Writing in Religious Studies
writing guide provides both basic and discipline-specific
information for students taking classes in the Religious Studies
department. Although most of the advice and tips found here
are geared towards students at the 100 or 200 levels, students
taking advanced-level classes will find the writing guide
just as useful.
surface, writing a paper for a religion class may seem similar
to writing a literary analysis. Both types of writing focus
on a thesis - a theory the writer wants to prove - while the
remainder of the paper concentrates on supporting that theory
and trying to prove its validity.
religious writing tends to take a more critical approach.
Commenting on a sacred passage requires the writer to explain
and interpret the writing, while taking into consideration
the perspectives of history, uses of language, the views of
other religions, and the opinions of scholars.
Dr. John Burns more eloquently puts it, "Literary analysis
inclines more to approaching the text as one would Shakespeare,
Homer or the Mahabharata as 'literature.' Exegesis of a text
relies on philology, history, and comparative religion, as
well as on other scholars."
The Religious Studies writing guide was designed and written by Priyanka Champaneri in collaboration with Dr. John Burns and Dr. Terry Zawacki.