Program Overview | Master of Arts in Old Testament
|Hours||54 (which includes a Thesis)|
|Completion time||Typically 2-3 years (and no more than 7)|
|Scheduling Options||Weekly 3-hour classes M-Th;|
Bi-semester Weekend Courses;
Week long Short Courses
The program prepares students well in both Historical-Critical and Theological/Narrative studies. The diversity of faculty and perspectives equips students across multiple methodologies. In classes, students should expect to engage in primary research using the tools of advanced languages and academic secondary work on the topic. In this regard, the program is engaging in the sort of literature and scholarship that would rival other top research programs in the United States.
The main emphasis of the program is to cultivate students who know texts, understand the history of scholarship, and think like a scholar. To this end, graduates will have a command of Hebrew and Greek (with an opportunity to study other languages such as Ugaritic, Syriac, and Ethiopic), a sense of historical settings of biblical text, and the skills of careful analysis. As such, study centers on the biblical text but also extends to other extra-canonical writings and evidence concerning the social and historical setting of Ancient Israel.
Old Testament faculty include full time faculty members: Dr. Mark Hamilton and Dr. Jonathan Huddleston. Dr. Hamilton's scholarly work focuses on Ancient Israelite and Near Eastern culture and religion (especially kingship and religion, portrayals of God, and practices of rhetoric). Additionally, Dr. Hamilton is passionate about relating the ancient biblical texts to the ongoing life of the church. Dr. Hamilton has authored The Body Royal: The Social Poetics of Kingship in Ancient Israel and the Levant and is the general editor of The Transforming Word: A One-Volume Bible Commentary. He is currently working on a textbook introducing the theological and literary dimensions of the Old Testament for Oxford University Press and a monograph on rhetoric in the ancient Near East.
Dr. Huddleston's work compliments Dr. Hamilton's interests in historical-critical issues in his attention to theological and narrative methodologies. His research interests are in eschatology in the Old Testament, reading mythic stories in the Old Testament, relationship between Pentateuch and prophets, and Persian-period canon formation.
Studies are also enhanced by adjunct faculty in ACU's Department of Bible, Missions and Ministry as well as visting faculty from other universities.
Preparation for Doctoral Work
The program is designed to prepare students for a host of vocations. Some students use the knowledge and research skills they learn from the program to enhance their ministry. For these students, the exegetical skills are combined with sensitivity to teaching and preaching to non-academic groups–connecting research in the biblical text to the life of the church.
Other students complete the program as a way to prepare for doctoral work. The program is well-suited in this regard because it equips students with primary tools that can then be further developed in a doctoral program. Primarily, students learn ancient languages, are exposed to the primary and secondary works in the field, and learn to do constructive work. In constructive work, there is a history of students presenting papers at both Regional and National SBL meetings. Visit the "thesis" page to read more about how the thesis acts as an important teaching tool for students who want to develop their ability to contribute to scholarship.