Biblical Studies

The Biblical Studies Department offers a broad range of courses in biblical languages, Old Testament, and New Testament.


MDiv students are required to take twelve credits, including Orientation to Old Testament Studies and Orientation to New Testament Studies, which are normally taken during the first year. Students also take one additional course in Old Testament and one in New Testament, one of which is classified as a “close reading of the text.”

Although not required for the MDiv degree, students are encouraged to take Greek and/or Hebrew, and language-based exegesis courses. Exegesis courses are offered on two tracks: English-based and language-based.

Entering students who have studied Greek and/or Hebrew in a college or university setting and who wish to have an introductory language prerequisite waived must take the appropriate language placement examination(s). Students who have studied the equivalent of two full semesters or more of a biblical language at an ATS-accredited seminary or divinity school and have earned a grade of B or better do not need to take a placement examination.

Current Course Highlights

At PTS, students have the opportunity to learn from professors who are at the cutting edge of their fields. These are just some of the many courses that showcase the innovative and integrative ways the Biblical Studies department challenges students to think broadly and deeply about the meaning of scripture in its various contexts and its relevance for ministry in today's world.

Race, Ethnicity and the New Testament
A study of the theological intersections between race, ethnicity and the New Testament. Students explore how the notions of race and ethnicity functioned in antiquity and how contemporary cultural contexts shape our interpretation of Scripture today. Particular attention is paid to the hermeneutical and theological implications of reading the texts of the New Testament in an ethnically diverse world.

Texts of Terror, Texts of Hope
An assessment of the use of Old Testament texts to support problematic social structures such as slavery and the patriarchal household and to marginalize women, ethnic groups, and LGBT people. The course will also look at how marginalized groups marshaled other Old Testament texts about liberation, inclusion of foreigners, and just treatment of outsiders and the poor to hermeneutically resist oppressive uses of the Bible.

The Dead Sea Scrolls
A study of the paleography and theology of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and an examination of the history and archaeology of the Qumran Essenes. Portions of the major scrolls will be read from photographs.

Biblical Poetry and the Practice of Ministry
An introduction to biblical poetry by means of selected reading and analysis of Old Testament, ancient Near Eastern, and modern poems. Poetic conventions, themes, and structures will be investigated. The theological and pastoral significance of poetry will also be explored.

Faith and Film: Ministry in the Movies
An investigation of important biblical concerns, theological themes, and pastoral issues raised by classic and contemporary motion pictures. This course is designed for students preparing for ministries in or for the church. Class will meet twice each week in two-hour sessions.

Literary Approaches to Old Testament Interpretation
A study of more recent developments in the literary study of Old Testament texts (structuralism, deconstruction, reader response, canonical analysis). Consideration of the interplay of these approaches with other historical-critical methods of exegesis.

Complete Course Offerings

Educating faithful Christian leaders.

Scholar and Theological Educator

Kathleen M. O’Connor, Class of 1984

“Informal time in discussion groups with faculty and students discussing feminist theological literature altered my views, excited my spirit, and greatly influenced my teaching.”