INSTRUCTOR: DAVID PERLEY
RLGAO2 W ORLD RELIGIONS II – Winter 2011
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO SCARBOROUGH
INSTRUCTOR : DAVIDP ERLEY
DUE:F EBRUARY 28, 2012 [SUBMIT TO TURNITIN.COM – no hard
REWRITE DUE DATE : APRIL 3
By applying observation and analysis to one of the religious traditions studied in the
course, you will further develop your ability to understand the world’s religions in their
historical and cultural context. You will also gain experience in critical thinking about
questions in the study of religion.
Explore a ritual, ceremony, artifact (temple, icon, art work) or symbol from Judaism,
Christianity, or Islam. Preferably, to encourage deep learning of new content, choose a
ritual/ceremony or artifact/symbol from a religion other than your own, or other than one
connected to your own cultural background. The essay will have two components – a
descriptive and explanatory part.
a. Describe what happens in the ritual/ceremony, or what an artifact or symbol looks
like. Use neutral language for your description – that is, describe it without
technical terms, as though you were describing it to someone who is not familiar
with the ritual/ceremony or artifact/symbol. Description will therefore answer
questions like: Who is involved? What actions occur? What materials are used?
What is happening or depicted?
b. Once you have described the ritual/ceremony or artifact/symbol, explain its
religious significance for the tradition in question. Here you now provide the
terminology used in academic discussion about the tradition, define, classify, and
explain how the ritual/ceremony or artifact/symbol is interpreted in the tradition,
connect it with doctrines and history of the traditions, and demonstrate how it is
an expression of the tradition’s beliefs or doctrines. The explanatory component
will also include your own analysis, demonstration of critical thinking, and
investigations of issues raised by your sources.
Part of your challenge for this assignment is to find and select appropriate sources from
the vast resources available at UofT dealing with these religious traditions.
Your best bet for sources for a successful paper are books found in the UofT library
system. Electronic journal articles accessed through the UofT system are also fine as
sources, but I recommend that these be a secondary or last resort. An essay with all of its
sources coming from the libraries electronic database, unless all of them are perfectly and
directly relevant to your topic, might suggest an unwillingness to do traditional research
for the paper.
Good Sources for the essays include:
Here I mean specifically academic monographs. The Oxford English Dictionary 161356834.doc 2
INSTRUCTOR: DAVID PERLEY
defines a monograph as "a detailed written study of a single specialized topic
(distinguished from general studies in which the topic is dealt with as part of a
wider subject)." So avoid introductory textbooks - these will not give you precise
and specific details that will make the essay successful. Scholarly monographs are
typically published by university presses. If in doubt, email me the title of the
source and publisher info. Avoid popular encyclopedias, dictionaries of religions,
"everything you wanted to know about [insert religious tradition here]" type
sources, except insofar as they contain helpful bibliographies.
2. Journal articles (either hard copies or electronic versions). The dangers of relying
too much on articles for this assignment is that they are the opposite of the general
"intro" type sources, i.e., articles are sometimes so specific and impenetrable that
they are not helpful for introductory, undergraduate assignments. However, to be
fair to my profession, some scholars write excellent, clear, introductory articles
that will help you.
You must use at least 3 sources. Initial research can be aided by consulting The
Encyclopedia of Religion (which contains relevant bibliographies at the end of articles),
but do not use any content from the encyclopedia as a final source for your paper.
Encyclopedias, Internet sources, or the textbook we use in the class will NOT be
accepted as sources. N.B.: UTL Catalogue E-resources are admissible as sources, but
other websites and Internet sources are not admissible as sources for essay assignments.
FORMAT AND DOCUMENTATION
Length: 6 PAGES DOUBLE -SPACED (APPROX . 1500 WORDS )
Your paper must conform to a standard aca