M13 patristic book report submission augustine/athanasius book reports

Book Report and Responses (15%).  Rather than dividing theology into discrete sections, each student will read and report upon one ancient writer who draws together theology into a coherent whole.  The report will be 750+ (750 or more) words long.  Give the word count at the end of the paper.  You must post it by 11:59pm on the day it is assigned.  You may select ONE of the following works for this project.  Since the library has limited copies of these works, you are encouraged to use electronic copies that you can find online:

Athanasius, On the Incarnation


Augustine, Enchiridion (Handbook) on Faith, Hope, and Love

BR65.A73 E5 1999, BR65.A6 E5 1955, BR60.A35 no. 3 1947


The critique should consist of two parts:

PART 1 (approx. 500 words): outline the main points of the book;

PART 2 (approx. 250 words): offer an evaluation of the book.

Topics for PART 1

  • Briefly give the context of the writer and the book.
  • What is the author’s background/denomination?
  • To whom is the book addressed?
  • If a historical book, what influence has it had?
  • Describe the main argument of the book.

What is/are the central idea(s) that hold the book together?  What unites the various points of their theological vision?

In outlining the book’s main points, you may indeed quote key sentences from the book or at least point to key sections. If so, just give the page reference or paragraph/chapter reference in parentheses. EXAMPLE: Jones initially declares, “The Psalter is an interesting, albeit complex book” (pg 1). OR “Jesus is my hero” (ch 9).  If you are only using the online version, you should obviously cite the chapters.  Please do not quote undigested paragraphs from the book you are reviewing.

If you wish to refer to other books, please footnote them as normal, but this exercise will not normally require references to other material, except perhaps to clarify occasional points of comparison or contrast.

Topics for PART 2:

  • How satisfying is the reading that this author provides?  Why or why not?
  • Are there aspects of the book that seem defective or misguided or does the author ignore evidence contrary to his/her position?
  • How could the argument of the book be strengthened?
  • What aspects of the book were new to me? What aspects were helpful?
  • If you find yourself convinced by the writing, your evaluation/response should at least include a description of one topic that you found especially interesting.

Not all these points have to be included (for Part 2).  Remember to give reasons for your judgments.

The Book Report is due on Wednesday, July 3.

Responses: In addition to posting your own report, you must respond to at least two other Book Reports. See the note below on Responses.

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