Vanderbilt University
Department of  Religious Studies, College of Arts and Science

RLST 213 Ethics in the New Testament

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Rountables  | Choosing an Ethical Issue  | Paper Proposal | Guidelines for Paper |
Ethical Contexual Bible Interpretations Form



1. Active participation/contribution to Class Discussions and therefore presence, including presenting your Ethical Contextual Bible Interpretation Reports in class (using the Ethical Contextual Bible Interpretation form; these reports are graded only twice; but you should prepare one for each week as a preparation to contribute to the discussion.

As part of their participation to class, Divinity and Graduate Students will briefly present (with a two-page handout) A BOOK REVIEW on ONE of the six books (Rhetoric and Ethic; the introductory part of Knowing Truth Doing Good: Engaging New Testament Ethic by Russel Pregeant (the rest of the book will be read by all); Appealing to Scripture in Moral Debate; The Responsible Self; Liberation Ethics; A Feminist Ethic of Risk; Womanist Ethics and the Cultural Production of Evil; and Ethics and Infinity), addressing the question: What are the implications of this book for studying the ethical teaching of the New Testament? (Due at different times; with oral report to the seminar; see schedule)

2. (2x5% = 10%) Two Ethical Contextual Bible Interpretation Reports will be graded.

3. (10%) Leading discussion during a segment of the seminar session once during the semester with handout.

4. (10%) Proposal for your Research Paper outlining a topic due by e-mail: Preliminary choice of your topic due Sept 27 at 10am; complete proposal due Oct 4th in class (CANNOT BE LATE; see detailed explanation Appendix #2 and Appendix #3)

5. (40%) One Research Paper (12-15 pages for undergraduate; 15-18 pages for Divinity Students) due (by e-mail and with a hardcopy) on Dec 13 by 3pm. (See Appendix #4).


GRADES:   A = Excellent, exceptional; very well written (= very well organized; well constructed paragraphs and sub-headings; transitions well used); excellent use of sources (all assertions clearly supported by reference to biblical texts and by a good choice of scholarly works; good note-format [MLA; APA; SBL); correctly addressing all the questions of the topic; and demonstrating special creativity, insightfulness in analysis;

B = Good and solid; well written (= well organized; well constructed paragraphs, fairly good transitions; some sub-headings); good use of sources (most assertions are supported by reference to biblical texts and by a fairly good choice of scholarly works; notes, but haphazard format); correctly addressing all the questions of the topic, but without special creativity or insightfulness;

C = Fairly Good; fairly well written (= information is organized; but paragraphs are not well constructed; transitions are poor); most questions of the topic addressed correctly, but some questions of the topic have not been addressed or have not been addressed correctly ( assertions are often poorly supported by reference to inappropriate biblical texts and by a weak choice of scholarly works; notes, but haphazard format);

D = Poor = poorly written (= poorly organized, etc.); many questions addressed incorrectly, or not addressed at all.

Late work: Late handouts, as well as late proposals, and late papers-in-the-making hurt the rest of the class; when you sign up for an assignment organize your schedule accordingly. Late work will be accepted but graded with 10 points penalty per day (a paper a few minutes late is one day late, based on e-mail time and date as received).


HONOR CODE:  Throughout the semester, you are under the Honor Code of Vanderbilt University. All your reports and your paper should represent YOUR OWN work. Yet you are also expected to learn from others. So as to avoid plagiarism, identify your sources (including from the Web) and the input you received from other members of the class (footnotes mentioning the names of other students in the class should be common). Sign your work as a pledge of compliance with the Honor Code -- i.e., you wrote it without receiving aid from (or giving aid to) any other person, except as specified.

Conversely, the instructor is mindful of the fact that poor teaching elicit cheating as Alfie Kohn (author of a dozen books, including What Does It Mean to Be Well Educated? and No Contest: The Case Against Competition) wrote (New York Times July 13, 2010, OpEd): "an environment conducive to cheating is one where (1) instructors have no real relationship with their students, (2) students experience academic tasks as pointless or overwhelming, (3) how well students are doing (e.g., grades and test scores) matters more than what they're doing, or (4) achievement is construed competitively such that the goal is to outperform others." We shall strive to avoid these 4 pitfalls throughout the semester.