What happened in that part of the bible

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Old testament essay

In this essay, you are not to list what happened in that part of the Bible. Instead, you are to define the author's message to the reader: what is the author telling the reader about what happened? As such, your goal is to explain the author's message by describing most of the book and its most important parts. Each essay must not be any shorter or longer than three double-spaced pages and must be written in Times New Romans 12 Point font with appropriate 1 inch margins. Each essay will have a proper introduction and conclusion that will state and restate your thesis of that section's message. In addition, each body paragraph will provide evidence from the biblical text and, if needed, additional sources to defend your thesis. The student must employ an academic writing style with appropriate citation according to the Turabian manual. Please submit your papers in Blackboard as .doc or .docx files.

As you consider your topic, please remember that the assignment is not to tell me the setting of the Prophets. Its setting is clearly the Old Covenant. Instead, your task is to define what he is telling his readers about the Old Covenant. That is, what message (lesson, instruction, insight) and hope does he give to the reader as he examines life under the Old Covenant in the Prophets?

As such, you will advance a thesis that claims what the author intends to communicate with the shape of his book. That is, you are now asked to argue what the author is offering as the book's hope. How does the author answer his dilemma? What hope does he offer? Is his hope for the reader the law codes themselves from Moses? Or, is his hope based upon something or someone other than the law codes who has appeared or will appear later? If so, what does the author have to say about the law codes from Moses or the words from the Prophets?

With such a big book to explain, Joshua-Malachi, how do you find one answer to these questions? Look at the repetitions at the beginning and the ending of the book. That is, compare the opening chapters of Joshua with the final chapters of Malachi.2. Also, consider the themes and situations repeated throughout the book. That is, focus on similarities between the major characters, such as Joshua, Samuel, David and Solomon all giving speeches that look a lot like Moses' speeches in Deuteronomy. In addition, detect the places where there are major changes in the form of the text (speed bumps) such as a change from narrative to poetry or vice versa. Finally, make sure that you at least consider the repetitions of phrases and concepts throughout the book as a whole.

Essay Outline

Introductory Paragraph

After an introductory sentence or two that provides a brief explanation of the importance of the question that your essay answers, you will write a final sentence that clearly declares your thesis. This thesis statement should be the final sentence of this paragraph and is also your claim. Your purpose in crafting this paper is to prove your claim about the message of that part of the Bible.

Body Paragraphs

In each body paragraph you should begin by stating a warrant (reason, defense) that helps to prove your claim (thesis). The rest of each paragraph should clarify, explain, develop and deepen this warrant and (if needed) refute one or more opposing theses by this same reasoning.

Concluding Paragraph

Restate your thesis (claim) and its warrants in one or two sentences. The final sentence(s) should draw to a close by providing one final application or implication of your thesis being correct.

The Prophets provides a story in the Former Prophets that contains its own, internal commentary (esp. 2 King 17) that is reinforced by the poetic, prophetic commentary of the Latter Prophets. Together, they make one book. How do we (and you in your paper) find the message and the meaning of all of this material as one book?

1. Look at the repetitions at the beginning and the ending of the book. That is, compare the opening chapters of Joshua with the final chapters of Malachi.

2. Look at the themes and situations repeated throughout the book. That is, focus on similarities between the major characters, such as Joshua, Samuel, David and Solomon all giving speeches that look a lot like Moses' speeches in Deuteronomy.

3. Look at the places where there are major changes in the form of the text (speed bumps) such as a change from narrative to poetry or vice versa. For example:

1. The poems at the beginning and the ending of Samuel (1 Sam 2 and 2 Sam 22, 23).

2. The authorial commentary of 2 King 17 that explains the exile of Israel by Assyria and Judah from Babylon.

3. The beginning chapters of Isaiah that answer the story from Jos 1-2 King 25. Isa 1 and 2, in particular, form a contrast between Israel's current state and its state at the end of the days.

4. The narratives stuck in the middle of Isaiah at Isa 36-39 from 2 Kin 18-20 and at the end of Jeremiah at Jer 52 from 2 King 25. Both repetitions show conflict between Judah and the nations (Assyria and Babylon).

4. Look at repetitions of phrases and concepts.

From the Torah

Gen 12-the beginning of the promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: All the families of the earth will be blessed through Abraham and his seed

Gen 49:1, Num 24:14 and Deut 31:29-in the end of the days

Deut 6-love God with all your heart

Deut 28, 29, 31, 32-the promise of exile for Israel because of disobedience. Phrases such as "new grain, wine and oil"

Deut 30-taking captivity captive, restoring the fortunes, circumcising the heart

Deut 34-waiting for someone like Moses to come

From the Former Prophets

There was no king in Israel

Everyone did what was right in his own eyes

The promise to David in 2 Sam 7

He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as David had done

He did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as Jeroboam, Ahab, Manasseh did.

And there has never been a king like him since ...

From the Latter Prophets

The branch of David

The stump of Jesse

Immanuel

The righteous branch

How do these repetitions work together to deliver one message? Your paper will explain how the Prophets form one message. You will not cover everything, but you will explain the most important things that the author did to convey the one message (meaning) of the whole group of books as one book.

5. Consider what question or problem the book (Former and Latter Prophets together as the Prophets) is trying to resolve or explain or answer.

What problem is The Prophets (Former and Latter) answering? It is answering the problem of the exile and the destruction of the temple and David's throne. They find their explanation of the exile and the return from Babylon from the dilemma of the Torah: man's heart is continually evil, sinning against God. God kept His word; Israel broke her word. Despite the judgment of the exile, God will keep His promise, but he asks his reader to wait for the coming of that salvation. That is, the dilemma of the Torah with the human heart continues, even as the hope of the Torah also continues: a king will be raised up from Judah (David) to rightly rule God's people for Him. Mankind, a new Israel made up Israel and the nations will dwell with God as in the very good beginning. In the meantime, however, the Prophets tell us to wait obediently for that king, His kingdom and His day.
A Recommended Process of Writing

As you decide which approach is best, please consider the following recommended process to write your paper. You are not required to follow this process, but it will help those who feel intimidated by this assignment.

Step One

Determine the message of the book. What is its dilemma, and what is its hope? The message should highlight the book's hope (solution) in light of its dilemma (problem). Your goal in crafting a thesis statement is to explain most of the book and its most important parts. How do you define these most important parts?

a. Consider the beginning and the ending of the book.

b. Consider the book's major patterns-how do the parts fit together?

c. Consider the different types of literature in the book and how they relate to each other:

i. Narrative

ii. Poetry

d. Consider key repetitions throughout the whole Prophets. What does the author repeat a lot? Why does he repeat these items?

e. Consider what the Former Prophets as a whole does to explain the rest of the Torah and the Prophets.

f. Consider what the Former Prophets as a whole does to explain the rest of the Torah and the Prophets.

Step Two

Craft a thesis statement that makes a defensible claim about the message of the book that the rest of your paper can defend. Your thesis statement needs to make a claim that is specific enough to defend and yet broad enough to explain most of the book and its most important parts. You are asked to reduce all of the words of the Torah into one really well-designed sentence

a. Key ideas to crafting a good thesis statement:

i. Begin your thesis with the phrase "The message of the Prophets is that ..." What follows after that is your claim.

ii. Only use one complete sentence for your thesis. Do not use two. Also, please note that your thesis sentence should be the last sentence of the introduction.

iii. Only use an active verb for the claim.

iv. The sentence parts must be connected into one claim.

b. Samples: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Not good:

The message of the Prophets is that God is good.

What are the problems with this thesis?

--Passive "is." The claim is a state of being not an action: "God is good."

--Too vague. What does it mean that God is good? You have no idea what you need to defend with this thesis.

Better (but not good enough):

The message of the Prophets is that God saves man.

What are the improvements from the first try?

--No passive in the actual thesis!

What are the problems with this one?

--Too vague.

Better (but not good enough):

The message of the Prophets is that God's goodness to Israel points to His care for the reader.

What are the improvements from the prior tries?

--No passive in the actual thesis!

--More specific

What are the problems with this one?

--"Points" is a very weak verb. What does it mean in this sentence? Too vague.

--It does not seem to offer an explanation of most of the book and its most important parts.

Better (but not good enough):

The message of the Prophets is that God is good by promising to restore man to His presence and by sending the Son of David.

What are the improvements from the prior tries?

--More specific. You can clearly see the ideas.

--Clearly covers many of the book's parts

What are the problems with this one?

--The ideas are not coordinated into one idea. There is no claim to hold all the parts of the thesis together. The book, in essence, has two messages not one with this approach.

--Passive voice! Your thesis should not be a state of being but an action.

Better (but not good enough):

The message of the Prophets is that God promises to restore man to His presence in the end of the days through the work of the coming Son of David and provides the Torah's laws to hold Israel in place until He comes.

What are the improvements from the first try?

--Very specific. You can clearly see the ideas.

What are the problems?

The "and" ("David and provides") actually divides the one sentence into two distinct claims. The two parts can be better related to each other.
Better (may be good enough but can still be improved):

The message of the Prophets is that God's Word provides man with His immediate presence and the hope of a return to Him while man waits for the perfect arrival of the risen seed of Abraham, who is the Son of David, during the painful days of man's exile.

Step Three

Form your argument to defend this thesis.

a. Review your thesis statement, and isolate the ideas in your thesis statement that must be defended. For example, in the possible thesis statement above the ideas might be isolated as follows:

i. The message of the Prophets is that God's Word provides man with His immediate presence and the promise of a return to Him while man waits for the perfect arrival of the risen seed of Abraham, who is the Son of David, during the painful days of man's exile.

1. God's Word provides man with His immediate presence

2. (God's Word provides man with)... [a] promise of a return to God

3. ... while man waits for the perfect arrival of the risen seed of Abraham, who is the Son of David

ii. Thus, I would divide such a thesis into a three part argument. Each part of the argument needs a body paragraph that begins with a topic sentence and advances the defense of this thesis.

b. For each part of your argument, you will have to design a body paragraph, which should contain 1) a topic sentence, 2) evidence and analysis to advance this part of the argument and 3) a clincher that ties this part of the argument to the topic sentence and the next paragraph.

i. Craft a topic sentence. A topic sentence will connect each body paragraph to the thesis statement. It declares 1) what the paragraph will cover and 2) how this information will help defend your thesis statement.

ii. Determine the primary evidence that advances this part of your argument. Consult your analysis from step 1 for the best reasons.

iii. Craft a clincher sentence that ties this part of the argument to the topic sentence and to the next paragraph.

c. Repeat for each body paragraph/ portion of your argument.

Step Four

Craft your introduction and conclusion. Please note that your introduction and conclusion need to be designed after you know what your argument is. They will come first and last in the paper, but you need to what you are saying before you can design a quality introduction and conclusion.

a. Your introduction should begin broadly and move to your thesis statement. The thesis statement must be the final sentence of your introduction.

b. Your conclusion should begin with the exact same thesis statement as was found in your introduction. It should be followed by a quick summary of your argument (consider your topic sentences) that leads to a final application or implication of your thesis being correct.

Step Five

Add your cover page and (if needed) a Bibliography. Your cover page must be a Turabian cover page. Please see the Turabian example located online in the class' resources.

Step Six

Read your paper out loud and with a friend. This easily skipped step may be the most important. You may have no idea what your paper actually says until you let someone else interact with it.

Step Seven

Rewrite your paper. The key to good writing is re-writing. Nobody writes a good first draft. It always take time and thought to write well.

Reference no: EM13973811

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