Summer Resources for Year 13s: Edition Two – Biblical Studies (Hebrew Bible and New Testament)

Welcome to the second blogpost of summer resources! As I said in the previous post, this is a collection of resources we in the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Exeter have put together to give you a few things to mull over while you are waiting to start studying Theology and Religion. This post is focused on Biblical Studies, both Hebrew Bible and New Testament. When you’re your first year at Exeter you will study two modules which both combine analysis of the Hebrew Bible and New Testament: ‘Introduction to Histories and Literatures of the Bible’, and ‘The Bible: Past and Present’. Enjoy!


To get started here are the three episodes that make up a BBC documentary series called The Bible’s Buried Secrets presented by our very own Prof Francesca Stavakopoulou:

Episode 1:

Did King David’s Empire Exist?

Episode 2:

Did God have a Wife?

Episode 3:

The Real Garden of Eden

The second episode is particularly useful for ‘The Bible: Past and Present’.

If you’re interested in looking at the archaeological evidence that tells what Jesus might have looked like this YouTube video is really interesting: Joan E. Taylor – What Did Jesus Look Like?


Joan Taylor has also made a documentary with another biblical scholar, Helen Bond, about Jesus’s female disciples: The traditional story of the birth of Christianity is dominated by men, but were female disciples crucial to Jesus’ mission? And why has the role those women played disappeared from history? Bible experts and historians Helen Bond and Joan Taylor take to the road to find out. You can find Jesus’ Female Disciples: The New Evidence on Box of Broadcasts (log in with your school details).


If art is where you’re at, the Visual Commentary on Scripture (VCS) is a freely accessible online publication that provides theological commentary on the Bible in dialogue with works of art. Have a look around the exhibitions on This resource may also be helpful for ‘The Bible: Past and Present’.




If you fancy listening to a few BBC podcasts with a cup of tea and a biscuit here are a few you might enjoy:

New Testament:

Mary Magdalene




Hebrew Bible:

King Solomon

The Devil

The Fall


One major and excellent resource is the Bible Odyssey site produced by the Society for Biblical Literature, a US-based international society for scholars in biblical studies and related areas. The site contains short articles, videos, and resources produced by scholars in the field.

Among many interesting entries, to shape your early study of the origins of Christianity and the New Testament texts, you could begin by looking at these entries:

Jesus, Paul, Peter, early Christian converts, synoptic problem, Pauline letters and the gospels, women in early Christianity.

Once you’ve begun to find your way around the site, you will find lots more items to pique your interest!


If you just want to read a good old fashioned book then short introductions are a good way to begin your entry into this subject area, for example:

Luke Timothy Johnson, The New Testament: a Very Short Introduction (Oxford: OUP, 2011).

It is also available as an audiobook!

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