The purpose of the "Portrait of a City Project" is to give the student the opportunity to develop proficiency in analyzing the material culture in which a given Biblical text (or set of texts) arose.
Unlike the exegetical project, where one is expected to apply all the various methods of Biblical exegesis and interpretation that have been surveyed in this seminar, this paper permits the student to focus on archaeology, epigraphy, palaeography, and/or social history, using whatever methods of textual analysis are necessary to corroborate and help interpret the material remains.
When using textual data in your analysis, you must demonstrate your awareness of the contemporary critical approaches we have studied and how they apply to your analysis of the site you have selected as the focus of your research. (NB: This applies to non-canonical texts as well as the canonical ones.) For example:
You will not be expected to do a detailed analysis of such texts (otherwise, you would end up with an exegetical project rather than this one), but there must be evidence that you understand how and when to use the methods we have studied, and what one gains from the dialogue between the material culture and pertinent, critically-appropriated literary evidence from that same time and place.
A basic outline of a final "portrait" project is as follows:
Ideally, even the rough draft of the project should include all these components, but it must include at least the thesis statement and #2.
As indicated in the syllabus, the project will be graded in six stages, weighted according to the course grading schedule. Deadlines for the various stages of the paper are indicated in the Course Schedule.
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