Papers World Religions West Fall 2017
Due Nov 19
Do only one!!!!
Note: Some papers, including the most interesting, may deal with topics covered after due date.
Each paper should have a thesis (a theory it is trying to prove), and should use several specific examples from various sources, especially primary sources, to support it. The more detailed the better. Sources should be cited, even if not quoting.
Papers should be 5 to 7 double-spaced pages long, and are due on date above. Extensions will only be granted in the direst of circumstances.
If paper is late, minus 20 points
You may use the textbook and additional secondary sources, but you must also use at least one and preferably more primary sources. I will be grading you on, among other things, how well you use primary sources. A good paper will weave together primary and secondary sources. The text book has many excerpts from primary sources which you may use. Articles and book reviews found on J-Stor or similar sources are far preferable as a source than other internet sources, such as Wikipedia. The use of books is also preferable. See the college librarian about accessing J-Stor. Books may be found in the library, bookstore, etc….
If no primary sources, minus ten points. Quote so I know you used it.
A primary source is a source from the time period. It could be a law, diary, letter, newspaper, memoir, article, among other things from the time period. A secondary source would be a history book or text book.
For example: The Diary of Napoleon Bonaparte (copyright 1818) is a primary source, but
Napoleon: The Last Enlightened Despot, by Janet Sanchez (Copyright 2014) is NOT. It is a secondary source.
Number your pages, double space, and have a Works Cited page or Bibliography, and give it a title (“Paper Number Three” is not a name). Points may be taken off for not doing this.
Grammar and capitalization count, and too many errors will reduce your grade. Note: You should cite your sources and put in WC page even if NOT quoting. Cite within the text of the paper…. (Lets say you have 15 sources in your works cited page—how do I know where you got your information unless you tell me the specific source!!!!!)
Also, cover sheets and WC pages do NOT count towards the page requirement.
The major elements you will be evaluated on include:
- Statement and quality of thesis
- Use of evidence from primary and secondary sources
- Development of a reasonable argument
- Style, grammar, spelling and capitalization
See “Tips” on Blackboard for other requirements and suggestions.
(If no question is asked, formulate a question and a thesis and seek to prove it.)
If you have a variation on one of these, or something you really want to write on, ask for permission and it will probably be granted!!!!
- Discuss Jewish reactions to modernity, such as Reform and/or Conservative Judaism.
- Discuss the rise of Rabbinic Judaism.
- Compare the Pirke Avot with the teachings of Jesus.
- What issues does the Holocaust raise for believers?
- What is the importance of the idea of Covenant in Judaism and Christianity?
- Discuss the idea of the Messiah.
- Discuss women in both traditional and modern forms of Judaism.
- Discuss the idea of the Word.
- Compare Gnostic or Arian Christianity with Nicene Christianity.
- “Render unto Caesar…” Discuss the relationship of church (or mosque or synagogue) to the state.
- Compare Christianity and Buddhism. How are they similar? How are they different?
- How did Constantine alter Christian history? Was his conversion good for the religion or bad?
- Compare Fundamentalist Christianity with more liberal varieties. Where are they similar, and where do they differ?
- Evolution and religion: Why has there been so much trouble over the question of evolution—especially in Christianity?
- The Gospels: How were they written, and how historically accurate are they?
- How important is Paul to the development of Christianity?
- What is the meaning of the story of the Apple according to Christianity, Judaism and Islam?
- The Trinity– How did this idea develop, and is Christianity truly monotheistic?
- “One of the best features of Protestantism is its tendency to split into many dominations.”
“One of the worst features of Protestantism is its tendency to split into many dominations.”
What do you think?
- What is the relationship (if any) between the Egyptian goddess Isis and Mary?
- Why did Liberal and Progressive varieties of Christianity develop? What do they believe?
- Compare the mysticisms of at least two of the Abrahamic religions. How are they similar? How are they different?
- Compare fundamentalist Christianity and Islam. How are they similar…how are they different?
- “Islam is more similar to Judaism than Judaism is to Christianity.” Do you agree, disagree, agree in part, and why?
- What are some of the ways that Islam deals with the modern world?
- What is the importance of the Hadj to Islam?
- Discuss women in the Islamic world.
- Write a brief history of the Devil from the Hebrew Scriptures through later religious interpretations
- Compare Sharia and Halacha.
- Compare the clergy of the three main Abrahamic religions
- Discuss Baha’ i. Is it an Abrahamic faith, and how is it similar or different?
- Discuss the persistence of pagan or pre-Abrahamic elements in Abrahamic religions and their relative importance. May concentrate on one of the three.
- Compare the views of 2 of the religions on the relative importance of faith and good works.
- Compare the views of 2 of the religions on free will and predestination.
- Discuss for at least one faith tradition versus modernity
- What is the role of governments in spreading religion? Please discuss at least two examples. While one must be Abrahamic, the second one need not be…