Old Testament History and Narrative

Old Testament History and Narrative

THL202 (Bachelor of Theology) is being taught at United Theological College in 2017 Session 2 by Anthony Rees.

This subject focuses on Old Testament narratives from Joshua to 2 Chronicles, which relate ancient Israel’s story of origins from settlement in Canaan to the Babylonian exile in 587 BCE. It examines key figures and defining events, with due consideration given to extra-biblical sources and archaeological evidence. The subject investigates the functions of narrative in the writing and rewriting of Israelite history and also explores ethical issues arising from these narratives. Attention is given to the accounts of conquest and settlement, the centralisation of Israel under the monarchy, the division of the kingdom, exile to Babylon and historical interpretation in the work of the Chronicler and in later Jewish and Christian texts.

Call UTC to enrol for courses in 2017.
Phone 02 8838 8914
Office Hours: 9 am – 5 pm (Mon – Fri)

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:

  • be able to discuss in a critical way issues relating to history and narrative in the Old Testament
  • be able to identify and to analyse critically biblical narrative, including its role, functions and ethical implications
  • be able to identify major periods in Israel’s history and their defining events
  • be able to demonstrate an understanding of the role of archaeology, historiography and textual witness in reconstructing ancient Israelite history
  • be able to demonstrate familiarity with the distinctive characteristics of the Deuteronomistic account
  • be able to discuss critically the main features of the Chronicler’s interpretation of Israel’s history
  • be able to demonstrate familiarity with aspects of the reception history of Old Testament narratives in later Jewish and Christian texts
  • be able to demonstrate developing competence in the exegesis and interpretation of biblical texts
  • demonstrate self-guided learning, including research, writing and communication skills


The subject will cover the following topics:

  • The relation between biblical narrative and Israelite history
  • The significance of archaeology, historiography and textual witness in the study of Israelite history
  • Narratives of Israelite conquest (Joshua)
  • Israelite society before the rise of kings (Judges and Ruth)
  • Samuel, Saul, David and Solomon (1 & 2 Samuel, 1 Kings)
  • The rival kingdoms of Israel and Judah (1 & 2 Kings)
  • Exile and dispersion (2 Kings and Esther)
  • Attention to the reception history of Joshua to 2 Kings, including revision by the Chronicler and use in later Jewish and Christian texts
  • Exegesis and interpretation of biblical narratives
  • The role and functions of biblical narrative: historical, ideological and aesthetic
  • Theological and ethical issues arising from the study of biblical narratives