Christian Origins

Christian Origins

Directions: Answer three out of the four essay questions below, giving as much
relevant detail as you can. This is an open-book, open-note exam. Please refrain from
using any outside sources, as this is not a research paper, but a test on what you’ve
already read. Plan on about 2 pages (typed, double-spaced) for each essay answer. I
expect the exams to be about 5-7 pages total.

1) A main insight of literary criticism is that genre determines meaning. A
newspaper article is not read in the same way as a poem, for example. Define and
describe the main features of “gospels,“acts,” epistles,” and “apocalypses,”
giving examples of each.
2) Select ONE genre—either Gospels or Acts—and compare/contrast a canonical
(New Testament) and non-canonical (apocryphal) writing from this genre.
Concentrate on format and/or religious ideas, as opposed to storylines or other
obvious differences.
3) Select three passages from any of the assigned gospels, acts, letters, or
apocalypses, and explain how they reflect the Jewish and/or Greco-Roman
religious contexts in which the book was written.
4) Early Christians had a lot to say about sexuality and virginity. Describe how this
appears in two or three of the ancient texts we’ve read, and explain their positions.

***Be sure to cite any passages you use in parentheses at the end of the sentence/section.
Example: (Lynch, 14); (Mark 4:10-18); (Gos.Thomas 114). Note that ancient sources use
chapter/verse numbers, not page numbers, but do the best you can. If, for some reason
you do consult an outside source, be sure to cite that too. Failure to cite sources is a form
of plagiarism.

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