8-10 page on the concept of Satan. Please have a cover page, and break the paper down into sections.
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Introduction to Old Testament
Students have the option of writing a research paper in order to improve or replace a test grade.
Write a 7-10 page paper on a topic of your choice, decided on in consultation with the
professor. One place to begin your research is to look up your topic in The Anchor Bible
Dictionary, located in the reference section of Pius Library. You might also utilize standard
introductions to the OT for ideas. One example is John Collins, Introduction to the Hebrew Bible
(Minneapolis: Fortress, 2014). He provides short bibliographies, with standard commentaries, at
the end of each chapter.
Possible Topics (for more possibilities, consult with me):
– The Old Testament in its ancient near eastern context
o Creation in OT and ANE
o Covenant/treaty in OT and ANE
o Law in OT and ANE
o Prophecy in OT and ANE
▪ Related topic: gender and prophecy in OT and ANE
– Who was Moses? Who was David? Who was Abraham? etc.
o Choose a main biblical figure and explore: (a) scholarly assessments pertaining to
the historicity of this figure; (b) the role of the figure in Israel’s memory; that is,
the figure’s ongoing importance (why was he or she remembered?)
– Moses as paradigmatic figure for Israel’s prophets (relationship to Elijah, Jeremiah)
– Archaeology and the OT
o Conquest traditions/theories and their relationship to archaeological evidence
o David’s palace: has it been found?
o Does archaeology attest to the historical reliability of the OT, or call it into
– Choose a prophet (e.g., Hosea, Amos, Micah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel) and analyze their
historical and social context and main message
– Choose a biblical book (either one we have read, or one we have not), and provide an
introduction to the book: its main themes; scholarly consensus about its date, message,
importance; how you interpret it
– The Deuteronomistic History: is it a thing? Does it exist? Or is it a scholarly invention?
(i.e., is there a unified ideological editorial perspective that pervades Joshua–2 Kings?)
– The concept of Satan (when does it arise? Why? How is the idea transformed?)
– the Temple: its architecture and importance
– Child sacrifice in Israel and the Ancient Near East
– Festivals: their origin, transformation, ongoing significance
– Death and afterlife in the Old Testament
– The marriage metaphor for God’s relationship to Israel (Hosea, other prophets)
– The Suffering Servant of Isaiah: what are the main options for interpreting/understanding
this figure? How have the passages been understood?
The Son of Man (Dan 7): is this a messianic figure? Significance in original context and
in later interpretation (especially the gospels)
The role of women in the Old Testament
Later interpretation of the Old Testament, e.g., in the gospels or Paul’s epistles
Contemporary theological interpretation of the OT
o e.g., Liberation theology
You should use (a) scholarly commentaries (e.g., Anchor Bible commentary; Word
Biblical Commentary); (b) relatively recent articles in reputable journals (can be found through
the ATLA Religion Database—ask me if you are unsure about a resource); (c) books and
monographs in the library’s collections. Please come see me to discuss resources that might be
A: excellent to very good paper: excellent analysis of biblical and other ancient primary texts;
sophisticated incorporation of recent scholarship (commentaries and articles); includes your own
insights and observations in interaction with both primary and secondary sources; adheres to
formatting and length requirements
B: good analysis, incorporation, insight, interaction, etc.
D: partial credit for unsatisfactory assignments
– 7-10 pages, double-spaced, 12-point TNR or similar font, standard margins
– Follow a standard style sheet (e.g., MLA; APA; Turabian, Chicago Manual of Style, SBL
Handbook of Style) for bibliography and citations
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