The Hebrew Bible/Old Testament track is intended to prepare the student to do research in this field, to teach in an academic setting, and to engage in other professional work for which strong competence in biblical studies would be important. Areas of strength in the Duke program include Pentateuch, prophecy, wisdom literature, Hebrew narrative, biblical archaeology, gender in ancient Israel, text criticism and Septuagint, the apocalyptic literature, Qumran, and history of interpretation. Although diverse in its interests, the faculty has broad expertise in literary, social science, text-critical, and theological methodologies.
For their dissertation projects, students are encouraged to pursue their studies in non-traditional as well as traditional ways and to utilize established as well as newer approaches to understanding the Hebrew Bible and the culture of ancient Israel.
Prospective students must have a strong background in Hebrew, with at least two years of course work being desirable. In addition, applicants to the program are expected to have completed an introductory course in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament as well as several subsequent thematic, methodological, and/or exegetical courses in Hebrew scripture. It is strongly recommended that incoming students will have done some work in Greek and in German.