Qualifying Examinations

The qualifying examinations in OT/HB are taken after the conclusion of required course work and must be completed before admission to candidacy. The scope and focus of each examination is a matter of discussion and negotiation with the individual examiners. In preparation for the general examination, the student should aim for an up-to-date survey knowledge and an orientation to (but not expertise in) the problems that have concerned scholarship. The examination is not meant to test the student’s ability as a research scholar, for this is done in research papers and the dissertation. Rather, its purpose is to certify preparedness to begin special research and to construct one’s own courses as a teacher.
Ordinarily, students take their qualifying exams in their third year of residence and on the following schedule: First semester: 1) a written exam in Hebrew language covering translation and linguistic analysis of Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic prose and poetry. Unpointed Second-Temple Hebrew texts are also included in the exam; and 2) a written exam in text criticism; and in the Second semester: 3) a written exam covering (a) Israelite history, (b) Israelite literature, (c) Israelite religion, and (d) a topic of the student’s own choosing; and 4) an oral examination covering the entire field.