The Department was established in 1908 and has an exceptional academic history, especially in indigenous Bible translation and in certain specialised fields of biblical exposition (Exegesis). In close cooperation with the Department of Semitic Languages (currently Ancient Languages) in the Faculty of Humanities the Department has built a national and international academic stature. As a Department which is part of a multi-church Faculty in Africa providing ministerial education, Old Testament Studies has its own vision, namely:
- to present excellent education in Old Testament Studies,
- to conduct world recognised research on selected Old Testament study fields;
- to deliver meaningful service in the community; and
- to pursue ongoing staff development and specialisation.
In realising the above vision the Department commits itself to the mission of:
- Innovative and excellent teaching for under- and postgraduates which meets international standards; annual video-conferences on current relevantthemes between student groups of the Department and other international universities.
- Quality research, inter alia, via ProPent, ProPsalms, ProProf and Second Temple Literature annual international seminars on current scholarly themes by involving national and internationalscholars; publishing more in international journals, conference proceedings and books.
- Promoting a relevant and structured research culture by identifying possible postgraduate students in their third and fourth year of study; appointing national and international research associates; developing young scholars by conducting regular postgraduate seminars and meetings; involving emeriti and extraordinary professors and postdoctoral fellows in lectures, seminars, conferences and research activities.
- Increase international profile and involvement through attending international conferences and specialised seminars, publishing internationally, the appointment of international extraordinary professors and building the international profile through the Old Testament website OTNET.
- Increase African involvement, especially through the academic activities of the establishedGroup for Contextual Hermeneutics (Prof J Muyo – Cameroon, Prof E Usue – Nigeria, Dr O Mojola – Kenya, Drs J Matembo – Zambia; Drr SS Ndoga, E Lebaka; D Sebola, T Liphazi in cooperation with international scholars like Proff D Markl [Berkeley, USA] and E Otto - Munich, Germany); exchange of lecturers for specialised study fields (e.g. Protestant University of Cameroon).
- Constructive community involvement in broader communities on a local and national level (e.g. Bible translation, congregational activities, Bible schools, ecclesiastic-specific theological training; and
- Personal and academic development of staff members to create a working environment which stimulates creativity and a happy workforce.