BIB 313.01 Pentateuch (3 credit hours)

At Ohio Valley University, we seek to transform lives in a Christ-centered academic community
that integrates higher learning, biblical faith, and service to God and humanity.

Class days/times: MW 1:00-2:15 pm
Location: Bible Annex, Room #05
Instructor: Bruce Terry
Office: Stotts, Room 123
Phone: (304) 865-6120 (office); (304) 295-6486 (home)
E-mail: bruce.terry@ovu.edu; Web site: http://bterry.com
Office hours:
M  3:30-4:00pm
T  1:00-5:00pm
W 3:30-4:00pm
Th by appointment only
F  by appointment only

I. Textbooks:

II. Course Description:

BIB 313 Pentateuch (3 credits) A study of the first five Old Testament books with special attention to developing themes, historical and exegetical studies, and applications for the contemporary church. A textual studies course. Offered spring, odd-numbered years.

This course will focus on the first five books of the Old Testament, known as the Pentateuch. Emphasis will be on knowing the narrative and legal material in the text itself. The course will also focus on questions of introduction and background, as well as a study of the Documentary Hypothesis as it relates to the Pentateuch. The course will include material on the historical authenticity of the text which is often criticized in scholarly circles.

III. Rationale:

This course addresses the following objectives of the Bible program:

Objectives For Every Student

Provide students with a more in-depth study of the scriptures than what is gained in introductory studies and/or with training in Christian life and ministry

Objectives For Majors

Provide students with a more in-depth survey study of Old Testament books
Provide students with training in how to study the Bible for themselves

IV. Integrating Faith and Learning:

Romans 10:17 says, "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ" (ESV).  Consequently, this class will use biblical texts and references to texts to help the student grow in faith.  But simply hearing is not enough.  Jesus told those who believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31-32 ESV).  So it is necessary to keep doing what we learn.  In light of this, this course will also contain references to application of principles learned.  One of the objectives is a faith objective.  It will not be assessed for a grade, but life is such that it will be assessed, one way or another.  My prayer is that you will pass that test of life.

V. Course Objectives and National Standards:

  1. To acquaint the student with the historical events of the Pentateuch and their authenticity.
  2. To develop an academic understanding of reading an ancient text such as the Bible and its use in historical reconstruction of events.
  3. To study introductory material to the five books of the Pentateuch in particular and the Old Testament in general.
  4. To investigate the claims and problems of the Documentary Hypothesis as applied to the Pentateuch.
  5. To help the student see the religious experience of Old Testament characters, thus providing a faith building experience.

There are no national standards for undergraduate study of the Bible.  At OVU, we emphasize the biblical text and its application in our lives.

VI. School of Biblical Studies Mission Statement:

At the School of Biblical Studies, we seek to transform lives in a Christ-centered academic community by encouraging biblical faith to produce life-long truth-seekers who serve God in His kingdom throughout the world.

VII. Course Requirements and Evaluation:

Assessment of whether the objectives have been met will be based on the student's performance on homework and tests assigned by the teacher and on the student's ability to do relevant research on his or her own in papers described below. Academic abilities assessed include reading with understanding skills as evidenced by a chapter reports, homework, and classroom discussion; writing skills as evidenced by two typed papers; literary research skills as evidenced by an research paper; geographical skills as evidenced by a map; and memory organization and retention as evidenced by major exams.

Your grade for the class will be based on two major exams (including a comprehensive final exam), two typed papers, five typed chapter reports, one bonus point map as explained below, attendance, and grades from pop quizzes over the reading, collected in-class work, and collected homework. The papers are on the following: 1) a three-page research paper on the use of the Law of Moses for Christians today (the student should take into account the scriptures found on the scripture search lesson sheets found at http://bible.ovu.edu/terry/ss/otuse.htm and http://bible.ovu.edu/terry/ss/otforms.htm); 2) five one-page chapter reports on sixteen chapters of The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict (ch.11-12; ch.13-18; ch.19-20; ch.21-22; ch.23-26); and 3) a four-page lesson on the life of a character in the Pentateuch with an application to Christians today. These are a minimum of full pages, not counting the cover sheet (required) and bibliography (also required). One page is defined as 27 double-spaced typewritten lines (counting the title, but not your name or page numbers) with 1" margins. The typed papers should be written using the Turabian style guide. Exam questions can come from the lectures or assigned readings from either the textbooks or the Pentateuch. The final exam will cover material from the whole course.

Ten points will be given for class participation. Beginning with the second class period, one-third point will be deducted for each non-test class period in which the student fails to bring his or her Bible to class. Beginning with week one, one point will be deducted for each class hour missed (counting each class as 1 hour). Absences due to illness will be counted as excused, but only if I am notified of the illness in a timely manner. Do not come to class sick. Another excused absence will be those missed on official school business with an official notice to this effect; up to five such absences will not count against the student's grade if the student has no unexcused absences. Two grace hours will be given to all students to allow for absences due to illness and excused absences for official school business. Note well: Grace hours will be applied first to excused absences.

Class handouts and homework can be found on the Internet at: "http://bible.ovu.edu/terry/pentateuch/". Homework may be printed out, done early, and turned in up to a week before the due date if the student knows of an absence that is coming up. Late homework is accepted for only half credit.

Additional readings/quizzes/essays/maps may be assigned.

All work is expected to be turned in on time. If for some reason you cannot make the due date, please ask my permission to turn the work in late. Late homework is accepted for only half credit, since the answers will often be given in class. Homework more than three weeks late is accepted for only quarter credit, and that over six weeks late for only one-tenth credit. If you will miss due to a school excused absence, please pick up and turn in the homework early. Realizing that other teachers may assign work due at the same time, I will not dock your grade on the map if it is no more than one (1) week late; however, if it is later than one week, expect to have your grade on that assignment lowered by half. Either of the two major typed papers turned in late will be docked by one-half letter (5%) per class period late. Chapter reports which are late lose one-quarter (25%) credit per class period late to a maximum of 75%. Chapter reports which are short or incomplete (covering only part of the reading) will also lose one-quarter credit.

No paper will be accepted that is more than two weeks late. A paper that is more than one week late may not be rewritten, except in unusual circumstances. A paper must be at least 75% of assigned length in order to be rewritten. The grade on a paper which is rewritten may be increased on content, length, and mechanical errors. Any rewrite should be turned in within two or three weeks of receiving the original graded paper back. All rewrites should be turned in with the original graded paper. No grade will be given to a paper which contains enough mechanical errors to dock the score by a letter grade (i.e., 40 mechanical errors). It will be turned back without a score and the rewrite counted as late. Be sure to proofread and spell check!

Students who are absent on exam days with good reason may schedule a make-up exam within the next week. You must ask to take a make-up exam. If a student misses an exam without good reason and is allowed to take the make-up exam, the grade on that exam will be docked by one letter grade (10 points). There is no guarantee that such a student will be allowed to make up any exam.

Students who score less than a 70 on a major exam may petition to retake the exam within a week after grades are returned on it. The highest grade on any retake exam will be 70. Once again, you must ask to retake an exam. There will be no retakes on the final exam. Study hard for it.

Definition of a Credit Hour

The US Department of Education and OVU's accrediting body, the Higher Learning Commission, have established requirements regarding how much time is required to be spent on a course for each credit hour earned. As a result, all colleges and universities have been required to establish policies that adhere to this definition. In keeping with this requirement, OVU expects you to spend a minimum of two hours outside of class doing course work (reading, doing homework, writing papers, reviewing for tests, etc.) for each hour you spend in the classroom. Because this is a 3-credit hour course, you should expect to spend a minimum of 6 hours each week outside the classroom doing work for it.

Bible Map Instructions

Draw or trace a map of one of the following for 2 bonus points:

1) The Ancient Near East, showing the travels of Abraham


2) Egypt, Sinai, Arabia, and Palestine, showing possible routes of the Exodus

Be sure to label major bodies of water, regions, and cities (especially capitals and those mentioned in the Prophets).

Extra credit may be given for neatness, detail, and good use of color.

N.B. In lieu of drawing or tracing, it is acceptable to photocopy an outline map of the region and fill it in with the above; however, it is not acceptable to photocopy a map which has any of the above marked on it. You must fill it in.

VIII. Grading System:

The final grade will be based on your work in the following way:

          3-page paper on the use of the Law of Moses        7%
          Five 1-page reports on NEDV, ch. 11-26            10%
          4-page lesson on a character in Pentateuch         8%
          Participation inc. Attendance                     10%
          Pop Quizzes/Homework                              15%
          Midterm Exam                                      23%
          Final Exam                                        27%

Only in the area of maps and videos will any extra credit be allowed to exceed these percentages. Your final grade will be A, B, C, D, or F. An A will be given for an average of 100-90, a B for 89-80, a C for 79-70, a D for 69-60, and an F for any average below 60.

IX. Academic Integrity Policy:

Because Ohio Valley University expects students to follow the highest standards of honorable conduct in all areas of life, it is essential that students maintain high standards of academic integrity. Cheating, plagiarizing (whether intentionally misrepresenting another's work as one's own or failing to follow appropriate requirements of documentation), and helping others to cheat or plagiarize are all violations of these standards, as is falsifying records such as those kept for field experiences, practica, internships, etc. Students who engage in these behaviors in a course in which they are enrolled will face appropriate consequences, which could include failing the assignment in question, failing the course, being placed on restricted status (i.e., the student will not be allowed to participate in on-campus activities, including intramurals, and may not represent Ohio Valley University in public events, including athletic competitions, performances, and presentations), or being suspended or dismissed from Ohio Valley University.

Students who engage in these behaviors when they are unrelated to a course in which they are enrolled will also face appropriate consequences, which could include being placed on restricted status or being suspended or dismissed from Ohio Valley University. If a student believes he or she has been falsely accused of academic dishonesty, or if the student believes the consequences of an incident of academic dishonesty are unjust, the student may ask that the situation be reviewed. To ask for a review, the student should give to the provost written notice of the appeal and the reasons for it within three business days of being informed of the consequences of the alleged incident; detailed instructions about the appeal procedure are available in the catalog or from the provost.


Plagiarism is the presentation of another person's work as your own, whether you mean to or not. Copying or paraphrasing passages from another writer's work without acknowledging that you've done so is plagiarism. Translating passages from another writer's work in another language without acknowledging that you've done so is plagiarism. Copying another writer's work without putting the material in quotation marks is plagiarism, even if credit is given. Allowing another writer to write any part of your essay is plagiarism.

Plagiarism is a serious crime. The maximum penalty at OVU is expulsion from the University.

Plagiarism is easy to avoid. Simply acknowledge the source of any words, phrases, or ideas that you use. If you're not sure how to quote or paraphrase a source or if you need help with the format of endnotes or bibliographies, check with me. While you can (and in fact should) seek the help and advice of friends, classmates, and tutors, be sure that your written work is completely your own.

Professional Dress

Students should dress modestly regardless of the type of clothes that they choose, and be aware that first impressions count and are often dictated by clothing choices. Specifically, members of the University community should avoid clothing that is revealing and/or features offensive slogans, language, or advertisements. Examples of revealing clothing include but are not limited to: midriffs or halters, mesh or netted shirts, tube tops, low cut blouses, and short skirts and shorts exposing the upper thigh. Very tight clothing should be avoided. Examples of offensive slogans, language or advertisements include but are not limited to: curse words, sexually suggestive language or gestures, and references to alcohol or drugs.

Electronic Devices

Please turn cell phones OFF or ON SILENT or ON AIRPLANE MODE before entering class. You may place your cell phone on your desk as a clock; otherwise, keep it put away. The use of cell phones, smartwatches, computers, and tablets for texting, calling, emailing, googling, checking the internet, tweeting, using facebook and snapchat, and/or playing games is not permitted; such is distracting both to the students doing such and the students around them. Please put these electronic devices away. Do not use your device out of sight under the desk. If you should use your device in class without the teacher's permission, you will be asked to put it in the teacher's basket for the duration of the class period. I reserve the right to count you absent should you disregard this. Cell phone, smartwatch, or tablet use for voice, text, or data during a test will result in failure of that test!

X. Policy for Attendance and Tardies:

OVU Catalog:

Regular class attendance is most important. There is the potential for learning during each class session, and these opportunities are irreplaceable. By attending class, students have a deeper and richer learning experience, and they are often exposed to others' viewpoints. Instructors are responsible for recording attendance in each of their classes.

Students are responsible for knowing the attendance policy for each course and clearing excused absences with the instructor. Although students involved in Ohio Valley University activities may need to be excused from a class session, it is the student's responsibility to request the absence from the instructor and to discuss with the instructor how the absence may affect the student's ability to meet course requirements. While instructors should make reasonable accommodations for students who miss class because of Ohio Valley University-sponsored activities (e.g., academic competitions, performances, and athletic competitions) or other sound reasons (e.g., illness or family emergencies), students should recognize that not every course can accommodate absences and that neither the absence nor the notification of the absence will relieve the student from meeting course requirements.

A student who stops attending class sessions (or participating in an online course) for three consecutive weeks without a justifiable reason will be dropped from the course and given a grade of W (Withdrawal) if dropped before the 12th week of the semester; if the student is dropped after the 12th week of the semester, the grade will be F-IW (Failure-Improper Withdrawal). If the course in question is a course from which a student may not withdraw, the grade will be F-IW regardless of when in the semester the student is dropped.

Bible Class attendance policy

A student who is dropped from a required Bible course for violating the university's Class Attendance Policy will receive a grade of F-IW. If this is the first time a student has received a final grade of F-IW in a required Bible course, the student will be placed on Bible Course Probation for the next full semester. While on Bible Course Probation, a student will not be allowed to participate in university-sponsored activities, including student organizations and intramurals, and may not hold an elective campus office. In addition, a student on Bible Course Probation will not be allowed to represent Ohio Valley University at various events, including performances (except those required as part of a course), intercollegiate athletics, and other competitions. If this is the second time a student has received a grade of F-IW in a required Bible course, the student will be suspended from the university for one semester. See the catalog section "Bible Class Attendance Policy" for additional details.

Course Policy:

Attendance in class is mandatory; since class participation is part of the basis for the grade given, failure to attend means that you cannot participate in class and earn these points. If you cannot attend for good reason, either notify me beforehand or as soon as possible afterward. This applies even if you have an excused absence. You will be expected to do all work of any classes missed, except for pop quizzes. If you do not intend to attend regularly, kindly withdraw from the class now.

Do NOT miss class simply because you do not have an assignment finished. Do NOT miss class if you can possibly come; save any absences for sickness or death in the family. If you have an extended illness, please contact me to let me know.

Kindly try to be a class on time. If you are consistently tardy for no good reason, I reserve the right to count three tardies as an absence. I do count half and other fractional absences.

If you have to leave early, please inform me before class. Do not schedule extra work, doctor's appointments, etc. during class time if at all possible. If you are too frequent in leaving early, I reserve the right to count early departures as a partial absence, adversely affecting your grade.

Absences may be excused if you bring me documentation that you were hospitalized, ill with a contagious disease, involved in an accident, on school business (up to five hours), or there was a death in the immediate family. More than five hours of absences which include three hours of unexcused absence will result in your being dropped from the course with either a W or an F at my discretion. You may pay a fine and petition to be reinstated. Additional unexcused absences will result in your being dropped without future reinstatement. No credit will be given for a course in which absences, both excused and unexcused, total more than 30% of the hours of the course (i.e., as many as 15 class hours, counting each class as 1½ hours). Should you approach this limit, you will be asked to withdraw from the course (if possible). I reserve the right to drop you from the course as a warning once you have at least 5 total absences or 3 unexcused absences. If you are dropped for any reason, reinstatement is not guaranteed and will be granted only if a plan for success is presented. Note well: Absences may adversely affect your grade, as outlined above under the topic Course Requirements. A drop from your only Bible course may affect your ability to enroll in the next semester.

Please turn off cell phones before entering class. If you should have wireless service in the classroom, do not use your messaging service on your laptop or PDA. I reserve the right to count you absent should you disregard this. Cell phone use for voice or text during a test will result in failure of that test.


If (and only if) you are unable to complete assigned work for the class because of an extraordinary life-event, you may request a grade of Incomplete. The request must be made through the registrar's office seven calendar days prior to the last day of class, and the provost reviews these requests. The procedure is defined in the OVU catalog.

XI. Compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):

If you have a diagnosed disability and need special accommodations, please notify the office of the provost as soon as possible. After your disability has been verified, I will work with you and the provost to insure that you have a fair opportunity to perform in the course.

XII. Bibliography:


XIII. Course Calendar:

MAJOR EXAM DATES:   Midterm Exam -- Monday, March 1, 2021
                    Final Exam -- Monday, May 3, 2021
                                  1:00 - 2:50 p.m.

Course Plan

 1/11/21 -- Introduction to the Course
            homework: skim read EDV, Sec. II, ch. 14-17
 1/13/21 -- Documentary Hypothesis

            homework: read IOT or OTI on Genesis; read Gen. 1-2
 1/21/21 -- Overview of Genesis/Creation

            homework: read Gen. 3-4
 1/25/21 -- Creation and First Sin
            homework: read Gen. 6-9
                      write report on NEDV, Sec. II, chaps. 11-12
 1/27/21 -- Flood

            homework: read Gen. 11:1-9
 2/ 1/21 -- Babel
            homework: read Gen. 11:27-ch. 10
                      write report on NEDV, Sec. II, chaps. 13-18
 2/ 3/21 -- Abraham

            homework: read Gen. 20-23
                      draw map for 2 bonus points
 2/ 8/21 -- Abraham
            homework: read Gen. 24-29
                      write report on NEDV, Sec. II, chaps. 19-20
 2/10/21 -- Issac and Jacob

            homework: read Gen. 30-32
 2/15/21 -- Jacob
            homework: read Gen 33-40
                      write report on NEDV, Sec. II, chaps. 21-22
 2/17/21 -- Jacob and Joseph

            homework: read Gen. 41-44
 2/22/21 -- Joseph
            homework: read Gen. 45-50
                      write report on NEDV, Sec. II, chaps. 23-26
 2/24/21 -- Joseph

            homework: study for test
 3/ 1/21 -- Midterm Exam

            homework: read IOT or OTI on Exodus
 3/ 8/21 -- Overview of Exodus
            homework: read Ex. 1-8
 3/10/21 -- Moses' birth and call/Ten plagues

            homework: read Ex. 9-15
 3/15/21 -- Ten plagues/Exodus from Egypt
            homework: read Ex. 16-19
 3/17/21 -- Exodus from Egypt

            homework: read Ex. 20-24
                      write 3-page paper on the use of the OT
 3/22/21 -- Ten Commandments and other laws
            homework: skim read Ex. 25-40
 3/24/21 -- The tabernacle

            homework: read IOT or OTI on Leviticus
                      skim read Lev. 1-93
 3/29/21 -- Overview of Leviticus/Sacrifices
            homework: read Lev. 10-16, 18-19
 3/31/21 -- Laws about purification, sex, holiness/Day of Atonement

            homework: read Lev. 23, 25
 4/ 5/21 -- Feasts
            homework: read IOT or OTI on Numbers
 4/ 7/21 -- Overview of Numbers
Last Day to Drop a Class with a "W"--Stick with it to the end!

            homework: read Num. 10:11-ch. 14, 16-17, 20-25
 4/12/21 -- Wilderness Journeys
            homework: read Num. 5, 15:37, 18, 28, 30
                      write 4-page lesson on OT character
 4/14/21 -- Various Laws

            homework: read Deut. 1-11; IOT or OTI on Deuteronomy
 4/19/21 -- Overview of Deuteronomy / Initial sermon of Moses
            homework: read Deut. 12-18
 4/21/21 -- Second Law

            homework: read Deut. 19-30
 4/26/21 -- Second Law
            homework: read Deut. 31-34
 4/28/21 -- Conclusion

WEEK SIXTEEN: Final Exam Week
            homework: study for final exam
 5/ 3/21 -- Final Exam (3:00-4:50 p.m.)

N. B.: Homework is listed before the class for which it is due!


This syllabus is on-line at http://bterry.com.

Bruce Terry's Home Page
Bruce Terry's Home Page   Class Index Page
http://www.bterry.com/sylbi313.htm hosted at http://bible.ovu.edu/terry/sylbi313.htm
Last updated on January 8, 2021
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