Elective unit                                                                                                          (Min. No. 8)

2nd semester: Monday morning



This unit will examine how the Old Testament portrays God as just and merciful and the criteria whereby Israel is called to be the just and merciful society. It will consist of an analysis of the terms Justice and Mercy and associated terminology within their literary, historical and theological contexts. It will consider how these terms and the contexts in which they are used contribute to Theodicy—the notion of the just God.


BA8000Y or equivalent


Upon successful completion of this unit, it is expected that students will be able to:

  1. apply their exegetical skills to the understanding of key theological terms in the Old Testament
  2. demonstrate an ability to grasp the meaning of texts and terms
  3. critically assess the relationship between terminology in different contexts with a view to constructing a theology of justice and mercy
  4. demonstrate a broad knowledge of the relevant background material
  5. present papers in the context of seminar discussions
  6. compare and evaluate contemporary insights in the study of the topic


2000 word exegetical paper (35%); 4000 word major essay (65%)


BIBLIOGRAPHY *set texts recommended for purchase

Birch, Bruce C. Let justice roll down: The Old Testament, Ethics, and Christian Life. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 1991.

Boda, Mark J. A Severe Mercy: Sin and Its Remedy in the Old Testament. Siphrut; Literature and Theology of the Old Testament Scriptures. Winona Lakes, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2009.

Boecker, H. J. Law and the Administration of Justice in the Old Testament and Ancient East. Augsburg, MN: Fortress, 1980.

Crenshaw, J. L. Theodicy in the Old Testament. London: SPCK, 1983.

———. Defending God: Biblical Responses to the Problem of Evil. Oxford: OUP, 2005.

Heagle, John. Justice Rising: The Emerging Biblical Vision. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2010.

Houston, Walter J. Contending for Justice: Ideologies and Theologies of Social Justice in the Old Testament. London: T&T Clark, 2006.

*O’Brien, Mark A. Restoring the Right Relationship: The Bible on Divine Righteousness. Adelaide: ATF Press, 2014.

Weinfeld, Moshe. Social Justice in Ancient Israel and in the Ancient Near East. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 1995.