Introduction to the Bible : Old Testament

lreli1110  2020-2021  Louvain-la-Neuve

Introduction to the Bible : Old Testament
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information below is subject to change, in particular that concerning the teaching mode (presential, distance or in a comodal or hybrid format).
5 credits
30.0 h
Richelle Matthieu;
Main themes
This course is divided into two parts, or rather, solicits alternately two complementary approaches: 1) exposure of prolegomena and provision of some "keys" to enter into the Old Testament; 2) reading of texts (of bigger collections/sets rather than precise pericopes) of the Old Testament.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 - to situate the essential benchmarks of the Old Testament within its geographical and historical framework;
2 - to describe the background of the narrative books of the Old Testament;
3 - to describe the major characteristics of the prophetic and wisdom literature of the Old Testament.
This course does not aim to present each of the (numerous) books that compose the Old Testament ; it would be fastidious and could not be done well in the time given. Rather, this course deals with the main sections of this corpus, while taking a few representative biblical books as illustrations, and it explains how the Old Testament emerged. In addition, this course trains students to be able to find for themselves information on a given book of the Old Testament, to filter and assimilate knowledge to the point that they are able to make a presentation of this book to the general public.
Evaluation methods

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information in this section is particularly likely to change.

Continuous assessment :
  1. Summaries of biblical texts and other documents (articles, book chapters). [10% of final grade]
  2. Oral presentation and critical assessment of the Wikipedia page concerning a book of the Old Testament. [20% of final grade]
  3. Activities during classes [10% of final grade]
  4. Writing an encyclopedia article about a book of the Old Testament. [60% of final grade]
Except for students who follow this course exclusively online, attendance at classes is obligatory and will count in the first evaluation (item 1 above). In case of three or more unjustified absences, the course will not be validated. (The sanitary restrictions related to covid 19 may entail justified absences.)
If a student misses or fails assessment, this will result in one of the two following situations:
  • It is possible that the final grade, average of the three grades, still allows the student to validate the course ;
  • If not, he/she will need to write an essay during Q3 (third quadrimester).
Other information
It is highly recommanded to acquire a French translation of the Bible, and obligatory to read such a translation for some texts. Here are three good translations: TOB (Traduction Œcuménique de la Bible), BJ (Bible de Jérusalem) and NBS (Nouvelle Bible Segond). The ideal would be to acquire a « study version » of one of these Bibles, although this is not compulsory. In English, the JPS Study Bible is excellent.
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Minor in Christian Theology

Minor in Medieval Studies

Minor in Sciences of Religions (openness)

Bachelor in Ancient Languages and Literatures: Oriental Studies

Minor in Antiquity: Egypt, Eastern World, Greece, Rome

Bachelor in religious studies

Certificat universitaire en études bibliques

Certificat universitaire en théologie (fondements)