How are these Biblical heroes characterized: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses?

ENG 275 Writing Assignment: First Essay

I would like you to work with characterization in your first essay. Characterization is the way writers create, reveal, and develop characters. In the Bible, character is revealed, mostly, through actions and conversations (dialogue). These actions and words often have resonant symbolic implications. I?m going to give you four ways to explore characterization in the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch or Torah.

1. Explore God as a character in relationship to these characters in the Bible: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses. How does he behave toward each of these figures? What does he say to them and how does he say it? What does he want from them and for them? Discuss his relationship with each and as a group.

2. God presents different faces, different sides of his character, in the Torah, the Pentateuch. For example, he is a creator (Gen. 1), but he is also a destroyer and a warrior (Num. 21). He can be seen as a loving father, a bumbler, a demanding father. Discuss some of God?s personalities by describing them and providing examples from the first five book of the Bible.

3. How are these Biblical heroes characterized: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses? Is each dynamic or static? Do they grow and learn or do they remain essentially the same? How might each be thought as heroic, showing courage, nobility, loyalty, morality, wisdom, or some other heroic trait? What seems to be the essential quality of each? Do these qualities suggest what might be the nature of a Biblical hero?

4. How are these women in the Bible presented: Sara, Rebekah, Rachel, Leah, Haggar, Tamar, Potiphar?s wife, and Zipporah? Are these characters round or flat, multidimensional or one-dimensional? Are they dynamic or static? What problems do they have in their lives and with each other? What does each want and what qualities do they present, admirable or otherwise? What can you say about the portrayal of women in the Bible based on these characters?

I want you to use the MLA format in this essay for in-text citations. The attached handout should help you here. If not, refer to virtually any current college handbook. This is the URL to The Owl at Purdue website that can help you on MLA format issues: I do not want a works cited page, but I also do not want to have to leaf through the texts to find where your summary, paraphrase, or quotation came from.

Remember: You?re writing an essay. This means you should have a title that forecasts your thesis, an engaging introduction with a thesis (a point), a body developed by example, and a conclusion that enhances your thesis.

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