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Topic: Women in the Early Church
In lieu of a final exam, you’ll write a short research paper on the below prompt. Please refer to the grading rubric for the points distribution.
PROMPT
What does Paul mean by women “should be silent in the churches” and “are not permitted to speak” in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35? Present three different scholarly interpretations of the passage.
Format
Length & Layout: 2000-2200 words (excluding the abstract, but including footnotes)
Body: double-spaced with 1-inch margins on all sides, Footnote & Abstract: single-spaced
Font: Arial, Calibri, Garamond, Helvetica, Tahoma, Times New Roman, or Verdana
(12-point in the body, 10-point in the footnote)
Structure
Do not include a title page or bibliography/works cited pages
Structure your paper as shown below
The top of the first page (and only the first page) should look like this:
HRS 122 – Research Paper
Paul’s View on Female Leadership
Michelle Obama*
[*Insert your name]
Abstract
This paper argues ………………………………………………………….
………………………………………………………………………………………. .
Abstract (ca. 150 words)
It’s your job as a writer to make your ideas clear to the reader. To do this, prepare a “capsule” of it in the form of an abstract at the beginning of your paper, before the introduction. The abstract gives readers a big-picture view of the text to help direct the reading process. Your abstract should be around 150 words, modeled after abstracts that preface scholarly articles. (Have a look at peer-reviewed journal articles if you want some examples.) Further, help your reader navigate your text by chunking your paper into meaningful sections that are clearly separated and defined by subheadings (like the below). Here are the major questions your abstract should briefly cover:
What is the main question or problem you are addressing? What is your paper going to focus on?
Who are your interlocutors/conversation partners? What are your sources? How are you going to structure your paper?
What are you going to argue? What is the main contribution of your paper? This is your tentative thesis.
Introduction & overview of the issue
The first task is to locate your argument. Begin with a concise, one-sentence thesis statement that captures your overarching argument. Avoid beginning with vague, hackneyed, or indefensible assertions like: “Throughout all of history…,” “All of humanity,” “The Bible is a very complex book,” “People hold various opinions,” “Everyone enjoys watching films,” or the like. Instead, write something concrete about the topic straight away. Clearly introduce the research problem or question here. You may want to include a one-sentence summary of each scholarly solution here as well. Tell the reader where your own thesis or study fits within the wider discussion. Present what others have argued with accuracy: misrepresenting others’ positions, even if inadvertently, will undermine your credibility. Go back and re-read your sources, and err on the side of courtesy. Be rigorous, fair, and respectful, especially when you present views with which you disagree.
Flesh out the three scholarly views
Taking one view at a time, explain what each scholar (or a scholarly “camp”) argues and how they build their argument. Cite specific scholars who advocate each view, so the reader gets a clear idea of who holds what view for what reason. Every claim you make must be supported by evidence from primary and secondary sources, cited correctly. Do not make mere assertions; rather, demonstrate your point. Stay focused. You do not have space to go off topic.
Conclusion
Your conclusion can also be brief — a few summary sentences or a paragraph will do. Ask yourself: Did I accomplish what I said I’d do in this paper? Do the introduction, body, and conclusion actually connect to each other? Did I provide enough evidence? hat does my analysis show? In a well-written piece, the reader should be able to see logical progression, i.e., various points should be related to and build on each other, and the conclusion should naturally flow from the body. Once you write your conclusion, go back and double check that your analysis supports the conclusion. For this paper, you do not need to evaluate the relative strength or weakness of the three views, though you are welcome to include a short comment on which view you find most compelling, and why. But do not devote much space to evaluating the views. The primary aim of this assignment is for you to describe varying scholarly views with accuracy and analyze how the arguments are made.
Sources
You must engage at least four (4) *scholarly* sources for this paper. You may use any course readings as two (2) of the four sources, but you must find and engage two sources that do not appear in this course. You are allowed to use any relevant and recent scholarly sources (that is, published in the last few decades), so long they are actually scholarly sources (viz., peer-reviewed and published by a reputable publisher). Sac State’s OneSearch can tell you whether journals are peer-reviewed, and it’s easier to filter the results than in Google Scholar. Google Scholar is helpful but does not vet its sources. So, if you find something there — or anywhere else on the internet — make certain that the journal and/or the book publisher is a reliable one.
Here’s the rule of thumb: If you find a source that you’re not sure if it’s scholarly or not, skip it. If you use low quality sources, even inadvertently, it will lower the quality of your paper.
Below you will find a handful of sources to get started. You will be able to digitally access many scholarly books and articles Sac State’s OneSearch (* = available via OneSearch).
Online Resources
Bible Odyssey (URL: bibleodyssey.org)
Search for peer-reviewed journal articles using OneSearch.
General Bible commentaries, dictionaries and encyclopedias
Anchor Bible Dictionary
Interpreter’s Bible Commentary
Oxford Bible Commentary*
New Collegeville Bible Commentary: New Testament*
Commentary series
Anchor (Yale) Bible Commentary (A[Y]BC)
Continental Commentary (CC)
Hermeneia
International Critical Commentary (ICC)
New International Commentary on the New Testament (NICNT)
Word Biblical Commentary (WBC)
Citation Format
All secondary sources must be cited in the footnote (single-spaced with a 10-point font) following the Chicago Manuel of Style. Give a full citation in the footnote the first time you cite a source, and then use the “shortened note” format subsequently (again, no separate bibliography page!). However, do not cite primary sources in the footnotes. Instead, all primary sources should be cited with a short in-text citation. Give the title of the source followed by the page number. Biblical citations should look like the following (please quote from the New Revised Standard Version/NRSV, unless you need to discuss multiple translations to make a point):
(Genesis [or Gen] 1:1 NRSV)
(Exodus [or Exod] 5:4-15 NRSV)
(Leviticus [or Lev] 19:12-18 NRSV)
(Matthew [or Matt] 1:29-30 NRSV)
(2 Chronicles [or 2 Chr] 3:1-5 NRSV)
Resources
Sac State Reading & Writing Center
The Purdue Writing Lab
Chicago Manuel of Style
How to do well on this assignment
You paper will be graded using the below grading rubric. Pay close attention to the criteria. Here are some guiding questions:
Criterion 1: Central thesis & conclusion
Do you include a concise one-sentence thesis statement that captures the overarching argument? Do you locate your argument within the broader issue, however briefly? Is your research question clear to the reader? Does your conclusion “wrap up” your study and naturally flow from the main body?
Criterion 2: Scope and accuracy of analysis
Do you present a thoughtful analysis of the topic? Do you consider multiple views and raise key interpretive issues in the text? Is your presentation accurate and fair?
Criterion 3: Evidence
Do you engage at least four *scholarly* sources? Do you back up all your points with evidence? Does the evidence you cite actually match the points you are making? Do you stick to specific sources instead of making broad generalizations or going off topic?
Criterion 4: Organization and transition
Is there clear logical progression in your paper? Do you show how different ideas connect to each other? Is your paper organized into paragraphs, with one point or idea per paragraph? Do you express yourself clearly and directly, in plain English, instead of trying to “sound scholarly”? Are you sure all the words you are using mean what you think they mean? Does every sentence contribute to your analysis? If anything looks like “filler,” delete it!
Criterion 5: Format and grammar
Are your grammar, spelling, and punctuation correct? Do you include a concise abstract? Do you cite all your sources (both primary and secondary) adhering to the format specified above? Is your paper correctly formatted (e.g., double-spaced with at least 1-inch margins on all sides, page/word count, font)?
Criterion 6: Tone
Do you maintain an appropriate academic tone throughout your paper? Do you represent views that you disagree with in a fair and courteous manner? Do you sound dismissive or disrespectful at any point? Be sure to read through your work at least twice out loud. If you’re ever in doubt, error on the side of grace.

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