Skip to main content

MA Biblical Studies

Course length
  • 1 year full-time
  • Not available to study part-time
  • An honours degree (normally 2.1 or above) or equivalent in an appropriate subject
  • PGCert Biblical Studies
  • PGDip Biblical Studies

NB: This programme is only available for full-time study in 2016/17.

Please see further details on the maximum period of study.

Perform an advanced study of biblical texts from both the Old and New Testament, with an emphasis on current methodologies.

The programme attracts teachers and people involved in church ministry, as well as anyone with a particular interest in the textual study of biblical literature. It provides a valuable ongoing education for ministers.

The timetable for 2016-17 can be found in the Postgraduate Options Handbook at the bottom of the page.

Teaching & Assessment

The programme consists of four taught modules and a dissertation. You will choose two optional modules, one of which can be a language module. Students are assessed in each module through a combination of coursework and an end of year essay. The final dissertation of 12,000 – 15,000 words is on a research topic agreed by your supervisor.

Core modules

Critical Aspects of Biblical Interpretation (Old Testament)

Concentrate on a choice of Old Testament texts.

Examine critical ways these texts have been and are being read through patristic, medieval, modern and postmodern eyes.Texts will also be read through a variety of Christian and Jewish interpretative approaches.



Critical Aspects of Biblical Interpretation (New Testament)

Focus on the history of interpretation and the methodologies of the New Testament.

You will cover interpretations from the earliest times of the Patristic period, and you will look at medieval, modern and postmodern times.

Optional module group one

Select between the two
Reading 1 Corinthians

Look at topics raised in Paul's letter such as improper behaviour, food offered to idols, the married and the single.

The city of Corinth was well known in the ancient world as a centre of trade and culture. Two letters of Paul addressed to the church at Corinth have been preserved and these give us insight into the types of problems Paul encountered with his church communities. This module focuses on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Written in the early 50s CE, the letter deals with such topics as divisions in the church; improper behaviour; the married and the single; food offered to idols; whether or not women should cover their heads during worship; the Lord’s supper; spiritual gifts; and the resurrection. We will examine these issues through an analysis of the text of the letter along with an appreciation of the letter’s wider context and place in the development of Paul’s thought.

Optional module group two

Select between the three
The Bible in the life of the Church

Examine the Bible as the central religious, spiritual, intellectual and cultural source for faith communities of Judaism and Christianity.

This module examines the Bible as the central religious, spiritual, intellectual and cultural source of communities of faith: Judaism and Christianity in its various denominations. Exegetical analysis of selected Biblical texts will be reflected against the backdrop of their theological, liturgical, artistic and musical reception. Communities of faith will be seen both as the hermeneutical framework for the interpretation of canonical texts as well as inspired and fostered by them. According to specific interests of students, the module will also give an opportunity to improve practical skills regarding the “ministry of the Word”.

Taught in alternate years.
Second Temple Judaism

Examine a variety of texts in their historical and philosophical contexts.

In this module, you will study a variety of texts from Second Temple Jewish literature (early second century BCE to 135 CE). You will examine the historical and philosophical context of the creative interaction between Judaism and Hellenism through study of the continuity and plurality of ideas between the Old Testament and the New Testament and beyond, focusing on concepts ranging from messianism to ideas about death, immortality and resurrection.

Optional language module

Students may replace one optional module with a language module.
Biblical Hebrew

An introduction to grammar and biblical texts in Hebrew.

This module will introduce you to the fundamental rules of Hebrew grammar while providing the basics for understanding the language syntax and building up an extent vocabulary. This should give you the tools for further exegetical work in the Hebrew Bible and should enable you to read it in Hebrew with the aid of a dictionary.

New Testament Greek

An introduction to grammar and biblical texts in Greek.