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Department of Theology, Reinbolt Hall, One Camino Santa Maria, San Antonio, TX 78228

TH3310A-B, The Hebrew Bible and Old Testament

Fall 2021, Reinbolt 206, Tuesdays and Thursdays 8:20–9:35am (Section A) and 9:45–11:00am (Section B)
Instructor: Dr. Todd Hanneken,,, Reinbolt 303a, 210-431-8050
Office hours Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:00–1:00 and by appointment in Zoom and Reinbolt 303a.

Course Description

The course will survey the historical contexts, literature, debates, and ideas of the Hebrew Bible, which became the Christian Old Testament. Special attention will be paid to the variety of methods of interpretation applied to the texts, including historical-critical (modern), traditional theological (pre-modern), and contemporary-critical (post-modern) methods.

Required Texts


By the end of the course the student should be able to:

Activities and Responsibilities

Social responsibility: Responsibility to the common good supersedes all other responsibilities associated with this course. The course never requires you to endanger others by violating health guidelines from the University. Willful violation of health guidelines indicates a failure to understand the core concept of responsibility to the common good and can result in a failing grade, in addition to disciplinary action by the University.

Attendance and Engagement: Students are expected to attend every class on time and be prepared to participate. Engagement includes paying attention, asking questions, answering questions, contributing to discussion, and generally making an effort to participate in the course. Paying attention to other tasks is incompatible with engaging with the course. You are responsible for not distracting others. If you need to respond to an emergency call or text message it is less distracting to leave the classroom and return when you are able to fully engage. There is no subjective measure of participation in the grade because engagement with the course, in preparation and in the classroom, correlates strongly with performance on quizzes and exams.

Quizzes: There will be regular quizzes to gauge comprehension, analysis, and retention of readings and lectures. There is emphasis on learning from your mistakes, so there will be opportunities to answer questions again (or modified versions). Whenever you don’t know something, go back to your notes or the reading to identify what you misunderstood and how to avoid making a similar mistake again. The typical quiz will have five questions that are multiple-choice or very short answer. The five questions will consist of one review from the previous quiz (so learn from your mistakes), one from the reading, and three from the lecture. Quizzes can be rescheduled if missing the regular time is unavoidable and the quiz is rescheduled as soon as possible. For planned absences this generally means taking the quiz in advance. In most circumstances, once the graded quizzes are returned the following class, it is too late to reschedule the quiz.

Exams: The midterm and final exams will be cumulative and will focus on retention, comprehension, and synthesis of points from the quizzes.

Extra Credit: Students are encouraged to engage with current events related to the course. Extra credit will be given for up to three such engagements. Four opportunities will be suggested by the instructor. Proposed alternative opportunities may be approved if they are sufficiently academic and theological.


120 points (34%) quizzes (five points each, highest 24 counted)

90 points (26%) midterm exam (45 questions, two points each)

140 points (40%) final exam (70 questions, two points each)

20 points (6%) maximum extra credit


The University is working to articulate and live up to its mission as a force against racial injustice and repent of its acts of racial injustice. Something like the following should appear or start appearing on all syllabi at St. Mary’s:

St. Mary’s University embodies the Marianist spirit of educating the heart and mind. The University draws on the example of Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, founder of the Society of Mary, to create an environment that lets students thrive and where diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential. The intersectionality of our diverse experiences and characteristics are valued in all spaces within our community. Thus, I am committed to building an inclusive learning environment that values the individual experiences of every student in this course and where each has an opportunity to learn, engage in dialogue, question, and contribute to their fullest potential.

This course fully endorses this general way of putting it. Specifically, one of the fundamental goals of the course is to be able to understand multiple perspectives. The Bible sounds different to different people in different historical, cultural, and personal experiential contexts. Diversity of context and perspective in the classroom is a valued asset that helps everyone grow in the central skills of this course and the liberal arts in general.

What follows until the schedule should be standard for all your classes at St. Mary’s.

University Policies

All university policies apply to this course, including the following.

Grading Scale

FBelow 60

Academic Policies and Procedures

This course adheres to St. Mary’s University’s academic policies and procedures.
This course adheres to the policies for academic dishonesty and misconduct, as described in the Student Code of Conduct (see especially section V).

St. Mary’s University is committed to providing a safe, equitable, and fair environment where students can pursue academic excellence. Policies and procedures have been developed to foster and sustain such an environment and apply to all courses offered at the university. Students need to be aware of these policies and procedures, which can be found at

Please become familiar with these important policies and procedures, which include:

Disability Statement

In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act, Student Accessibility Services is the designated office responsible for coordinating all accommodations and services for students with disabilities at St. Mary’s University. St. Mary’s University supports equal access of qualifying individuals with documented disabilities to all educational opportunities, programs, services and activities. If you have a documented disability, or a condition which may impact your performance and want to request disability-related accommodations, you must first register with the Office of Student Accessibility Services, located in the Student Counseling Center (in the Center for Life Directions Building) in room 139. Please stop by the Student Accessibility Services Office, call 210-431-5080 or email to set up an appointment to meet with the Student Accessibility Services staff.

Study Days and Final Exams

This course adheres to the policies for study days and final exams. Namely, there will be two study days (December 1 and 2) during which students prepare for final exams. No classes will be scheduled on study days; optional review sessions can be held. The final exam schedule can be found at .

Fall 2021 Attendance Policy

Current Face Mask Policy

Until further notice by the university, face masks are required in classrooms, including labs and other indoor spaces used for instruction, unless a student presents a Letter of Accommodation issued by the Office of Student Accessibility Services. To support proper masking, eating and drinking are prohibited in all classrooms. Students who fail to comply with these requirements must exit the classroom at the request of the instructor and may be subject to university discipline and penalties, which may possibly include withdrawal from the course without a refund. Students may contact the Dean of Students Office with questions and concerns. Please refer to the university’s Coronavirus webpage for information on masks and other updates.


August 17, 2021 – Introductions, Premodern Interpretation

August 19, 2021 – Modern and Postmodern Interpretation

August 24, 2021 – Views of Scripture

August 26, 2021 – The Documentary Hypothesis

August 31, 2021 – Etiology

September 2, 2021 – Premodern Interpretation of Genesis 1–6

September 7, 2021 – Abraham and Family

September 9, 2021 – Hagar and Isaac

September 14, 2021 – Moses and the Exodus

September 16, 2021 – Historical Critical Read of the Reed Sea

September 21, 2021 – Decalogue and Laws

September 23, 2021 – No Class Meeting

September 28, 2021 – Priesthood and Priestly Source

September 30, 2021 – Deuteronomy

Saturday, October 2, 2021 – Extra Credit Opportunity

October 5, 2021 – Joshua, Conquest

October 7, 2021 – Midterm Exam


October 12, 2021 – Judges

October 14, 2021 – Trible on the Woman from Bethlehem

October 19, 2021 – Kings

October 21, 2021 – Davidic Literature

October 26, 2021 – Solomonic Literature

October 28, 2021 – Elijah and Prophecy in General

November 2, 2021 – Amos, Hosea, Isaiah

November 4, 2021 – Jeremiah

November 9, 2021 – Ezekiel

November 11, 2021 – Second Isaiah

November 16, 2021 – Third Isaiah and Daniel

November 18, 2021 – Job and Qoheleth (Ecclesiastes)

Evening of November 18, 2021 – Escobedo Lecture

November 23, 2021 – To Be Announced

November 25, 2021 – Thanksgiving (No Class Meeting)

November 30, 2021 – Synthesis and review

December 2, 2021 – Study Days (No Class Meeting)

At the day and time announced by the registrar – Final Exam

Updated 8/15/2021 (classroom correction 8/17/2021)