Comparative Essay – Biblical Texts
Pre-Draft Assignment 2
A successful paper utilizes secondary sources, which provide the necessary background for you to develop your original thesis. In addition, as you critically analyze and compare your biblical passages, you will need to support your observations and arguments by citing the work of scholars and to show why you disagree with others. These works that you have read or cited during your research will eventually appear in the bibliography of your final paper, listed according to author in alphabetical order. As this is just the beginning of your research, this is unlikely to be your final bibliography.
Based on the resources introduced to you in the library session, you should now begin the process of collecting and evaluating the secondary sources you will use in your paper. As part of this process, you will be required to prepare an annotated bibliography, due via LATTE by 5:00 P.M. on Thursday, March 26th.
A Writing Session dedicated to annotated bibliographies will be held in class on Monday, March 23rd.
General description and instructions:
An annotated bibliography follows each bibliographic entry with a brief evaluative summary called an annotation. The annotation summarizes the main idea of the source text, the author’s purpose in writing it, and the intended audience, whether scholarly or non-scholarly. It also evaluates the usefulness and reliability of the source, and describes the scope of the author’s point of view, objective, assumptions, and agenda. Annotated bibliographies record citation information for the sources consulted so that plagiarism may be avoided, and provide a basis for deciding whether or not the source will ultimately be useful for your paper.
Your annotations are expected to display clear and concise writing. Each entry should be 200-300 words in length. You should strictly limit your use of direct quotations, but if you do quote, carefully note the page number where the quote appears in the source. These summaries must be your own work and should not simply paraphrase or quote the last paragraph of the source. Using an abstract of that work, or any other material that is not your own, without giving the author credit is plagiarism. This includes not only an author's exact words but also his or her ideas.
Requirements and formatting:
For your annotated bibliography, you need a total of at least 6 secondary (critical) sources to be chosen from scholarly commentaries, books, and journals. You must use at least 2 sources that are not on-line. (Citation of an on-line source requires at least the following basic information: author's full name, document title, date of internet publication, date you accessed the information, the full URL.) General encyclopedias such as Wikipedia or Britannica should not be used.
The annotated entries should be divided into three sections: a general topic section for sources dealing broadly with the subjects that you are investigating (e.g. slaves, dedication of the prophet, the reign of King Manasseh), and a section for each biblical passage that you are comparing. You should include at least 2 sources in each section of your bibliography.
The entries within each section of your annotated bibliography should appear in alphabetical order by the author’s last name, with bibliographic information in MLA style. (Sources such as biblical commentaries and Bible dictionaries use a slightly different format. See below for examples.)
Each bibliographic entry should be followed by a well-written annotation (200-300 words) that gives the following information:
1) the type of source (e.g. book, article, commentary series), and whether print or electronic
2) the specific subject matter the author is writing about
3) what the author seeks to discover, prove, or challenge
4) the broad debates in which the author engages, and how he or she uses other sources
5) how the source will contribute to your research
Sample bibliographic entries for biblical commentaries and Bible dictionaries:
Anderson, Francis I. and David Noel Freedman. Amos. Anchor Bible Commentary 24a. New York: Doubleday, 1989.
Firmage, Edwin. “Zoology.” Pages 1109-1167 in vol. 6 of Anchor Bible Dictionary. Edited by David Noel Freedman. 6 vols. New York: Doubleday, 1992.