Wisdom Literature TRS4074

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will introduce students to the Wisdom Literature of the Hebrew Bible: principally Proverbs, Job and Qohelet (Ecclesiastes) but with some attention to non-canonical and supplementary texts such as Sirach, Song of Songs, and biblical folktales.


1x2hr seminar per week over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus.


This is one of the Honours options in TRS and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into Theology and Religious Studies, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes who qualify under the University's 25% regulation.

Excluded Courses

TRS3015 Wisdom Literature In The Old Testament

TRS4038 Wisdom Literature In The Old Testament Honours

TRS3030 Wisdom Literature Level 3

TRS4075 Wisdom Literature with Hebrew




Essay (2,500 words) - 40%

Presentation of 10 minutes - 10%

Set interpretive exercise (750 words) - 10%


Examination (90 minutes duration) - 40%

OR: in place of the exam an additional 2500 word essay on a topic to be agreed with the convener, by an agreed date - 40%.

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity to:

■ explore the definition of wisdom as a literary genre;

■ discuss its significance for the interpretation of canonical and related traditions and texts identified as Wisdom Literature;

■ engage in close reading of selected biblical and extra-biblical wisdom texts;

■ become familiar with a range of theoretical interpretive approaches to texts.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ evaluate the usefulness of the term "wisdom" as a genre description, and to identify its representative texts in the Hebrew Bible;

■ offer a rigorous analysis of a range of approaches to key texts in the biblical wisdom tradition;

■ present a clearly argued analysis of the role of folk tale and related traditions in the formation of biblical literature;

■ analyse the theoretical and interpretive problems involved in interpreting ancient texts of uncertain provenance;

■ present complex arguments in written and oral form.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.