Week 5 Critical Response

We are wrapping up the first half of the course this week (next week will be your midterm exam), and we have examined a number of religious and philosophical traditions from the Ancient World.As we have talked about these, I’ve taken great pains to address how these traditions evolved and developed, and how the main texts associated with the traditions evolved from oral stories to written texts.So, this week I’d like you to think back to the question that you were asked in Week 1 of the semester and write a short (500–800 word) argumentative essay on the evolution of our last main ancient religion.


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Examine the assigned sections of the New Testament. What elements of Matthew, Galatians, and 1st Timothy tie into the scholarly argument that these texts were produced over an extended period by several different authors in a variety of contexts? Is this scholarly understanding of the text’s production important when reading and analyzing these chunks of the New Testament, or is it irrelevant? Have your ideas on these issues changed from the beginning of the semester, or have they stayed the same?

Your critical response should include a distinct introduction paragraph with a thesis statement, a body paragraph in which you marshal evidence to prove your thesis, and a conclusion. Please be sure to provide citations to the readings and a Works Cited at the end. Also, note that, the same as week 3, a portion of your grade for this week will be determined by how well you respond to the comments and suggestions provided by your instructor on your previous short essay (i.e. the Week 3 Critical Response).

A Note on Biblical Citations

While your citations should usually consist of a page number, please note that citations to books of the Bible should include the Book, the chapter, and the verse that you are quoting or paraphrasing (Genesis 4:2-3 for example). Please make sure to read the footnotes, and feel free to paraphrase or quote that material. If you are citing the footnotes, please make sure to cite the page on which the footnote appears.

Grading Criteria

Each paragraph will be graded based on the following rubric:

CriteriaRatings and DescriptionPoints
Content15–14 points
Essay shows superb knowledge of the sources’ contexts, ideas, and arguments, and it effectively analyzes primary source quotations to prove an argument, and it clearly responds to instructor provided comments.
13-11 points
Paper shows some knowledge of sources’ contexts and ideas, and it analyzes primary source quotes to support an argument, and clearly responds to instructor provided comments.
10-8 points
Paper shows knowledge of the sources’ contexts, but it primarily summarizes the sources, repeats quotations provided in the lecture material, or does not fully respond to instructor provided comments.
7–5 points
Paper summarizes sources, does not provide context or analysis for quotes, or it barely fulfills the requirements
4–0 points
The paper does not demonstrate an understanding of sources and their contexts, or it significantly fails to fulfill the requirements
Thesis and Argument10-9 points
The paper has a clear thesis statement, and it has a compelling argument that is clearly articulated
8 points
Thesis statement is clear, but the argument needs to be clarified in places
7 points
Basic thesis and argument
6 points
Thesis is simply a factual statement or restates the prompt.
5–0 points
Thesis and argument are unclear, or they do not exist
Grammar, Voice, and Punctuation5 points
Entirely free from error
4 points
Minimal (1–2) errors
3 points
A few (3–5) errors
2 points
Serious problems throughout
1–0 points
So many errors that the essay is difficult to read
Total Possible30


Important note: Responses submitted without a Works Cited page will be automatically docked 3 points. Responses that do not meet or exceed the word requirement will be automatically docked 10 points.

Formatting and Submitting Your Assignment

This assignment must be a typed, double-spaced paper using Times New Roman, twelve-point font, standard one-inch margins, with proper in-line citations, and a works cited page. Please see this document on how to cite sources for more information. Additionally, the assignment should include a header with your name, assignment number, and date.

This assignment should be submitted as an attachment. If you have a problem submitting the assignment, please contact your instructor.

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Do not consult outside sources—we are interested in your own original ideas and analyses, not someone else’s from outside this course. If you are having problems understanding the material, ask your instructor for clarification. Level 3 violations of academic dishonesty will result in an F for the course. It is much better to receive a zero grade for an assignment than to submit work that is not your own, be charged with academic dishonesty, and receive an F grade for the course.

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