Click to go to detailed instructions for each item:
General Guidelines on Format, References, Grammar, Bibliography, etc.
Exercise #1 - Initial Impressions of the Book of Revelation (due 1/14/99)
Exercise #2 - Ancient Jewish Apocalyptic Literature (due 2/25/99)
Exercise #3 - Early Christian Apocalyptic Literature
(due 4/8/99 - note the new earlier due date!)
* bordered by one-inch margins all around (please check this on your computer!)
* typed (or word-processed), double-spaced, with 12 to 10 point type (10 to 12 cpi)
* written in standard essay format (brief introduction, body, brief conclusion)
* compactly headed (single-spaced!) with your name, the course number and name, and the exercise number & title
* turned in at the beginning of the class session on the day they are due
* composed in proper written English (spelling and grammar counts!)
We normally put biblical references in parentheses at the end of a sentence, just before the concluding punctuation; only put references without parentheses in the middle of sentences if they are directly a part of your sentence. Examples:
a) Matthews Gospel begins by calling Jesus "the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham" (Matt 1:1).Use standard abbreviations for the names of biblical books (see HCSB, xxxi - please do not use italics or periods); you can omit the book name after the first reference, but only if you are obviously still referring to the same book. Examples:
b) Did you read the parables of Mark 4, including the famous Parable of the Mustard Seed (4:30-31)?
c) The death of Jesus is briefly but powerfully described in the Fourth Gospel: "When Jesus had received the wine, he said, It is finished. Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit" (John 19:30)
Mark 13 means all of chapter 13 of Marks Gospel Mark 1-4, 8 means chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, and 8
Rev 2:12-17 means chapter 2, from verse 12 to verse 17 Rev 2:12, 17 means ch. 2, verses 12 and 17 only
2:1 - 3:22 means the section from 2:1 to 3:22 2:1; 3:22 means the two verses 2:1 and 3:22 only
Know the differences:
two ¹ too ¹ to (too obvious to mention? youd be surprised!)Be careful with:
theyre (they are) ¹ there (place) ¹ their (possessive)
its (it is) ¹ its (possessive, belonging to it)
then (at that time) ¹ than (in comparisons)
relative pronouns: "the people who did something" (not "the people that ") vs. "the object that is something"Finer stylistic points:
sentence fragments: every sentence must have a subject and a verb, otherwise it is incomplete!
pronouns without antecedents: every pronoun must refer back to a noun which was explicitly stated not too much earlier
subject/verb agreement, esp. with pronouns: one person does he (or she) does ; several people do they do
Avoid contractions in formal writing: he is (not hes), they have (not theyve), I am (not Im), etc.
Always underline or italicize the titles of modern books; but put titles of "articles" in quotation marks.
Since we capitalize book titles, always capitalize "Bible," "New Testament," "Gospel of Mark," "Synoptic Gospels," etc.
the articles author (not just the editor), the articletitle, the publication info, and the volume and pagenumbers.Note: The names of authors are usually listed at the end of articles. But since the HarperCollins Bible Dictionary articles list only the authors initials, you need to check see the list of "Contributors" (pp. vi-xv) to get the full names.
Not just: David N. Freedman, Anchor Bible Dictionary, vol. 1.Good examples:
Nor only: C. E. C. "Jesus Christ." HarperCollins Bible Dictionary.
Marxsen, Willi. "Christology in the NT." Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible; Supplementary Volume (Nashville: Abingdon, 1976) 146-56.
Dunn, James D. G. "Christology." Anchor Bible Dictionary (New York: Doubleday, 1992) 1.979-91.
Johnson, S. E. "Lord (Christ)." Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible (Nashville: Abingdon, 1962) 2.151.
Frick, Frank S. "King." HarperCollins Bible Dictionary (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1996) 567.
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1) For all the students to get a basic overview of the content, imagery, and style of the NT Book of Revelation.
2) For you to begin thinking about the original purpose and overall message of this piece of ancient literature.
3) For me to get an initial sample of the quality of your reading, writing, and revising skills.
Read the entire Book of Revelation, preferably at one sitting:
- Read it fairly quickly, but carefully (it should only take you about 1-2 hours, depending on how fast you read).
- Read only the text of Revelation for now, not all the detailed footnotes or commentary your Bible may have.
Immediately after you have read this work, write down some notes with your initial overall thoughts and impressions:
- What major images and prominent themes did you notice as you read this book?
- What interesting or curious aspects of the structure and style of the book stood out for you ?
- How would you summarize the overall message that the ancient author was trying to tell his original readers?
- What do you think the original purpose of this writing was? That is, why do you think the author wrote this work?
- What else did you notice that surprised you or impressed you about this text?
Now go back over the book and find some specific texts that can back up and/or illustrate your initial impressions:
- Where in the text do you see some examples of the various items that impressed or surprised you?
- Where in the text (cite chapter and verse numbers) does the author most directly state his overall message?
- Where in the text does the author explicitly mention and/or implicitly allude to his main purpose in writing?
For those who have read all or part of the Book of Revelation before, please read the whole work again now:
- If you wish, you may also contrast your current impressions with your previous ones: What stood out differently for you in this reading? Do you see the message and purpose of this work differently now than you did before?
Write 3 to 4 pages in which you answer all the above questions in a clear and orderly fashion, using standard essay format (brief introduction, structured main body, very brief conclusion).
Since this assignment is focused on your own impressions and reactions, you will not need a bibliography, since you should not yet be using any commentaries or other scholarly workswell have plenty of time for that later.
Please make sure you proof-read your paper carefully before you print it out and turn it in; by all means use your computers spell-checker, but do not rely on it alone, since these programs cannot catch all typographical errors!
You may of course discuss your ideas with other students and/or get help from other people in finding specific biblical referencesand you are strongly encouraged to receive proofreading and/or grammatical help from others if needed!
However, the final product must always be your own writing (do not copy from books or from other people); but also try to use the language of Revelation itself, and avoid mixing in words and ideas from later Christianity;
Remember that late papers will not be accepted, and that the assignment
is due at the beginning of the class session!
I will read, comment on, and return your papers as soon as possible (hopefully by Tuesday, 1/19/99), marked with a provisional grade (based on content and form). You should then revise your work, correcting any errors or problems I marked and improving it in other ways I may suggest.
Please turn in your revision along with your original paper within one week (1/26/99?). I will then return them to you with a final grade as soon as possible thereafter. However, please do not be careless or sloppy on your original paper. It is more than just a rough draft!
1) To review the basic definitions, characteristics, and purposes of apocalyptic literature so popular in ancient Judaism.
2) To analyze in greater detail two passages from the Jewish apocalyptic writings we have already read over quickly.
3) To become more familiar with some of the standard Secondary Literature
(Bible Dictionaries and Commentaries) as supplemental research tools.
1) Review Reddish, pp. 19-29, on the definitions, characteristics, and purposes of ancient Jewish apocalypses (writings), apocalyptic (images and themes), and apocalypticism (movements and world-views).
2) Choose two passages to analyze in greater detail, one from
each of the following two groups:
A) proto-apocalyptic writings: Isaiah 24-27; Ezekiel 37-39; Zechariah 11-14; Joel 1-3; Daniel 4-6
B) full apocalypses: Daniel 7-9; 1 Enoch 85-90; Testament of Abraham 16-20; or the War Scroll 15-19 (Reddish)
Caution: look at the exact chapter numbers here, since these selections do not cover all the texts we have read!
3) Reread the two texts you have selected, paying close attention to the apocalyptic elements and details in these texts.
4) For more background material, read several appropriate articles
on the prophet and/or writing (Daniel, Enoch, etc.) in one of the
following Bible Dictionaries or Commentaries (available in LMU Library
Anchor Bible Dictionary; the Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible; or the New Jerome Biblical Commentary.
For 1 Enoch or Test. Abr., use either R.H. Charles The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament
or H.F.D. Sparks The Apocryphal Old Testament (both on Library Reserve upstairs)
Caution: ask me before using other secondary sources, since not all are of the same quality and some are very out-of-date!
Note: this step is not an optional recommendation, but an important required part of this assignment (see goal #3 above).
1) Write 3 to 4 pages in which you analyze your two selected passages in as much detail as space allows:
- For the apocalypse from category B, show how all parts of the definition are fulfilled by this writing (or in case some part of the definition is not fulfilled, explain carefully why not).
- For both works, highlight some of the apocalyptic characteristics or features found in the text.
- For both works, explain what was the original purpose of the text, in consideration of its probable historical context.
- In addition to analyzing each work separately, also compare and contrast some aspects of these two writings.
3) And also as always, please pay careful attention to the quality of your writing:
- Append a bibliography of all primary and secondary sources you used (see Ex #1 for instructions and examples!).
- Please make sure you proof-read your paper carefully before you print it out and turn it in.
- Use a computer spell-checker, but do not rely on it alone, since such programs cannot catch all typographical errors!
- Also review and follow the "GENERAL GUIDELINES" listed on Ex #1, including the sections on the back:
"Biblical References"; "Grammatical and Stylistic Cautions"; and "Bibliographical Tips."
5) As always, you will be allowed to rewrite/revise your work after I read it the first time. But please do not use this as an excuse to turn in a sloppy "rough draft"! Make sure you have re-read these instructions before turning your paper in.
1) To become more aware of the variety of eschatologies in the New Testament and other Early Christian writings.
2) To recognize and investigate the connections between the theology and the history of first century Christianity.
3) To become familiar with the use of some of the standard Bible Commentaries as supplemental research tools.
4) To continue improving our academic skills of researching carefully, writing clearly, and supporting our claims.
Reminder about Terminological Distinctions:
WHO: eschatology can be cosmic (end of the world) or national (end of a state) or personal (end of an individuals life)
WHEN: eschatology can be present (already here) or imminent (very soon) or delayed (not yet) or distant (far future)
HOW: eschatology can be apocalyptic (violent, catastrophic) or
1) Choose three different early Christian texts, one from each group that we have read:Writing/Revising:2) Reread the three texts you have selected, paying close attention to the eschatological elements and details in these texts (what kind of eschatology do they contain, according to the various distinctions made above).
One of the "Little Apocalypses" from the Synoptic Gospels: Matt 24, Mark 13, or Luke 21. and one of the following chapters from Revelation: 9, 13, 17, or 18 (but NOT the one you led discussion in class) and one of the following non-canonical Christian writings: Hermas: Vision 4; Apoc. Paul 3-10; Apoc. Thomas
3) Consult some secondary literature for context and additional information on each of the writings you have chosen.
Reminder: this step is not optional, but an important required part of the assignment (see goal #3 above).
- For the Synoptic Gospels, read the appropriate sections in several Bible Commentaries available in our library: the Anchor Bible Commentary series, the Interpreters Bible Commentary series, the Sacra Pagina commentary series, the New Jerome Bible Commentary, Harpers Bible Commentary, etc.
- For the Book of Revelation, re-read the appropriate pages of Fioernzas commentary and the appropriate sections of at least one of the six book-length commentaries on Revelation on reserve upstairs in the library.
- For the non-canonical Christian writings, re-read the relevant introduction in Reddish and read the relevant introductions from New Testament Apocrypha or The Apocryphal New Testament (both on library reserve), and/or the short articles in the Anchor Bible Dictionary (in library reference; see "Paul, Apocalypse of," etc.).
1) Write 4 to 6 pages in which you analyze your three selected passages in as much detail as space allows:
2) As always, make sure you back up all your claims with plenty of specific examples and references to the actual texts. Refer mostly to the primary literature (i.e., the ancient writings themselves, citing chapter & verse numbers), and only occasionally to the secondary literature (i.e. modern textbooks and commentaries, citing volume & page numbers).
- Briefly: define "eschatology" and describe the varieties of eschatological thought relevant to your three writings.
- Mostly: compare and contrast the eschatological outlook of each writing, focusing not only on the similarities and differences in literary content and imagery, but especially on their theological presuppositions and messages.
- Also: discuss the relevance of the historical context of each writing, especially in relation to the number of years that have passed since the death of Jesus and/or the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple.
3) Please append a bibliography of all the secondary sources you used; be specific (list the authors, titles, volume & page numbers of the articles, not just whole commentary); see the back of Ex #1 and/or the courses web-page for samples.
4) As usual, please pay special attention to the quality of your writing (see goal # 4 above, and the detailed instructions on the previous two exercises).
5) Since we are getting so late in the semester, I will probably not be able to accept re-writes for this paper, so make extra sure that you do a good job the first time.