Scribes, Apostles and Sages: Early Jewish Biblical Exegesis (THE2163)

StaffProfessor Siam Bhayro - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level6
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

Linked themes, such as scribal activity, fallen angels and apostasy, will be considered at each stage, thus providing a combination of a chronological and thematic treatment of the various corpora.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. describe and understand the context of each successive stage of exegesis;
  • 2. demonstrate an understanding of the exegetical methods used at each stage;
  • 3. identify elements of change and continuity between each stage;
  • 4. appreciate how scripture as sacred text was used at each stage;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. demonstrate, with limited guidance, detailed comprehension of and engagement with the richness of successive Jewish corpora in its varied forms;
  • 6. discuss and demonstrate detailed comprehension, with limited guidance, of the sources of classical Judaism;
  • 7. demonstrate detailed understanding of the multi-faceted complexity of successive stages of Jewish exegesis, and in particular the relationship between the various corpora and the biblical text and the corpora themselves;
  • 8. evaluate and analyze, with limited guidance, a diversity of primary and secondary sources

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 9. undertake guided work within broad guidelines;
  • 10. shape detailed information into a coherent account, with some guidance;
  • 11. demonstrate consistency and rigour in method and argument;
  • 12. make thorough use of selected written sources, with some guidance;
  • 13. communicate clearly in writing;
  • 14. participate appropriately in a learning group;

Syllabus plan

Week 1 Early Jewish Corpora from Bible to Talmud
Week 2 Ancient near eastern and Biblical scribes (e.g. Jeremiah and Baruch)
Week 3 Inner-Biblical Exegesis
Week 4 Pseudepigrapha (e.g. 1 Enoch and Jubilees)
Week 5 Dead Sea Scrolls - Pesharim (e.g. Pesher Habakkuk)
Week 6 Dead Sea Scrolls - Rewritten Bible (e.g. Genesis Apocryphon)
Week 7 Apocrypha (e.g. Baruch and Tobit)
Week 8 New Testament (e.g. Matthew, James, 2 Peter & Jude)
Week 9 Targum & The Rise of the Sages
Week 10 Midrash (e.g. Genesis Rabbah and Pesiqta of R. Kahana) & The Rabbinic Corpora
Week 11 Mishnah & Talmud

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Learning and teaching2211 x 2 hour classes
Guided independent study128Private Study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Formative: preparatory reading for each classone chapter per class 11-12

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay5030001-13Mark and written comments
Essay5030001-13Mark and written comments

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-13Refer/Defer period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

M. Fishbane, Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985)
I. Jacobs, The Midrashic Process: Tradition and Interpretation in Rabbinic Judaism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995)
T.H. Lim, Pesharim (London: Sheffield Academic Press, 2002)
L. Moscovitz, Talmudic Reasoning: From Casuistics to Conceptualization (Tïbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2002)
A. Samely, Rabbinic Interpretation of Scripture in the Mishnah (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002)
G. Stemberger, Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash (second edition, trans. and ed. by M. Bockmuehl; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1996)
J.C. VanderKam, An Introduction to Early Judaism (Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2001)

Module has an active ELE page?


Available as distance learning?


Last revision date