Context is crucial to effective biblical interpretation in both the academy and the church. Consequently, this course will survey the first five books of the Old Testament with an emphasis on the historical background, ancient near eastern context, and literary structure of each book of the Pentateuch. Students will examine past approaches to important interpretive cruxes in the history of interpretation and will formulate their own approaches. The course emphasizes the ongoing canonical reading and application of the Pentateuchal materials throughout Israel's history, as well as the theological impact of these books. Many of the issues touched on in the Pentateuch have relevance to the life and ministry of the church. As a result, the course will challenge students to reflect on the theological and practical implications of select Pentateuchal passages in order to consider their application to life in the 21 st century.