Theology as Christian Basis of Objecting Abortion

Theology as Christian Basis of Objecting Abortion

For this final paper (4-6 pages: 1500 words MAX. – give word count) please choose one of the three options described below. Whichever option you choose, please supply an opening, single-spaced paragraph explaining WHY you have chosen your particular topic or subject-matter – for example, what in our semester’s work attracted you to the text or question your essay addresses.

Option 1 – An Exegesis (interpretation) of a passage from the bible

Those who choose this option are encouraged to discuss their choice of book, chapter, or paragraph with me. I strongly encourage you to choose a passage no longer than one paragraph. Several approaches are possible. For example:

Take a small passage from a NT book (e.g., the gospel of Mark), and examine it in the same way that we have examined Bible passages in class and in Essay I. The most important thing is to deal with the particular perspective of the author of the book and his community. In other words, whichever approach you choose, the paper is not simply to repeat or paraphrase what the passage is saying. Instead, please identify the chief theological points being emphasized by the author; perhaps compare your passage with the rest of the biblical book, in order to see how typical your passage is; and to suggest what the author is trying to tell his or her community.

Choose a theme in one of the books (e.g., the “messianic secret” in Mark; “universalism” in St. Paul), and focus on several passages in which you find the theme. Then proceed as in (1).

Be sure to consult the footnotes in your Bible. For more help in interpreting a particular biblical book, look for a “commentary” on that book in the Library website.

Option 2 – A response to a major post-biblical theological text

By “major post-biblical text”, I mean any ecclesiastical or theological writing that has been considered of importance in the life of the church. (The last four pages of the THEO 1001 Notebook has 11 such passages; see also the THEO 1001 Reader.) For example, there may be a saint you have heard of (e.g., St. Theresa) whose writings you would like to examine. Or there may be some recent document published by the Vatican that you wish to explore.

By “response”, I mean an essay that doesn’t merely report or summarize what the document says, but engages it in some sort of dialogue. (It is, of course, necessary to give a very brief summary, concerning the author and the document, at the start of your essay.) As with the other two options, the goal is to show your ability to detect a theological issue and discuss it.

Option 3 – A story, essay or other piece of creative theological writing

You may choose any subject, issue, or concern. The important thing to bear in mind is that the paper is to show your own theological reflection; just how this is shown will of course differ from essay to essay. If you choose a “topic'” (e.g., abortion, euthanasia, an international question), be sure to have a written source of some kind (e.g., an article in Newsweek or Time, or something worthwhile downloaded from the www) with which to be in dialogue. (Please include a photocopy of the source, or at least the most relevant parts of it, with your essay.) But do not merely summarize the source.

Other possibilities include writing and interpreting a 21st-century “parable”; a short story whose underlying theme is theological; a theological reflection on an on-campus issue (e.g., panhandlers; religion at MU; censorship); a biographical (or autobiographical) reflection on an experience that has theological dimensions. Any subject-matter is acceptable, if handled well.

Any combination of the three options is permissible, provided that the end result is a piece of work in which you are seen to be “thinking theologically.” Whichever option you choose, remember: early in the paper please state why you chose your topic. Creativity is very welcome.


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words limit:1630 words