29 July 2006
In 2000-2500 words, demonstrate your command of contemporary
critical methods of Biblical study by writing an exegetical essay covering the
following aspects of your chosen pericope from the Torah.*
Give specific references to the passage to support your conclusions.
Include answers to each† of the following
- 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 do we know about the author of this pericope?
- Who comprise the intended audience, and what do we know about them?
- What is the immediate social context for this work?
- What specific event(s) in the life of the author and contemporaries gave
rise to this work?
- Where and when was this pericope written?
- What is the literary genre of the document in which we find this passage?
- What is the wider historical context for this work?
- If applicable, what was its original (oral) form?
- What textual critical issues (including parallels) are raised by this pericope?
- How are these textual critical issues or parallels significant?
- What sources did the author use in writing this passage, and how were they
shaped 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 should the
- 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
- What in this passage might a contemporary audience find lacking or problematic?
- What in your interpretation do you see as particularly "Catholic"—or
how might a Catholic interpretation provide a different "take" on
the passage than you have done here? (NB: remember that the "Catholic"
model for interpretation requires the use of historical-analytical
methods of exegesis.)
*If you would rather consider a text from elsewhere in the
Old Testament, see the instructor for permission.
- This essay is impossible to write without outside research.
Hence, there need to be footnotes; follow the Chicago Manual of Style
and a "works cited" page will not be necessary.
- Give evidence for the claims you are making; they are not self-evident.
- Remember not only to use your spell checker but also to proofread and edit
- This essay will be graded on content, quality, and clarity of expression.
- †Each of the foregoing questions is
worth points; any omissions will reduce your score.
- Be aware that things such as exclusive language, dangling prepositions,
problematic diction, misuse of adjectives or adverbs, subject/verb disagreement
all will reduce your grade.
- Proper format, grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc.,
is worth 25% of the grade. See here for more
information. click here for the score