The purpose of the final written reflection
To explain what you have learned in this course concerning religious and theological studies.
The purpose of the final discussion
To discuss your understanding of the course material and to learn from the variety of ways in which your classmates understood the course content.
The focus question and the audience for the final written reflection and discussion
How does a religious tradition shape an understanding of what it means to be human? Your audience is other students in this class, some of whom will be reading your written reflection.
Organization and content of the essay
The written reflection is to be organized around the following four components and should appear in your essay in the order listed below.
1. Explain some basic ways that scholars study religious traditions. What are some of the key questions and basic concepts they use to study a religious tradition? (Prothero, Portier Ch.1, and Portier Ch.3, can be useful to you here.)
2. How were these approaches (the key questions and basic concepts) used in our study of Christianity? What are some of the fundamentals (beliefs, practices, teachings, exemplars) that emerge from our study of Christianity, and how do they shape a Christian’s understanding of what it means to be human in relationship to God? (Please use two class readings from the Christian Scriptures and at least three other sources from the sections on Christianity.)
3. Choose one of the other religious traditions studied in this course (Judaism or Islam). Discuss some of the key questions and basic concepts we used to study that religious tradition. What are some of the fundamentals (beliefs, practices, teachings, exemplars) that emerge from our study of that tradition, and how do they shape that tradition’s understanding of what it means to be human? (The Overviews, Creation Accounts from Qur’an Translation, Siddiqui, A Common Word, Ochs, Dabru Emet, and Genesis will be useful to you here – use at least two sources for whichever tradition you choose.)
4. Finally, explain why the study of religious traditions, especially their understanding of the human person, is significant in the 21st century. Use evidence from the authors read this semester and class discussions to back up your argument. (This is to be your reflection; however, evidence used for your position must be cited!)