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No Christian theology programme is possible without constant reference to its great source, the Scriptures ; and any introduction to theology will require not just a knowledge of the basic texts of scripture, but also of the people and their story which fashioned these foundational texts.

This module begins – like the Bible itself – with the Book of Genesis.



- The opening unit embarks on a detailed study of the Book of Genesis, chapters 1-11, a series of texts which, it argues, are seminal to an understanding of all subsequent pages of the Bible.

 - Unit Two paints the historical and geographical backdrop against which the great dramas of the Bible are played out.

- Unit Three commences the examination of further core books of the Hebrew Bible, the Pentateuch.

- Unit Four focuses on the changes which took place in Jewish thought at the time of the Exile to Babylon, and the way in which biblical writers reflected that change in the books of the Deuteronomistic History.

  - Unit Five looks at the role and significance of biblical prophecy, seeing in this type of writing some great theological breakthroughs.


- Unit Six begins by putting the New Testament into its historical and social context. It then analyses the contribution of the gospels and other New Testament writings to the development of early Christian belief.

- The final part of the module begins with an overview of the history of the Bible as a literary artefact, and invites the student to stand back and analyse the methodologies which have been adopted by the writers and the interpreters of the biblical text. These are the critical tools which have been developed by scripture scholars over centuries.


The study of the Bible is, for many scripture scholars and individual Christians, a lifetime work. An introductory module such as this does not make a beginner into an expert ! On the other hand, the student should not be daunted by the scale of the task. Later modules in this distance learning programme will build on what has been started here, providing further opportunities for detailed examination of selected texts.

This module gives an overview – a kind of A to Z of Scripture – allowing the student :

-*a) to see how the Bible is not just a single book but an entire library of books ;

-*b) to understand how these books have been put together, and how they have arrived on our bookshelves in their present form ;

  -*c) to understand the critical tools necessary to approach any biblical text which at first sight may seem obscure and difficult to understand ;

  -*d) to gain enough historical and social background to place these biblical texts within the contexts in which they were written ;

 -*e) to recognise how, where and why the most fundamental questions of human life and destiny are being approached ;

-*f) to see how theological understanding developed over the historical period during which the biblical writings were composed and assembled.