Reflection on a Few Biblical Genres

Each of us lives in a popular culture (and a church culture, and now an academic culture) with a set of assumptions about the Bible and about its various parts. In other courses at Westmont, and now in this one, you have grown aware of ways in which those assumptions are misinformed. This is an occasion for us not just to learn, but especially to teach and correct where we can. This assignment helps train you to do that.

Identify a common misconception of the Bible that cascades into a misunderstanding or mistreatment of discrete genres of biblical literature. Choose one that is influential in one of your contexts (church, circle of friends, school, home town, and the like). Then write a letter, message, transcript, etc. that engages an interlocutor who typifies that misconception, showing him or her what two biblical genres really are and what work they do in the apostolic faith and the life of the church. Include at least one piece of internal (or perhaps external) supporting evidence for each.

Describe the misunderstandings you are addressing either at the beginning or in the course of your response.

Biblical genres I would suggest that our readings address are prophets, psalms, gospels, and Pauline letters.

In this particular assignment I am especially looking for evidence that you understand the debates and positions in Bauckham and Hays and that they are helping you understand biblical genres more clearly, twhether or not you agree with their claims. Use footnotes or in-line references to denote where you are drawing on Bauckham, Hays, or another source.

As you know, this is a writing intensive course. Please keep your paper 3-4 pages, double-spaced, and follow the directions in my suggestions for writing papers. Before you turn it in on the day it's due, print out two copies of my peer review form to attach to it, and read the instructions on how the peer review process works.

Remember, I want to see proper style, clear writing, a thorough answer to the question, and explicit citations of course materials.

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