SC 331 - Wisdom Literature & Psalms

Module Level


Time Allowance

Lectures 24 hours; Tutorials 3 hours; Tutorial preparation 12 hours; Reading for class 24 hours; Assignment 24 hours; Exam preparation 12 hours


Continuous assessment: 25% = 1500-word paper; 15% = 3 tutorials; Final examination: 60% = 120-minute examination (end of semester)

Module Aims

MODULE AIM: To introduce theology students to the study of the Old Testament Wisdom Literature and the Psalms.

Indicative syllabus:

• Composition of the Psalms within their historical and literary context

• David and the Psalms

• Major genres of Psalms, especially lament and thanksgiving

• Royal Psalms and their messianic interpretation

• Question of theodicy in the prose tale of Job the innocent sufferer

• Job’s dialogues with his friends

• Creation theology in the divine speeches to Job

• Book of Proverbs and its Egyptian parallels

• Instruction for wise living in the Book of Sirach

• Hope of the afterlife in the Book of Wisdom

Learning Outcomes

  • Upon successful completion of this module, students will be able to:
  • Recognize the role and function of Israel’s Psalms and Wisdom texts within their historical, socioeconomic, political and religious context;
  • Apply appropriate reading strategies to a variety of Psalms and Wisdom writings;
  • Compare the treatment of key theological themes and motifs (e.g., creation, lament, retribution, theodicy) across a number of different texts;
  • Suggest ways in which the Psalms and Wisdom books continue to offer insights for the life of faith.


  • BIBLE: Psalms, Job.
  • Crenshaw, J. L., Old Testament Wisdom. 3rd ed. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2010. [223.061]
  • Crenshaw, J. L., Defending God: Biblical Responses to Problem of Evil. Oxford: OUP, 2005. [Ebook]
  • McCann, J. C., A Theological Introduction to the Book of Psalms. Nashville: Abingdon, 1993. [223.206 McC]
  • McCarthy, C., The Psalms: Human Voices of Prayer and Suffering. Dublin: Dominican Publications, 2012. [242.5 McC]
  • Murphy, R. E., The Tree of Life. 2nd ed. New York: Doubleday, 1996. [223.06 MUR]


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