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Unit of study_

BBCL2607: Biblical Poetic Books

Semester 1, 2023 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit examines the Biblical Poetic Books such as Psalms, the Song of Songs and Lamentations. The main focus of the course is on how the literary conventions of the genre of Hebrew poetry are used by the poets to set out the theological and philosophical concepts the texts are designed to express. These literary conventions will be studied in the light of other Ancient Near Eastern literature of a similar genre.

Unit details and rules

Unit code BBCL2607
Academic unit Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies
Credit points 6
12 Junior credit points including at least 6 from BBCL1001 or BBCL1002 or HBRW1111 or HBRW1112 or RLST1002 and 6 from Hebrew or Biblical and Jewish Studies or Ancient History or Anthropology or Archaeology or History or English or Philosophy or Studies in Religion or Arabic Studies or BBCL2603 or BBCL2609 or BBCL2610
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Michael Abrahams-Sprod,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Tutorial paper
Essay based on oral presentation. Due date according to allocated topic
20% - 1300 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9
Participation Class participation
Active contribution to class discussions + ongoing reading requirement
10% Ongoing n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO9 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Presentation Tutorial presentation
Exegesis & class discussion. Choose from topics 2-13
10% Ongoing presentation&discussion. Equiv. 200 word
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Final course Essay
Essay - choose one of two major questions
60% Week 13
Due date: 26 May 2023 at 23:59
3000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9

Assessment summary

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Prose or Poetry: what is a biblical poem? Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Introduction and division of presentations Tutorial (1 hr) LO9
Week 02 Parallelisms: what do they add to the poet’s message? Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO6
Genesis 4 Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5
Week 03 Why Poetry? Lecture (2 hr) LO2 LO4
Psalm 1 Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 04 The Sweet Psalmist of Israel: the Structure and Authorship of the Book(s) of Psalms Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
1 Samuel 2:1-10 Tutorial (1 hr) LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 05 “Sitz im Leben” Lecture (2 hr) LO5 LO6 LO7
Jonah 2 Tutorial (1 hr) LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 06 Lamentations – Poetry of Catastrophe Lecture (2 hr) LO6 LO7 LO8
Psalm 22 Tutorial (1 hr) LO6 LO7
Week 07 Song of Songs - Literal? Lecture (2 hr) LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Lamentation 5 Tutorial (1 hr) LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 08 Song of Songs - Allegory? Lecture (2 hr) LO6 LO7 LO8
Song of Songs 7 Tutorial (1 hr) LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 10 Psalms: Inner Biblical Exegesis Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO6
Psalms 121, 123, 130 Tutorial (1 hr) LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 11 Psalms of Praise Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO5 LO6
Psalm 104 Tutorial (1 hr) LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 12 Psalms: The use of Historiography Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO6 LO7
Psalm 29 Tutorial (1 hr) LO3 LO5 LO6
Week 13 Poetry in the New Testament Lecture (2 hr) LO6 LO7 LO8
Psalm 106 Tutorial (1 hr) LO3 LO6 LO7

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. distinguish poetry from prose
  • LO2. identify poetic properties
  • LO3. Recognise major themes of biblical poetry
  • LO4. decrypt poetic metaphors and allegories
  • LO5. trace visible and hidden messages in figurative discourse
  • LO6. examine various types and usages of poems
  • LO7. Investigate questions about the poet’s socio-political circumstances
  • LO8. discuss the place of poems and psalms in religious rites
  • LO9. write scholarly exegesis and argumentative essays on biblical poetic passages

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Changes in themes, tutorial topics, essay questions.

Consult the course handout for detailed information.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.