World Religions | Sacred Text Analysis December 7, 2018 – Posted in: Buy Essay Cheap Online

World Religions | Sacred Text Analysis

RST 161: World Religions

Dr. Frykenberg

 Sacred Text Analysis (12 Points)

Considering a text of their choosing, students will analyze a sacred text and suggest an interpretation, reading or application of this text, using appropriate exegetical strategies.  Students may choose any sacred text they desire to study; however, they will be responsible for the appropriate background research in order to present a thorough and responsible analysis.  The student’s analysis will be presented in a formal paper of 7-9 pages, and successful papers will:

  1. Consider and explain the significance of this text to the larger religion: What specific verse(s) or texts will you consider, and from what document (larger sacred text)? Why is this document important to the religious tradition? How is this text used or read within the tradition? How does (or should) the larger religious tradition influence our reading of this text? What ideas, worldview or teachings from the religious tradition can you connect to this text, or might impact our reading of this text? Why is it important to consider this particular portion of the sacred text in light of this class and your study of world religions in our interconnected world community?
  2. Critically consider and explain the verse(s) or text in the context of history and in relationship to the larger document of the sacred text you have chosen to consider: What is the historical context in which this text was written, and how does it fit into the larger text as a whole? What does the historical context tell us about the text, and how (and why) is it important to contemporary readings of the text? (For example: what was the government like at the time, how did people live, what were marriages like, what was necessary for survival, etc.) How does this text relate to the larger document, and how does this inform our readings of the text?  Does this context change the way we ‘should’ read this text? How does the historical setting, authorship of the text, power relationships at the time, the themes of the larger text, influence what’s said in the text?  How should we respond to this context?
  3. Analyze the verse(s) or text itself using close reading and critical analysis strategies: How does the text say what it is saying?  Is there a great deal of repetition?  Who are the main characters, and how can you tell?  Whose voices are your hearing, and whose voices are left out? What is the tone of this text? What is the genre of this text? Etc.  How do these elements impact our reading of the text—what do these literary devices communicate to us, or what are they trying to say?
  4. Consider and dialogue with at least 2 scholarly or historically significant readings of this text to help create your own interpretation and analysis: What do other scholars or historically significant interpreters have to say about this text?  What do they think is important and want us to pay attention to?  What meaning do they think we should gather from this text, and what do you make of this?  How do these scholarly readings impact your own interpretation or analysis? 
  5. Suggest a reading, interpretation or application of this text: How should we read this text, or, what should we get from this text in light of principles of the religious tradition?  What is it trying to tell us, in your informed interpretation, and what do you think of this?  Or alternatively, how should we “take” this text?  How should ‘we’ (be specific as to your audience here) respond to this text?  (The ‘why’ of these questions is your overall analysis; this is the ‘thesis’ of your paper.)
  6. Be well written, with good grammar, spelling and style, using appropriate citation throughout the paper, and providing a list of works cited, including at least 3-4 scholarly sources.

 Some Notes:

  • You do not need to consider a large portion of text. In some cases a handful of verses, or even a couple of verses, will give you plenty of material to consider in this paper.  A chapter may also be appropriate, depending upon length.  If you would like to use a whole “book,” or section of text, please discuss this with the professor ahead of time to ensure that you are not taking on too much here.
  • This analysis does not need to be “perfect.” I do not expect you to be an expert on this text, nor have expert knowledge of the religious tradition. However, your paper must show strong evidence of research, considerable work to understand the text in light of the tradition, and considerate, scholarly analysis.  Further, your analysis must be respectful of the tradition and the text.  Disrespectful, flippant or otherwise offensive papers will be returned to the student for either a re-write, or with a failing grade.
  • To get some ideas of the different sacred texts that exist within different religious traditions, check out this short introduction:
  • Many religion’s sacred texts can be accessed through
  • I will assume that you are (most likely) reading these texts in translation. If your language abilities allow you to consider the original language of the sacred text you are hoping to consider, please let me know, and we can discuss how this translation work might play a part in your critical analysis.