18 October 2006
In 1500-25000 words, demonstrate your command of contemporary critical methods
of Biblical study by writing an exegetical essay covering the following aspects
of your chosen pericope. Give specific references to the passage to support
your conclusions. Include answers to each of the following questions:
- What are the immediate and wider literary contexts for this pericope?
- In what way(s) is this an appropriate or inappropriate division for the
- What textual
critical issues (including parallels) are raised by this pericope? How
are these textual critical issues or parallels significant?
- Where and when was this pericope written?
- Who comprise the intended audience, and what do we know about them? What
is the immediate social context (class status, ethnic identity, economic level,
etc.) for this work?
- What do we know about the author of this pericope?
- What specific event(s) in the life of the author and contemporaries
gave rise to this work? What is the wider historical context for this work
(i.e., what is happening in the world at large)?
- What is the literary
genre of the document in which we find this passage? What is the
original (oral) form
for this specific passage?
- What sources
did the author use in writing this passage, and how did she/he shape
them for this particular context?
- What key terms do you find in this passage, and how would the author define
- What is the central idea of this pericope (i.e., what should the audience
- What is the author's apparent aim in this passage (i.e., what action
should the audience initiate and/or cease doing)?
What does the author do (or omit) to make this passage persuasive
(or not) to the initial readers?
- What in this passage might be persuasive to a contemporary audience?
How so? What in this passage might a contemporary audience find lacking or
problematic? How so?
- In what specific ways has this historical reading of your text added to
your understanding of the passage? (NB: If you are inclined
to say that this passage "means basically the same thing" to contemporary
readers as it did to the ancient audience, it is a sign that you have not
done your job in Qs 1-13 and need to try again from the top.)
- This essay will be graded on content, quality and clarity of expression.
- If the essay were worth 50 points, the score would be weighted three
points each for #1-10 & five points each for #11-14)
- Points will be deducted for errors in format,
grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc.
- As always, a minimum of six (6) scholarly journal articles or commentaries
are required for this paper.
- See this other worksheet for additional
help with your initial analysis of the text.
Here are a few examples of previous students' essays, just to get you thinking
in the right direction. (There is no guarantee, however, that they are perfect,
nor that they would receive a perfect score on this assignment, so be sure to
follow the assignment guidelines rather than modeling your essay after these