Ancient Context of the Old Testament

The Old Testament was not composed in a vacuum—it took shape in the rich cultural context of the ancient Near Eastern world. Understanding that context adds depth and new dimensions to your study of theology—and will help you bring new insights to others in your preaching or whatever form of ministry you pursue.

The Ancient Context of the Old Testament emphasis is for students who want to better understand the historical and cultural backgrounds of the Old Testament and to learn Hebrew and Aramaic at a level sufficient for advanced exegesis. If you are looking for a well-rounded program that will enable you to thoughtfully synthesize the fields of ancient Near Eastern studies, biblical studies, and theology, this emphasis is for you.

Want to dive even more deeply into ancient languages and literatures? Read about the Ancient Near Eastern Studies emphasis.

Featured Faculty

Emphasis Faculty

Andy Dearman
Chris Hays
Marilyn Lundberg*
Marianne Meye Thompson

*affiliate or adjunct faculty

Curriculum Requirements

To earn an emphasis in Ancient Context of the Old Testament,** students must fulfill the emphasis requirements (20 units) listed below:

Required Courses (12 units):

Normally the emphasis will include these three courses, although the student may arrange substitutions with the faculty coordinator:

LG506 Advanced Hebrew Grammar
LG525 Biblical Aramaic
OT583 Ancient Near Eastern History, Literature, and Culture

Choose Two (8 units):

LG533 Ugaritic I - Beginning Ugaritic
LG534 Ugaritic II - Special Topics in Ugaritology
LG535 Beginning Akkadian
LG536 Advanced Akkadian
LG546 Northwest Semitic Texts
OT527 Old Testament Exegesis
OT554 Israelite Religion in its Ancient Near Eastern Context
OT576 Experiencing the Land of the Bible
OT581 History and Historiography of Ancient Israel
Other courses, such as OT506 Hebrew Exegesis, may be approved by the emphasis coordinator as ANE courses if their content is appropriate to the emphasis.


  • Beginning Hebrew is a prerequisite for all language courses listed above. Students with previous work in Hebrew may take a placement exam in order to place out of Beginning Hebrew.
  • MAT and MATM students in the ACOT emphasis are strongly encouraged to elect exegesis courses that use the biblical languages.
  • Students intending to use the emphasis as preparation for doctoral study should consult with the faculty coordinator about selecting electives.

Scheduled Courses

Required Courses:

LG506, LG525, OT583

The following scheduled courses fulfill this emphasis requirement.

Catalog Number Course Title Faculty Term Location
LG525 Biblical Aramaic Faculty Fall 2015 Pasadena

Choose Two:

LG533, LG534, LG535, LG536, LG546, OT506, OT527, OT554/854, OT576, OT581/881

The following scheduled courses fulfill this emphasis requirement.

Catalog Number Course Title Faculty Term Location
OT527 Old Testament Exegesis: Psalms (Hebrew text) Engle, C.L. Summer 2015 Texas (Houston)
LG533 Biblical Ugaritic Hays, C.B. Fall 2015 Pasadena
OT527 Old Testament Exegesis: Exodus (Hebrew text) Smoak, J.D. Fall 2015 Pasadena
OT527 Exegesis del AT: Deuteronomio (Hebrew text) Lee, K. Fall 2015 Pasadena
OT527 Old Testament Exegesis: Psalms (Hebrew text) Parker, T.C. Fall 2015 Arizona (Phoenix)

Emphasis courses are scheduled on a rotation and may not be available every quarter. For descriptions of courses that fulfill this emphasis, please visit the Academic Catalog.

**New emphasis structure is effective beginning Fall 2014. For information on your current emphasis track, contact your academic advisor.

(626) 584-5200
(800) 235-2222
135 N. Oakland Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91182