Introduction to Biblical Studies: The Bible, Its Content and Theology


The module explores the Old and New Testament together with the major elements contained in their narratives, and their main theological themes. It will proceed by focusing on the background of the Bible, by overviewing its books and describing their cultural, literary and religious contexts. Then, the course will evaluate the theological interpretations of these texts against this cultural background.

It will begin with an exploration of the Old Testament by focusing on the structure of the Hebrew Bible with its several forms of literature. The module will follow with a second part dedicated to the New Testament. After an introductory session, the major sections will be presented, considering main characters, theological themes, critical-historical issues, biblical-theological views, etc. The course will analyse the theological issues of the Bible and their relevance in moulding Christianity.

Programme details

Courses starts: 19 Sept 2022

Week 0:  Course orientation

Week 1:  The Hebrew Bible: Introduction and Language 

Week 2:  The Pentateuch

Week 3:  The Historical Books

Week 4:  The Poetical and Wisdom Books

Week 5:  The Prophets and the prophecies

Week 6:  The New Testament: Content, Exegesis, and Greek

Week 7:  The Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles

Week 8:  Pauline Letters

Week 9:  The other New Testament Writings

Week 10:  The Revelation


Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.

To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.

Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from between January 1st and July 31st after the current academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.


Description Costs
Course Fee £238.00
Take this course for CATS points £10.00


Dr Stefano Salemi

Dr Salemi is a scholar and professor of biblical studies and theology, biblical languages and exegesis. He read history, religion, theology, biblical languages, biblical studies; research fellow at Oxford, Harvard, Yale, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, King's College London, and others.

Course aims

This course will read through the Old and New Testament, in order to demonstrate a critical and reflective understanding of their content. It will analyse different genres of both testaments in light of their cultural, historical, religious context and evaluate their biblical and theological comprehension.

Course Objectives:

1. To formulate a broad understanding of the key issues, stories, composition and characters of the Hebrew Bible and of the New Testament within their historical settings.

2. To acquire an appreciation of the theology of the Bible, and a clear evaluation of the cultural and religious background of the text.

3. To describe the major ideas, literary forms and contexts of the Bible.

Teaching methods

The virtual class will replicate the experience of a face to face classroom. Live and recorded lectures will continue offering a programme of interactive classes fully tutor-led, based on in-Oxford teaching. These classes allow students to meet online and maximise interaction and enhance fluency in a friendly, supportive environment. When pre-recorded material is offered, audio and video extracts, this will be available for students to watch prior to the live element of the class which will take place using Microsoft Teams. This will be an opportunity for students to ask questions about the material in the lecture.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be expected to:

1. acquire knowledge of the formation, composition, content of the Bible, and a precise identification of the major themes of the text;

2. demonstrate ability to analyse and interpret the biblical text;

3. display critical thinking skills.

Assessment methods


Option A: Three very short (c. 500 words) pieces of written work. (Students are free to propose a suitable subject for each short essay, or a list of titles will be provided; a final agreement needs to be reached with the tutor).


Option B: One short (c. 1,500 words) essay. (Students will be asked to provide an outline of the proposed essay for approval)

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form - Declaration of Authorship form


We will close for enrolments 7 days prior to the start date to allow us to complete the course set up. We will email you at that time (7 days before the course begins) with further information and joining instructions. As always, students will want to check spam and junk folders during this period to ensure that these emails are received.

To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an application form.

Level and demands

No prior knowledge is required.

Reading material will be provided during the lessons. 

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)