REL Research Paper Guidelines and Assessment Rubric. Guidelines

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1 REL Research Paper Guidelines and Assessment Rubric Guidelines In order to assess the degree of your overall progress over the entire semester, you are expected to write an exegetical paper for your Research Paper Assignment. The final exegetical paper must be a minimum of 3000 words in length. Exegesis literally means drawing out in Greek. In contemporary biblical scholarship exegesis means the exposition of a biblical text by explaining its original meaning in terms of the author s purpose and the original audience, frequently with the goal of applying scripture to the task of theology and/or to ministry, homiletics/preaching, spirituality, life, worship and/or other praxis (practical theology). The opposite of exegesis is eisagesis, or reading into the text what one wants to make the text say, and ignoring the original meaning of the text being employed. In writing this exegetical paper, you will choose a passage from the following list of texts of the Pauline Letters in the New Testament. You will then research and write an analysis of the text in order to: (a) discover and present what the passage meant to its original hearers in its original context and (b) interpret this original meaning theologically and practically for the reader today. The exegetical paper should primarily be an exploration into, discovery of, and explanation of the original meaning of the text, and the defense of the explanation using both extra-textual and intra-textual evidence. Extra-textual evidence includes what we know about the historical and contextual situation behind the passage, what we know about the life and work of Paul in general (if applicable), the oral and written sources underlying the passage (if applicable), the genre of the passage, what situation occasioned the writing of the passage, Paul s/original author s own situation, beliefs and purposes for writing (what the author was trying to accomplish by writing the letter), as well as the original audience and their situation. Intra-textual evidence includes ideas, topics and themes in the larger book as a whole, literary and narrative structure, rhetorical structure and literary devices, as well as an analysis of wording and grammar of the specific passage. This means that the exegetical paper should not be an interpretation without any evidence. The exegetical paper must justify and defend the interpretation of the literal meaning presented, using the course content materials, and bibliographical literature consulted, relevant to the passage. This also means that any theological conclusions or practical applications of the text should come first and foremost from the results of the process of exegesis and interpretation just outlined. Spiritual meanings and practical applications of the text must be founded upon the literal meaning of the text. Jumping ahead to theological and practical conclusions without a proper exegetical foundation essentially divorces the Bible from the people to whom it is addressed in the present. Sources for the Final Research Paper: At the end of the fourth module, you will submit to the instructor, a text and bibliography/works cited list or peer-reviewed scholarly articles that you plan to reference in your paper. The exegetical paper must contain a bibliography/works cited list including at least five credible academic sources from peerreviewed scholarly articles or books. For distance learners, such sources can easily be obtained in electronic form from Saint Leo University s Cannon Memorial Library and the instructor s LibGuide. No websites other than those used in the required readings, are acceptable sources for the exegetical paper unless they have been vetted and permitted by the instructor. Every source in the bibliography must be used and cited at least once in the final paper.

2 Although the exegetical paper is due near the end of the course, you are encouraged to start work on the paper as early as possible and continue working on it throughout the semester. Below is a table indicating the Research Paper assignments, their due dates, and method of submission. Assignment Due date Method of Submission Submit topic of your choice to your instructor Sunday at 11:59PM EST/EDT of Module 2 Send course to your instructor Submit bibliography/ works Sunday at 11:59PM Dropbox cited list EST/EDT of Module 4 Submit final Research Paper Sunday at 11:59PM EST/EDT of Module 7 Dropbox Possible Texts for the Exegetical Paper: Romans 2: Corinthians 11:1 33 Romans 3:1 31 Romans 4:1 25 Galatians 3: Corinthians 7:1 40 Galatians 4: Corinthians 11:17 34 Ephesians 2: Corinthians 15:1 34 Philippians 2: Corinthians 5:1 21 Colossians 2: Thessalonians 2: Thessalonians 3:1 -- 4:12 1 Thessalonians 4:13 5:11 2 Thessalonians 2: Timothy 2: Timothy 3:1 17 Titus 2:1 15 Paper Organization: If a paper cannot be outlined, the organization is likely to be weak. Paragraphs should have a topic sentence and paragraphs should be related to an overall purpose expressed through a thesis sentence. The author of an exegetical paper is trying to justify an interpretation of a passage of scripture. Thus, one good approach is to state the main point or points of the passage in an introductory paragraph, along with a brief synopsis of how the paper intends to prove that this interpretation is the correct one. Then, since it makes sense to work chronologically through a passage of scripture, each paragraph or larger section of the paper would then explain exactly how specific verses or sections of the passage contribute to the overall main point or points being made by the original author. In doing so, the author could incorporate and use the relevant historical background and biblical scholarship material relevant to understanding the passage s original meaning. Again, this should involve using extra-textual evidence in terms what we know about the historical and contextual situation behind the passage, the oral and written sources underlying the passage, the genre of the passage, what situation occasioned the writing of the passage, the original author s own situation, beliefs and purposes for writing, as well as the original audience and their situation. This would also include intra-textual evidence, which includes ideas, topics and themes in the larger book as a whole, literary and narrative structure, as well as an analysis of wording and grammar of the specific passage. Finally, the conclusion would reiterate the overall main point or points of the scripture passage, and briefly summarize the main reasons and evidences used to support it.

3 Assessment Rubric 1 The Superior Paper: Historical-Critical Content: Includes a thorough and completely accurate discussion of the historical-critical content relevant for understanding the passage, including: (1) the date, authorship, original audience, provenance, historical occasion, purpose, agenda and main themes of the biblical book as determined by modern biblical scholarship; (2) a discussion of oral (form criticism) and written sources (source criticism) if relevant to the passage; (3) a discussion of the editing of the sources (redaction criticism) if relevant to the passage; (4) a discussion of the author s perspective and interpretation of the material narrated (narrative criticism) if relevant to the passage; (5) a discussion of the literary devices used if relevant to the passage; brings this historical information to bear insightfully and creatively on the original meaning of the text Ideas: Excels in assignment (applying the exegetical method to particular Biblical passage); able to limit material so that it is manageable; appropriately identifies and defines key terms; able to identify complex issues; may acknowledge limitations or contradictions in secondary literature; understands and critically evaluates sources Structure and argumentation: Able to guide the reader through a progression of ideas or chain of reasoning; utilizes appropriate transitions from one idea to another; conclusions flow clearly from the argument presented, deals with the key issues no glaring points left out Research: Utilizes both primary and secondary materials and includes a range of sources from both academic journals and books; supports arguments with sufficient evidence; the evidence reflects an awareness of multiple views; the bibliography is complete Practical Theological Application: Draws out the contemporary theological and practical implications of the text in an insightful, creative way; soundly grounded in the exegesis Style: Engages reader; displays nuances; chosen words display a precision of meaning; language and style appropriate for an academic paper Mechanics: Almost entirely free of grammatical, punctuation, spelling, and formatting errors Sources: Has significantly more academic sources than the minimum requirement, citing each source at least once in the body of the paper Length: Significantly over the minimum length (word count) 1 Based on the rubric available at: with modifications.

4 The Good Paper: Historical-Critical Content: Includes a fairly comprehensive and reasonably accurate discussion of the historical-critical content relevant for understanding the passage, which might include: (1) the date, authorship, original audience, provenance, historical occasion, purpose, agenda and main themes of the biblical book as determined by modern biblical scholarship; (2) a discussion of oral (form criticism) and written sources (source criticism) if relevant to the passage; (3) a discussion of the editing of the sources (redaction criticism) if relevant to the passage; (4) a discussion of the author s perspective and interpretation of the material narrated (narrative criticism) if relevant to the passage; (5) a discussion of the literary devices used if relevant to the passage; brings this historical information to bear on understanding the original meaning of the text Ideas: Responds appropriately to the assignment (applying the exegetical method to particular Biblical passage); able to limit scope so that it is manageable; identifies and defines most key terms; recognizes complex issues; may acknowledge other points of view; demonstrates a careful reading of sources but may not evaluate them critically Structure and argumentation: For the most part well-reasoned, but may wander or confuse the reader at times; uses poor transitions, in some cases, from one idea to another; conclusions flow from the argument presented; the key arguments have been made with some points left out Research: Utilizes a wide variety of sources; supports arguments with proper evidence; the evidence reflects an awareness of multiple views; the bibliography is complete Practical Theological Application: Draws out some contemporary theological and practical implications of the text in a way that is still at least partially in the results of the exegesis of the text Style: Presents a reasonable analysis; displays nuances; generally uses words accurately; language and style appropriate for an academic paper Mechanics: Has some grammatical, punctuation, spelling, or formatting errors, which while distracting, do not impede the reader s comprehension Sources: Has at least or slight more academic sources than the minimum requirement, citing each source at least once in the body of the paper Length: Over the minimum length (word count) The Fair Paper: Historical-Critical Content: Includes a discussion of at least some of the historicalcritical content relevant for understanding the passage, which might include: (1) the date, authorship, original audience, provenance, historical occasion, purpose, agenda and main themes of the biblical book as determined by modern biblical scholarship; (2) a discussion of oral (form criticism) and written sources (source criticism) if relevant to the passage; (3) a discussion of the editing of the sources (redaction criticism) if relevant to the passage; (4) a discussion of the author s perspective and interpretation of the material narrated (narrative criticism) if relevant to the passage; (5) a discussion of the literary devices used if relevant to the passage. Tries to use some of this historical information to understand the original meaning of the text Ideas: Assignment is fairly clear (applying the exegetical method to particular Biblical passage); scope may be too broad to properly manage; some key terms may

5 be misunderstood or unrecognized; fails to recognize complex issues; may resort to clichés and platitudes; may not recognize or engage opposing views Structure and argumentation: Lack of a logical structure to guide the reader; offers some transitions but may lack logical flow; conclusion may wander into a new topic and fail to flow from the argument presented; has missed some key arguments; paragraphs may lack coherence Research: Defends arguments from personal opinion or assumes evidence without offering proper support; offers quotations without relating them to the argument being made; shows a lack of awareness of competing ideas; limited scope of research reflected in the bibliography Practical Theological Application: Tries to offer some contemporary theological and / or practical applications, but in a way that is very loosely or barely grounded in the results of the exegesis of the text Style: Paper uses generalities and clichés; words often lack precision of meaning; language and style at times may reflect colloquial habits that are inappropriate for an academic paper Mechanics: Grammatical, punctuation, spelling, or formatting errors exists that may slow the reader s ability to comprehend Sources: Has the minimum required number of academic sources, citing each source at least once in the body of the paper Length: At least the minimum length (word count) The Poor Paper: Historical-Critical Content: Has very little discussion of at least some of the historical-critical content relevant for understanding the passage, which might include: (1) the date, authorship, original audience, provenance, historical occasion, purpose, agenda and main themes of the biblical book as determined by modern biblical scholarship; (2) a discussion of oral (form criticism) and written sources (source criticism) if relevant to the passage; (3) a discussion of the editing of the sources (redaction criticism) if relevant to the passage; (4) a discussion of the author s perspective and interpretation of the material narrated (narrative criticism) if relevant to the passage; (5) a discussion of the literary devices used if relevant to the passage. Very little use of this historical information to understand the original meaning of the text Ideas: Demonstrates some information but has failed to fully respond to the assignment (applying the exegetical method to particular Biblical passage); may lack a manageable focus; misunderstands some key terms; approaches complex issues in a simplistic manner; may misunderstand sources Structure and argumentation: Paper lacks coherent organization; paragraphs may wander into unrelated ideas; minimal use of transitions; conclusion lacks support Research: General failure to properly support argument; dismissive of other ideas without understanding them; the bibliography has notable gaps Practical Theological Application: Little or no contemporary theological and / or practical applications, and if there are such attempts at applications, the applications are not grounded in the results of the exegesis of the text

6 Style: Tedious sentences and paragraphs; improper use of words; language and style inappropriate for an academic paper Mechanics: Grammatical, punctuation, spelling, and formatting errors greatly impede the reader s ability to comprehend the argument Sources: Has the minimum or slightly less than required number of academic sources, and does not cite each source at least once in the body of the paper Length: Is the minimum length (word count) or slightly less than the minimum length The Unacceptable Paper Historical-Critical Content: Has absolutely no discussion of the historical-critical content relevant for understanding the passage, which should include: (1) the date, authorship, original audience, provenance, historical occasion, purpose, agenda and main themes of the biblical book as determined by modern biblical scholarship; (2) a discussion of oral (form criticism) and written sources (source criticism) if relevant to the passage; (3) a discussion of the editing of the sources (redaction criticism) if relevant to the passage; (4) a discussion of the author s perspective and interpretation of the material narrated (narrative criticism) if relevant to the passage; (5) a discussion of the literary devices used if relevant to the passage. No use of this historical information to understand the original meaning of the text Ideas: Fails to meet the expectations outlined for the assignment (applying the exegetical method to particular Biblical passage); offers no analysis or synthesizing Structure and argumentation: Paper lacks logical coherence; structure is confusing to reader Research: Lacks supporting evidence; the bibliography demonstrates a lack of proper research Practical Theological Application: No contemporary theological or practical applications of the text Style: Critical flaws in English sentence structure and word choice Mechanics: Grammatical, punctuation, spelling, and formatting errors make the paper unreadable Sources: Has significantly fewer than the minimum required number of academic sources or no sources, and does not cite sources in the body of the paper Length: Significantly shorter than the minimum length (low word count)

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