The Historical Literature


Rev. Assoc. Prof. Mark O'Brien OP
Semester 2, 2020
Tuesday 2.00pm – 5.00pm

This unit is based on an examination of the “Former Prophets” or “Historical Books” (Joshua–2 Kings) as a key representative of historiography in the Old Testament. It will involve a consideration of the hypothesis of a Deuteronomistic History, identified in Deuteronomy–2 Kings. The other key representative of Old Testament historiography (1 and 2 Chronicles) will also be examined, especially where it parallels texts in the Former Prophets. The unit will consider Israelite and Ancient Near Eastern notions of history and examine contemporary issues, problems and methods associated with the interpretation of such literature. 

Census Date

Tuesday 18 August 


BS8001C and BS8002C or equivalent


face-to-face 3-hour weekly classes in semester


  • one 2,500-word exegesis 35%
  • one 4,500-word essay 65%

Set Text Recommended for Purchase

The New Revised Standard Version, e.g., New Oxford Annotated Bible or the HarperCollins Study Bible will be used in lectures.


  • Albertz, Rainer. A History of Israelite Religion in the Old Testament Period. Translated by John Bowden. 2 vols. London: SCM, 1994.
  • Campbell, Antony F. Joshua to Chronicles: An Introduction. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2004.
  • Campbell, Antony F., and Mark A. O’Brien. Unfolding the Deuteronomistic History: Origins, Upgrades, Present Text. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2000.
  • Harvey, John E. Retelling the Torah: The Deuteronomistic Historian’s Use of Tetrateuchal Narratives. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series 403. London: T. & T. Clark, 2004.
  • Japhet, Sara. I and II Chronicles: A Commentary. Old Testament Library. London: SCM, 1993.
  • Kalimi, Isaac. The Reshaping of Ancient Israelite History in Chronicles. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2004.
  • McKenzie, Steven L. Introduction to the Historical Books: Strategies for Reading. Grand Rapids, MN: W. B. Eerdmans, 2010.
  • Mazar, Amihai. Archaeology of the Land of the Bible: 10,000–563 B. C. E.: An Introduction. Anchor Bible Reference Library. New York: Doubleday, 1990.
  • Rofé, Alexander. Deuteronomy: Issues and Interpretation. Old Testament Studies. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 2002.
  • Römer, Thomas. The So-Called Deuteronomistic History: A Sociological, Historical and Literary Introduction. London: T. & T. Clark, 2006.