Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Bridging the Word and the World

11/20 2020

Inside the PTS Curriculum: English Bible Exegesis

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The “Inside the PTS Curriculum” series gives you an inside look at what students are learning in their courses at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Each article focuses on one class, its subject matter, and what students can expect to learn. We’ll let you know whether the course is required or available for the Master of Divinity (MDiv), the Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS), or Master of Theological Studies (MTS).

This week’s course is: “English Bible Exegesis (Old Testament).”

MDiv Old Testament professor Steve Tuell

About English Bible Exegesis (Old Testament)

During this term, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary students will be learning about Old Testament exegesis in the class “English Bible Exegesis.” This course is open to students in the Master of Divinity (MDiv), Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS), or Master of Theology (MTS) degree programs who have already completed an Old Testament course.

In this course students will be introduced to the process of Old Testament exegesis and given opportunities to practice exegesis of various Old Testament passages from the English Bible. Students will learn to identify and evaluate the literary, social, historical, and canonical contexts of passages and to articulate the meaning of those passages as Christian Scripture. Students will also learn to identify appropriate scholarly resources for Old Testament interpretation.

By the end of the course, students will be able to discuss the nature and character of English translations of the Bible, articulate a basic hermeneutical theory, and show understanding of how interpreters from various perspectives approach the task of interpretation. They will also have gained various basic understandings of biblical authority. Practically, they will be able to use an organized five-step exegetical procedure to explore an Old Testament passage.

The two required texts for the course are William P. Brown’s A Handbook to Old Testament Exegesis and Jacqueline E. Lapsley’s Whispering the Word: Hearing Women’s Stories in the Old Testament. Students will complete a “self-exegesis” reflection, write a critical essay on a secondary reading, complete exercises that lead up to the final project, and will undertake a major exegetical paper.


About the Instructor

The Rev. Dr. Steven Tuell is the James A. Kelso Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He received a B.A. from West Virginia Wesleyan College, an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible at Union Theological Seminary in Virginia. Dr. Tuell’s particular research interests are biblical prophecy, particularly the book of Ezekiel and the Book of the Twelve, and the biblical literature of the early Persian Period. He has completed a textbook on the prophets (with Stephen Cook and John Strong) and his works in progress include a book on creation in Scripture. An ordained elder in The United Methodist Church, he has served churches in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, and Virginia. Dr. Tuell preaches and teaches frequently throughout the area.

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