University of Sydney Handbooks - 2021 Archive

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Biblical Studies and Classical Hebrew

About the major

In the Biblical Studies and Classical Hebrew major, you will learn how to read the Bible, both the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the New Testament, in a more informed way, exploring narrative, law, poetic, wisdom, prophetic, apocalyptic, gospel, and epistle texts.

Junior Biblical Studies units deal with the biblical text in English and teach the methods needed in order to understand what biblical books were trying to communicate in their ancient setting. Senior units build on these skills with the English text and introduce you to the methods necessary to understand each distinctive type of biblical literature. As part of the major, you are encouraged to take courses in Classical Hebrew that will enable you to read and understand the scriptures in their original language. The language courses expose our students to the multiple levels of pre-Modern Hebrew, from the Bible through to the Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient inscriptions, and the writings of the sages and medieval commentaries on the Bible.

Students who choose to learn Classical Hebrew acquire skills for advanced research on the Bible, required for postgraduate study.

Whatever combination of units you choose, by the end of the major, you will have mastered skills for better understanding the biblical texts in their ancient historical, literary, and cultural context.

Requirements for completion

The Biblical Studies and Classical Hebrew major and minor requirements are listed in the Biblical Studies and Classical Hebrew unit of study table.

Learning outcomes
No. Learning outcome
1 Demonstrate an extensive knowledge of the major literary, historical, ideological and linguistic issues relating to the Bible.
2 Demonstrate familiarity with the major theoretical approaches in the fields of Biblical Studies and Classical Hebrew.
3 Use online resources and electronic databases as tools to deepen understanding of questions relating to the Bible.
4 Demonstrate an understanding of Biblical texts in their ancient context.
5 Construct and defend valid arguments employing a range of forms of evidence from the Biblical text alongside other literary, epigraphic and archaeological evidence.
6 Effectively apply knowledge of Biblical Studies to issues encountered in an interdisciplinary context.
7 Apply appropriate professional and ethical standards to academic research and inquiry in Biblical Studies.
Advanced coursework

The Bachelor of Advanced Studies in the School of Language and Cultures (SLC) prepares students to actively engage in the complex and culturally diverse contemporary world.

Students will utilise linguistic and methodological skills developed in their previous studies to develop their knowledge on institutions, practices and ideas that permeate different cultures in the local and global context. They will be offered opportunities to participate in projects on translation, acculturation and self-reflexivity and to examine textual and social real-world problems related to topics which include translation, migration studies, cultural diversity and social integration.

Requirements and units of study for advanced coursework can be found on the Biblical Studies and Classical Hebrew advanced coursework units of study page.


A high proportion of students who major in Biblical Studies and Classical Hebrew continue to an honours year.

The honours program allows students in Biblical Studies and Classical Hebrew to undertake advanced seminars on biblical compositions and themes, and write a research thesis on a topic of their choice.

Honours admission requirements

Admission to honours is via the Bachelor of Advanced Studies and requires the completion of a major in Biblical Studies and Classical Hebrew with an average of 70% or above, normally including at least two Classical Hebrew units of study.

Prior to commencing honours, you will need to ensure you have completed all other requirements of the Bachelor of Arts or other bachelor degree, including Open Learning Environment (OLE) units and a second major.

Requirements and units of study for honours can be found on the Biblical Studies and Classical Hebrew honours units of study page.

Contacts and further information

More information and current contact details for academic coordinators can be found at: Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies