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Hebrew Bible and its Reception


Admission requirements

In addition to the general rules for admission, students are expected to have a good knowledge of Biblical Hebrew, Old Testament exegesis, and Koine Greek.


The book of Genesis describes the creation and the history of the Patriarchs. It was widely read by Jews and Christians in the Hellenistic and Roman Middle East and all around the Mediterranean. They knew the book in a Greek translation, the Septuagint, made by Jews in Alexandria in the third century BCE.

This course will focus on the reception of the book of Genesis in Greek. First we will study a number of chapters from the Septuagint while focusing on the translation technique: how was the original Hebrew rendered into Greek? Second we will study how this translation was understood by people who did not know the original text: we will read some comments by the Jewish exegete Philo of Alexandria and select some fragments of early Christian exegesis. Depending on the interest and abilities of the students, it will also be possible to compare the Septuagint and the Jewish-Aramaic Targumim or to study Syriac sources.

Course objectives

  • Insight into the translation technique of the Septuagint translator of Genesis and the relation between the Hebrew and Greek texts. – Insight into the reception history of the book of Genesis, focusing on the reception of the Greek text among Jews and Christians.


See Time table

Mode of instruction

Seminar (lectures followed by presentations by students and discussion).

h.3 Course load

Total course load for the course (number of EC x 28 hours), for a course of 5 EC is 140 hours, for 10 EC 280. – Attending classes (2 hours x 12 weeks) = 24 hours – Preparing texts for classes, assignments (4 hours x 12 weeks) = 48 hours – Paper: for 5 EC = 68 hours; for 10 EC = 208 hours

Assessment method

Criteria for assessment are active and critical participation during class and quality of papers. Each student has to prepare 1 presentation and a final oral exam.


Yes, see for more information blackboard.

Reading list

Required literature:
Hebrew Bible
M. Harl, La Bible d’Alexandrie 1. La Genèse (Paris: Cerf, 1994).

Additional literature will be handed out in class or made available through Blackboard.


Via uSis.
In addition to the registration in uSis, students are also expected to self-enroll in blackboard a few weeks before the course starts.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply.

Contact information

Prof.dr. Bas ter Haar Romeny.