student will select a passage from a list of recognized religious text (approved by the instructor) to write a 6-8 page [actually Ill take up to 10 pages maximum] analysis from an academic perspective. These papers should utilize materials from Paley Library that regard the meaning of the text from both the authors and the intended audiences perspectives.
See also the instructors course document How to Read a Religious Text Academically
Religious Text Analysis Papers should consider these elements:
a. Summarize the wider cultural significance of the passage. Most of these passages are associated with famous stories or ideas.
b. What can be said historically about the composition process of the passage? Who were the authors and who was the intended audience? What message did the author(s) of the text want to convey to the original audience? How was the message preserved and transmitted? Why has your particular text endured?
c. What literary issues are present in the passage? Are there phrases that should be translated better from the original language? Do other manuscripts contain variant readings, and if so, how do they change the meaning of the text? Do the tenses of the verbs or the declensions of the nouns reveal any subtleties or dramatic elements? What might the symbolism in the text suggest? Paley Library has a number of religious text commentaries that can lead you along the way to answering these questions.
d. What conclusions about the passage can one draw from analyzing its historical and literary context? What do you think of the passage in light of what you have discovered? How is your interpretation supported when compared with three other scholarly commentators? (Also be aware of your scholarly commentators backgrounds.)
Students may choose from the following selections:
1. Quran Surah 2 (The Cows)
2. Quran Surah 4 (The Women)
3. Quran Surah 17 (The Night Journey)
4. Quran Surah 19 (Mary)
5. Quran Surah 96 (Al-Alaq) [Believed to be Muhammads first revelation]