Old Testament scholarship is concerned with the texts which represent the first and earlier part of the Christian canon. These texts are traditional material of various origins, which was handed down in oral and written form over a very long period of time.
The aim of Old Testament scholarship is to describe this process of growth and to reconstruct the meaning or, respectively, the change of meaning that this material has undergone in the course of this process.
Within the academic discipline of theology, Old Testament scholarship has a crucial function in that it asserts the historical character of the Old Testament texts as employed within the Christian and non-Christian traditions and offsets attempts at unreflecting appropriation of the material.
Old Testament scholarship is divided into a number of sub-disciplines, some of which have developed into independent scholarly disciplines as a result of the trend towards academic specialisation: these include Biblical Archaeology, History of Ancient Israel, History of Old Testament Literature and Theology, History of the Religion of Ancient Israel within the context of the religious history of the ancient Near East and Hebraic Studies.
Biblical Archaeology explores the archaeology of the region of the southern Levant from the beginnings of the first settlements in the Stone Age to the Ottoman era. There is a close interdisciplinary connection to the other disciplines within the field of ancient oriental archaeology.
Archaeological scholarship provides us with a completely autonomous route of access to the historical realities behind the Biblical texts. It thus enables us to evaluate the written material and to more clearly and precisely determine the perspectives and intentions guiding these texts.