Jesus and the Gospels

Term Paper Guidelines

Basics:

Papers must be typed or word-processed in a 12 pt. font (preferably Times New Roman)  with 1 inch margins all around. Line spacing should be double-spaced. Page length should be somewhere between 4000-6600 words. (It is acceptable to have a longer paper.) The student's name and pledge should be placed at the beginning of the paper. Although papers are graded primarily on the basis of content, deviating from the instructions in these guidelines and/or poor writing can affect grading. Good writing is writing that is clear, coherent, and organized. See the general points about writing a paper at the bottom of this page.

Students must document the sources of ideas, paraphrases, and quotes that come from their sources. You must use MLA style to cite sources and create a bibliography or reference cited page. Paraphrasing sources should be avoided. It is strongly recommended that students read over the section on plagiarism in the MLA Handbook in order to avoid inadvertent plagiarism. [[For on-line help on how to cite sources see http://www.dianahacker.com/resdoc and http://citationmachine.net/]. There is also a series of tutorials on how to avoid plagiarism at http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/plagiarismtutorial/default.asp?s=&n=&i=&v=&o=&ns=0&uid=0&rau=0

Special Note: I want parenthetical citations to include relevant page numbers even when you are not quoting.

Option 1: Research Topic
 
The study of Jesus and the gospels involves a variety of disciplines and issues: history, textual criticism, literary analysis, archeology, among others. Students may have an interest in one of these areas that they would like to research in more detail than this course can. The research topic option allows students to explore an issue in the study of Jesus and the gospels that they are particularly intrigued by. Students will need to clear their research topic with the professor by Jan. 31 and meet periodically with him as their research progresses.

Option 2: Book Comparison
 
Below is a list of possible books that students may choose from for their book analysis and comparison. Students must choose one book from the list on the left and one book from the list on the right (a total of two books). The paper should compare the similarities and differences in the ways the two authors approach the study of Jesus. The last 2 pages of the paper should discuss which approach you think is more valid and why. The list is not exhaustive of legitimate possibilities, so I am quite willing to negotiate with students who wish to read other books.
 
The Politics of Jesus. By John Howard Yoder The Jesus Quest. By Ben Witherington III
Jesus Christ and Mythology. By Rudolf Bultmann The Real Jesus. By Luke Timothy Johnson
The Social Gospel of Jesus: The Kingdom of God in Mediterranean Perspective. By Bruce J. Malina A Marginal Jew. By John P. Meier
Jesus: A New Vision. By Marcus Borg
Living Jesus. By Luke Timothy Johnson
Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography. By John Dominic Crossan Jesus of Nazareth: Millenarian Prophet. By Dale C. Allison
 

General Points Regarding Writing Papers (not following these can affect your grade):

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Do not use contractions in formal papers

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Do not use "man" and "mankind" when you really mean human or humankind

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When quoting a biblical text, e.g., "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God," the only citation you need is that Book chapter:verse (e.g., Matt. 5:8).  You do not need to cite the actual Bible you got it from (e.g., HarperCollins Study Bible).  You should indicate, by abbreviation, which translation you are using, e.g., NRSV, NIV, KJV, etc.  Thus, in the example above it would look like this:

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"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God" (Matthew 5:8 NRSV). 

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The only time you need to cite the actual Bible you are using is when you are referring to material in the footnotes or introductions, i.e., all non-biblical material.  When citing the non-biblical material, you should follow standard citation format for an edited book.

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Citations should always include page numbers if the source is paginated.

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Citations of web sites should be complete and specific--for example, if you are referring to material found at http://web.lyon.edu/departments/rph/RPH325/paperguide.htm   do not put http://web.lyon.edu/departments/ only.

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It is not enough simply to list all the works consulted at the end of a paper.  All information and ideas which a student finds from the works consulted must be specifically cited at the point in the paper where that information is included.

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A paper that is almost entirely quotes rather than the student's explanation of the ideas in the book is not appropriate -- that kind of paper is not a paper at all, just an assemblage of quotations.

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Each page of your paper, except the title page, should have a page number [you do not need to include a title page if you wish].

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Since your papers are to be turned in electronically, to sign and pledge your papers, you should include your name, your student ID number, and the phrase, "I pledge this assignment"

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In my classes, I prefer that you refer to yourself as "I" rather than as "the author of this paper" or "we"

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See http://theoatmeal.com/comics/misspelling for words that you should definitely not misspell.

  2010-2013 Paul Custodio Bube