Explore the discipline of biblical criticism.

In this paper, you will further explore the discipline of biblical criticism introduced in our class. For this paper, you will write on a scripture passage chosen from a list provided by the instructor. You will be assigned a passage through an in class process which will take into account student preferences. The purpose of the paper is for you to research and then report on scholarly views on your scriptural passage.
Your paper should answer the following questions about your scriptural passage:

Origins: As far as we know, who was the author of this text? When was it written? For what purpose was it written, and what do we know about the social situation the author was writing in?
Sources: As far as we know, did this passage originate from sources older than the present book in which it is found? What do we know about the editing process that led this passage to be included in the book in which it is found, in the place where it is found?
Insights: Based on your research, what are some insights that biblical criticism provides into the meaning or significance of this passage? These insights can be gained from the close study of the words of the passage, a study of its form or genre, research into the social and historical context of the passage, etc. (This section should take up the majority of the paper)

For your research, you should draw on some of the scholarly yet accessible resources available in our library. You should draw on at least three of the following sources for your paper. The following commentaries are available in the reference section of the library (library call numbers are listed):

The Collegeville Bible Commentary. BS 491.2 C66 REF
The Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible. BS 491.3 E37 REF
Harper’s Bible Commentary. BS 491.2 H295 REF
The International Bible Commentary. BS 511.2 I57 REF
The New Interpreter’s Bible: A Commentary in Twelve Volumes. BS 491.2 N484 REF
The New Jerome Biblical Commentary. BS 491.2 N485 REF
The Oxford Bible Commentary. BS 491.3 O94 REF

The following commentaries are also available online through the library catalog:

The Believers Church Bible Commentary (This one has separate volumes for different books of the Bible, but not every book is included)
The Oxford Bible Commentary

As you use these resources, keep in mind that you will need to look for both general information on the book in which your passage is found (for example, Exodus or Luke) as well as for more specific information on your specific passage. Most commentaries will include general information on a book at the beginning of the essay and then analyze the book chapter by chapter. Also keep in mind that some of these resources might not cover your passage exactly, so you may have to look at multiple sections to find the information you need.
Your paper should be between 3 and 5 pages in length, 12 points in a standard font, double-spaced. Your paper should have an introduction describing the relevance of your topic and a thesis statement summarizing the whole of your argument. Each paragraph should have a topic sentence that summarizes what the paragraph is about, and the paragraph should center on that topic. The paragraphs of your paper should follow a logical order. You will be graded on these elements, as well as on spelling and grammar. You are also expected to make footnotes for any quotations or other references that you use, and have a works cited page. You should follow the Turabian style of citations. Examples for the footnotes and works cited page are listed below.
This short paper, like all assignments in this class, is meant to evaluate your progress in achieving certain goals of the class. The relevant goals are to recognize the major questions and methods of theology, to acquire the skills necessary to critically read and interpret the Christian scriptures, and to develop one’s own writing and critical reasoning skills. Therefore these form the basis for how your paper will be evaluated, as described in the attached chart.

Citation Examples

Walter Dietrich, “1 and 2 Kings,” in Oxford Bible Commentary, ed. John Barton and John Muddiman (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 254.
(Note that here the page number at the end is the page where you find a specific piece of information used in your paper.)

Works Cited
Dietrich, Walter. “1 and 2 Kings.” In Oxford Bible Commentary, ed. John Barton and John Muddiman, 232-66. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.
(Note that here the page numbers in the middle are the entire page range for this essay.)

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