These are not reports but research papers: your own views are required as well as knowledge of your subject material. Please consult the notes on common errors in writing.

Paper one is due to be handed in at the end of week eight. It should be 3 to 4 pages long, double spaced, (750 - 1000 words), MINIMUM. It will have a maximum value of 15% of your grade.

Paper two is due to be handed in at the end of week thirteen. It should be 5 to 6 pages long, single spaced, (1250 - 1500 words), MINIMUM. It will have a maximum value of 15% of your grade.

Papers will be penalized for every day they are late and will not be accepted one week after the due date. YOU HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED OF THIS EIGHT WEEKS BEFORE THE FIRST PAPER IS DUE.

General requirements of a research paper.

1. Papers must have a title which states the topic of your essay. They must be typed on standard 81/2 x 11 paper (no folders please!). Papers will be kept by the professor.

2. You must have a thesis, that is to say a specific statement you want to make, which should be stated clearly either in your introduction or in your conclusion, or both. It must be supported by argument and evidence.

3. The arguments and research which support your thesis should make the main body of the essay. Do not waste time and space by simply relating Biblical narratives--give references instead.

 Source material (books, but don't forget articles in journals and encyclopedias etc., even newspapers and personal interviews) should be integrated into your argument as evidence, example, or as illustration. You must document the sources of all quotations, statistical information, and paraphrased material.

4. Your conclusions must be clearly stated. They can be negative as well as positive. You will not be penalized for concluding that your original thesis was wrong either wholly or in part, as long as your conclusion is based on your research.

5. You must give a separate list of sources (entitled "References" or "Bibliography" or "Works Cited") at the end of your paper. In alphabetical order give the full name of each author, surname first, then first name, followed by the title of the work. Book and journal titles should be italicized (or underlined if italics are not available), article titles should be in "quotation marks." Details of publication must be included. For example:

Throckmorton, Burton H. Gospel Parallels. New York: Thomas Nelson, Fourth Edition, 1970.

Ferré, Frederick. "The Definition of Religion." Journal of the American Academy of Religion 38, no.1 (1970): 3-16.

Your bibliography does not count as part of your length requirement.

Possible topics.

(These are only suggestions to give an idea of the type of topics possible. I strongly recommend that students select topics which particularly interest them and discuss their titles with me so that I can recommend reading material.)


1. What is the relationship of the Jewish and the Christian Scriptures or between the Old and New Testaments?

2. If the Adam and Eve story of Genesis 2 and 3 is not historical fact what else might it mean?

3. Disregarding questions of its significance and authority, what is the Bible? Describe its contents.

4. The Hebrew Bible contains both historical and mythological material which it is very difficult to separate. Discuss this difficulty.

5. How did the religion of the Jews help them to maintain their identity in the pre-Christian period?

6. Describe the history of the Israelite nation from their entry into Canaan until the destruction of the second Temple by the Romans in 70 CE.

7. Discuss the transmission of the biblical books from their original languages to modern English.

8. Discuss the source of death and evil in Genesis.


1. There are commonly said to be two figures at the center of Christianity, the Historical Jesus and the Christ of faith. What distinctions can be made between the two?

2. The Incarnation, the Atonement, and the Trinity. These are three of the major doctrines of the Christian Church. Describe and discuss them with reference to the Biblical text.

3. What is the Christian liturgy? What forces and events have shaped it? What Biblical elements pre-figured it?

4. Discuss the differences between the story of Jesus as presented by the synoptic gospels and John's gospel.

5. What is the "kerygma" of the New Testament?

6. Compare the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament.

7. Compare Jesus and Moses.

8. Discuss gender relations or the role of women in the Old Testament/New Testament/Bible.