assess its descriptions of Yahweh war?
  • ‘In the end, Samson is neither a hero nor a failure.’ How does the book of Judges portray Samson, and how does his story affect the message of the book as a whole?
  • What is the literary and theological role of Judges 17-21 in the book as a whole?
  • ‘The purpose of the book of Ruth is so complex that you cannot make sense of it.’ Critically evaluate this view.

2. Exegetical Essay

The second assessment will take the form of a 3000 word exegetical essay (50%).  The aim of this essay is to utilize exegetical skills developed in the unit to articulate the message of the passage. More details will be provided in-class.  Passages will be chosen from the set texts in 1 Kings, and will be allocated in class (depending on the number of students).

25% MDiv Requirement

To fulfil the 25% requirement of material separate from Bachelors level students, each MDiv student will be assigned to read, summarise (about 1000 words) and present to the class, the approach and insights of a literary study. This will be formative but not summative assessment, and will contribute to our programme on the middle weekend.

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