Bible Studies - Book Overview
A review depends on an engaged dialogue between the text and the reader; it should include your own evidence-based analysis and conclusion. (The evidence is the text of the book.) It should be modeled on good published reviews, and should include analytical reporting of the contents, including identifying important structural and thematic elements and discussion of genre, &c. It should also include some critical judgments, e.g., does the book succeed in reaching its goal? Is the book's thesis or goal a good one? Your review will involve no or very little secondary research (limit yourself to specific, necessary points). Do not tell me what others say the book is about. Read it and see for yourself. Do not simply record contents; report critically and analyze. Cite anything you use — but you may not need any outside sources.
Format. Your title should reflect your main point. The paper should be well-structured, reflecting a logical outline. The introductory paragraph should introduce your project, and include the name of the book, the methods you will use in reviewing it, why the book and your analysis are interesting, and your thesis or main point or focus. The paragraphs of the body of your paper should follow the line of your argument, and each should be like a link in a chain, clear and focused in itself and connected to what comes before and after. They should lead the reader to your concluding paragraph, which should review your argument and how it supports your thesis or main point or focus. Paragraphs should be fairly short and focused: about three paragraphs per page is a good general rule.
Constantly cite evidence to support your analysis, either by quotation or reference; in either case, explicitly cite chapter and verse, like this: Book ch#: vs# – vs#. E.g., Amos 5: 4–12 or 2 Samuel 7:8–9:5 (ch 7 vs 8 through ch 9 vs 5).
IV: Final: This will be based on the 11 starred texts on which you write discernments, and adjustments may be made given constraints of on-line teaching. The plan now is that names of eight of them will be given. You are to identify the books indicated, drawing on your reading of the biblical text and NOAB essays, your reading in HBD, and your notes of class discussion. I.e., your identifications should reflect the methods and material learned in class, and not prior experience nor simplistic sources. Show what you have learned in this class.
Specific directions of material to cover in an answer will be given in class. This will include required material on the Four Document Hypothesis and the Two Source Hypothesis.
V: Learning Goals for this course include, among others:
A: Gain familiarity with a wide range of biblical texts, through reading and discussion, including:
1: Learn to discern different genres of biblical texts, including narrative (in various forms), prophecy, epistle, apocalyptic, &c.
2: Learn to discern different motifs & themes, within a text and running through multiple texts
3: Learn to discern structural or organizational elements of a text
B: Learn how to analyze the individual book, on its own and as a whole
C: Learn how to take pertinent notes, ask questions, and make effective use of instructional time
D: Learn how to engage with the textual evidence directly, not depending on outside sources
E: Learn proper format for citing Biblical texts, generally Book ch#: vs# – vs#
F: Learn to write briefly, reporting and discussing a text's main point or outstanding feature
G: Learn to write an organized & well-written paper analyzing a particular biblical book,
i.e., a book review of that book.
H: Learn to improve writing by responding to feedback on previous discernments or first paper.