First, this paper represents a significant portion of your grade for the course, and should be represented by your best work. This is a religion paper, not an English paper, but there is an underlying assumption that you, as a college student, command an adequate grasp of grammar and of the English language. A few typos can be overlooked, but it will behoove you to present your best work.
Second, this paper must be your work. It will be submitted through a program that checks for plagiarism, and any violations will be penalized as per the syllabus. In general though, if you are not sure whether you should cite, then simply cite. However, a good rule is to ask yourself, “Would I have had that idea had I not consulted the source?” If the answer is “no,” you must cite, as you are using intellectual property that is not your own. A citation is inadequate if the professor cannot easily find the cited passage.
Third, remember that in this assignment, your goal is to show understanding (all grades are assigned based on clarity, depth, and insight). Even when you are citing sources, be sure to put things in your own words so as to accomplish this purpose.
Fourth, here are a few more general guidelines:
While you must recapitulate the important facts and viewpoints involved, you are not writing a report. State a thesis, develop it, and defend it. Exposition should serve to support your position.
Be objective and fair. Present the viewpoints as fairly and plausibly as you can, with no hint of bias.
Be concise with your thesis. You are not expected to revolutionize the field of religion with an undergraduate paper. Don’t tackle huge projects/topics that cannot be fleshed out in the allotted word limit.
Along the same lines, an academic paper is not the place for tangents, anecdotes, suppositions, or padding. If a paragraph is not directly relevant to developing your position, it has no place within your paper. This is especially true of your introduction. You are introducing your paper, nothing more, nothing less.
Don’t state anything contentious that you are not willing to defend. Similarly, avoid sweeping generalizations and state precisely what you mean.
It is fine to present the ideas of others as long as you give them credit, but again, your paper must go beyond what others have said. I want to hear your own perspective.
Read your paper after you finish, and then step back. If you had not written it, would you understand everything it includes? If you had not written it, would you be convinced, or does it need more support? Then flesh it out accordingly.
A regurgitation of class notes will not merit a good grade.
Essay 4 Details
This is an essay testing your understanding of the religions involved, and your ability to make connections between them, to look at the big picture, if you will. Your goal is to demonstrate your understanding in both of these ways.
Suggested depth- *** words. This is a suggested length of quality material, not a word count, a minimum, or maximum. You cannot show understanding in the expected depth with significantly fewer words than this, but a depth that runs significantly over is more than is required for the exercise.
Outside resources- The vast majority of what is required for this assignment is found in the assigned readings. However, this assignment may require basic internet searches for examples, etc. Be sure to cite any such sources you use.
Class resources- Class resource citations may be abbreviated into just RELG and AoWS, along with page numbers.
Sections- Please use the section headers described below.
Specifics (three parts of approximately equal depth)
Monotheism and the Abrahamic Religions
The last three religions we have studied, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, are monotheistic religions. Clearly explain their shared depiction of God (your goal is to explain it clearly enough so that someone who had no familiarity with the concept would understand it). Then, describe the significant differences in the depiction of the deity in these three religions.
Relating History to Belief
Consider the differences in the metaphysical depictions of God described in the previous section. In this section, describe how those differences account for various movements, conflicts, and differences both in a single religion and between these three religions. (Don’t just explain the histories, movements, conflicts, etc. but tie them specifically to the depictions of the deity described in the prior section.)
Isolate texts in AoWS that justify your answers to the previous two sections. Discuss these texts (though extended quotation does not count toward your suggested word count), explaining how and why they justify your views explained above. You may use outside sources to bring in more such sacred texts if you wish.
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