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TMEs 1 and 2 are described in the Student Manual. These assignments involve the analysis of texts and, as a result, involve a particular kind of discipline and focus. Here are some tips to help you complete them successfully.

  1. Review the questions accompanying the assignments on pages 10-14 in the Student Manual. Make sure that you attempt to answer each question that is applicable to the texts you choose to analyze. Consult Smart & Hecht to find the text in question and gather information on its background (see bottom of syllabus page). Consult Ludwig and scholarly (as opposed to popular or confessional) reference works available to you.
  2. Answer each question as specifically as possible and do not feel as though you will always have to come up with “factual” answers on matters of authorship or dates of particular texts. It is more helpful to think in terms of three possibilities when attempting to answer questions about the authorship and date of a text:
    • (1) Sometimes the authorship or date of a text is quite clear and reference works will generally state this outright. Traditional ascriptions of authorship to great heroes such as Moses should always be viewed with skepticism.
    • (2) Frequently the date or authorship of a text will be disputed but the number of viable alternatives is small. In such a case you should briefly state what the alternatives are and—optionally, though always to your advantage—put forward your own arguments in favour of one view or the other.
    • (3) Sometimes there is a wide range of views of the authorship and dating of an ancient text. In such cases your own appraisal of the text and its content is particularly important. In your assignment, state that you are aware of the difficulties surrounding the text; then present arguments, based on the content of the text itself, that will allow you to interpret the text within a particular historical context.
  3. Read each passage very carefully several times and attempt to summarize the main point of the passage.
  4. In three or four sentences try to state what compelled the author of the text to make just that point at precisely that time in history. Here it may be helpful to try to imagine the audience that the author wants to persuade to her or his point of view.