Hermeneutics – BIBL 715

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

An advanced course in hermeneutics with an emphasis in preparing the student to engage the biblical text for genre specific exposition. Content focuses on genre specific issues in the interpretation and application of the biblical text, including an examination of current interpretive approaches for primary and secondary literary genres.  Exposure to theoretical issues in hermeneutics and their practical ramifications for Bible exposition is given significant consideration.


BIBL 700


The foundation for biblical preaching is the discovery of meaning in the biblical text. In this course, students will approach the discipline of hermeneutics from a theological, biblical, historical, and practical perspective. These skills will help lay the foundation for the more specific courses to come later in the degree program.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate clear understanding of the terminology, people, and historical movements within hermeneutics.
  2. Construct a quality research thesis sentence given a list of broad topics
  3. Analyze biblical and theological models within the discipline of biblical interpretation
  4. Evaluate strengths and weaknesses within both one’s own and fellow students’ [points of view
  5. Create an original research paper based on the given thesis sentence.
  6. Critique another student’s paper with an eye toward providing constructive feedback.

Course Assignment

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be 500 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to one other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be 300 words.

The real difference in PhD-level work is that discussion board are student-led, rather than professor-led. In a PhD course, the professor assumes the role of the “guide by the side” rather than the “sage on the stage.” That means for one week in a term, each student will read ahead for a week and prepare the discussion questions for the next week. For example, the professor will assign each student a week to lead discussion on the first day of class. The student(s) chosen to lead week 2 will need to read for both week 1 and week 2 during that first week. By midnight of Sunday of week 1, those students assigned to week 2 will email the professor their 3-4 discussion questions for week 2. The professor will choose the best ones (and may add one from time to time) to post as the week 2 discussion questions. The students leading the discussion for that week are not responsible for the original post (they have already provided the questions). They will, however, need to respond to those who answer their questions. The PhD students lead the “class” as much as the professor does. It’s what helps set Phd studies apart from other levels of education.

The student will write a 20-25 page research-based paper in SBL/Turabian format chosen from one of the following topics:

The Doctrine of Scripture


Interpreting a Literary Genre

A study of a historical figure’s interpretive methodology and work

An exegesis and interpretation of a particular passage

You will need a minimum of 15 scholarly sources that includes monographs, scholarly journal articles, chapters in scholarly edited works, or original source material from historical figures. 15 is the minimum. You should use as many sources as you need to make your point clearly and concisely. A good rule of thumb is one source per page for thorough research.

The paper itself will be due in its final format at the end of week 7. It will need to be posted in the Module 8 Discussion immediately after it is submitted to the professor. Each student will be assigned to peer-review another student’s paper during week 8, offering constructive feedback in a discussion post of no less than 500 words.

There will be components of the paper due before the final draft. In week 2, a tentative title and thesis is due and will be uploaded to Blackboard. The instructor will approve it or ask that it be re-worked and re-submitted. A tentative outline is due in week 3. A tentative bibliography is due in week 4. If a student wishes to email a rough draft (even if very incomplete) during week 5, the professor will look at it and give some preliminary feedback. That allows a couple of weeks to revise and complete.

Be sure to make full use of the LU Library, including ATLA and the collection of ebooks available to everyone. Print books can also be checked out by contacting the library. If you plan on using printed materials, please get them early! The class is only eight weeks long, and there is only a 5 week window between weeks 3-7.

Your paper will be graded according to a rubric that includes content, argument, research, clarity, and style.

By the end of the seminar, both your professor and a peer will evaluate your paper, and you will have the opportunity to evaluate another student’s paper. All feedback will help you get better.

Suggestion: If you know what your dissertation topic might be, tailor this paper to that and use it as a building block toward your dissertation. The topics given above are sufficiently open-ended to allow a great deal of flexibility.

Please post any general questions concerning the paper to the course community discussion. Any specific questions related to your own paper should be directed to the professor via email.