The Old Testament is the first, more extensive part of the Christian Bible. The scriptures, originally written in Hebrew, form the basis and centre of this subject. The students - mostly future teachers - are taught knowledge and access to understanding of the most significant texts and topics in this collection of scriptures. Since the Old Testament as a whole was written over a period of about a thousand years and most of the writings also went through a longer process of creation, their proper indexing is carried out in a historical perspective: above all, the students are familiarised with historical-critical methods in order to learn to understand the texts as products of their time, which were written under certain historical-political, social and religious-historical conditions as well as influenced by the environment or written in critical confrontation with it. In addition to the historical-critical tools, literary approaches to text indexing and the hermeneutical interest in the lasting significance of the Old Testament also come into play. The aim of studying the canonical writings of the Old Testament is to perceive how the authors interpret their world and history theologically and thereby to recognise different theological voices in these writings. On this basis, a current understanding and relevance of the texts can then be reflected, especially with regard to religious education.
On the one hand, the Hebrew canon forms the basis of Jewish faith, so that the study of it establishes a connection to Jewish interpretive traditions and Jewish studies. On the other hand, the scriptures translated into Greek were the Bible of early Christianity, so that the Old Testament as a background of tradition often opens up a deeper understanding of the New Testament.
Students in Oldenburg have the option of learning Hebrew and can take the Hebraicum examination if they wish.