Introduction to the Old Testament I

Course Description

This course offers a selective introduction to central themes and texts of the Old Testament. With a focus on the Pentateuch (Part I) and the Prophets and Writings (Part II), it aims to cultivate an appreciation of individual works and an awareness of the larger theological worldview of which they form a part. The course will form students for their continued reading of the Old Testament and will ready them to engage the New Testament with even greater vision.

Course Content

Unit 1: Revelation, Scripture, and the Old Testament

  1. Vatican II Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum)
  2. The Old Testament Canon
  3. Reading and Interpreting the Old Testament

Unit 2: Genesis: Creation and the Fall

  1. Genesis 1:1-2:4
  2. Enuma Elish
  3. Genesis 2-11

Unit 3: Genesis: Patriarchs

  1. Abraham and Election (Genesis 12-22)
  2. Jacob (Genesis 25-33)
  3. Joseph (Genesis 37-50)

Unit 4: Exodus: YHWH and Passover

  1. YHWH (Exodus 3)
  2. Passover and Departure (Exodus 7-13)

Unit 5: Exodus: Covenant

  1. Covenant (Exodus 19, 24)
  2. Law (Exodus 20-23)
  3. Tabernacle (Exodus 25-40)

Unit 6: Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy

  1. Leviticus: Purity and Sacrifice
  2. Numbers: Faith
  3. Deuteronomy: Moses and Israel

Course Format

  • Seven weeks in duration, with one week for orientation.
  • Typically 15-20 students in each course.
  • All lectures and supplemental readings provided online.
  • Written assignments (150-200 words) required.
  • Facilitator-moderated chat sessions with participants in course.

Required Texts

  • All course materials are available online in the course.

Participation Requirements

  • Read assigned texts; keep notes, questions, and comments for class discussion.
  • Participate in the class discussion using the Forums area: post at least 2 comments, questions, or responses per unit.
  • Write 150-200 words in response to the assignment in each unit.
  • Participate in at least 4 scheduled chat sessions throughout the course.
  • Complete the course evaluation.

Time Expectations

3 to 5 hours per week, depending on your learning style and schedule.

Course Certificate

A certificate of completion awarding 35 contact hours will be sent upon completion of all course requirements.

Meet the Developer

Dr. Anthony Pagliarini

Anthony Pagliarini

Anthony Pagliarini grew up in northeastern Pennsylvania (Wilkes-Barre). After earning his BA in theology and philosophy at Notre Dame, he taught high school in a Catholic mission parish in Belize. He then moved to Rome to study theology at the Angelicum and work as a guide in the Vatican Necropolis (the "Scavi"). He spent the following three years in Austria completing masters work at the International Theological Institute. He then returned to Rome for further study at Pontifical Biblical Institute. He married his wife Katie in 2010 and returned to Notre Dame to begin doctoral work in Old Testament. In 2015, after successfully completing 27th grade and writing an entirely-too-long paper, they let him graduate. Anthony and Katie live in South Bend with their four children. They teach in the Department of Theology at Notre Dame, and Anthony is the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies.