Masterpieces of Medieval Hebrew Literature Essay Assignment
Essay Assignment Guidelines Choose one of the topics previously discussed in class.
Summarize the topic
Incorporate and explain a specific element/aspect of the topic that you found interesting while doing your own research
Use at least two outside sources and include a bibliography
Always challenge and scrutinize your sources. Do not follow/represent one opinion.
Do not use sources that have a clear agenda (such as 'My Jewish Learning', 'Chabad' websites, etc.) unless you counter it with more sources.
Length: 3-4 pages (excluding the bibliography)
GUIDELINES FOR WRITING YOUR ESSAY: STUDENTS WITH A TRADITIONAL JEWISH-EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND SHOULD NOT CHOOSE RASHI AS THEIR TOPIC!
1. TOP: In the document, above the actual text, write only your name and the Course Code. For instance: John Smith, Hebr.211 My name and the date are not necessary!
2. Your paper should consist of: Introduction – Main text - Conclusion A conclusion is a short excerpt. Everything in your conclusion should have been already discussed in the main section of the paper. Don’t cover any new ground in your conclusion.
3. Always (!) start with a title"Final Paper" is not a title. The reader should not need to discover the topic in the course of reading the paper. The title should be centered.
4.Text within the paper: Write your lines with 1.5 space distance
5. If you quote two or more lines (e.g. of a book or a poem, etc.): Broader left margin Use single space (1 instead of 1.5) Use quotation marks
6. Short quotes within the text (up to two lines): Italics and quotation marks.
7. Titles within the text should be in italics
8. Add a bibliography at the end. The bibliography does not need to be on a separate page if it fits on the last page of the essay. Please keep in mind that your bibliography does not count towards the required minimum of between 3 and to 4 pages in size.
9. Send me your essay in WORD (preferable!) or PDF, attached to an email.
10. FOOTNOTES When you use/quote/mention a source within the text, use a footnote, with just the last name of the author, and a page number. If your next footnote has the same sourceas the one before, you do not need to repeat the full source, but you write Ibid. (which is short for Ibidem, which means "in the same place"). Or, if it is the same source with a different page: Ibid. p.23 However, in your bibliography, you need to give the full source with: Name of author, full title, year, city of publication
11. BIBLIOGRAPHY ALWAYS ADD A BIBLIOGRAPHY!!! In your bibliography, you need to give the full sources in full and include: Name of author, full title, year, city of publication Without it you will never earn the maximum grade as there MUST be sources that you consult. A reader needs to be able to look them up and verify the information. Or the sources can help someone who is interested in the subject to find more information. If there is still enough space on the bottom of the page, do not use a separate page. However, if there is not enough space, use a separate (extra) page. Your list of sources in the bibliography does not count towards the required pages (3-4)! In your bibliography, using single space between the lines.
12. PAGE NUMBERS Insert page numbers to your essay, preferably in the middle bottom of the page.
SPELLING AND STYLE 13. THE USE OF CAPITALS: 13.a. CAPITALS IN PROPER NOUNS: All proper nouns (names) should be capitalized. Examples are: John, Maimonides, Rashi, Mainz, Jerusalem, Bible, Talmud, etc.
13.b. SPIRITUAL ENTITIES: Spiritual entities that are unique are spelled with a capital (if you believe in them is not relevant): Examples are: God, Lord, Allah, Holy Spirit, Trinity, Satan, Devil, the Divinity. The word god (with lower case) refers to multiple gods. When referring to the Deity in monotheism, be it Judaism, Christianity or Islam, the spelling needs to be God (with a capital G). However in adjectives or adverbs use lower case: godly, divine, satanic, spiritual, etc.
13.c. TITLES AND ATTRIBUTES: Titles and functionaries are with lower case, if more than one of them exist: Examples are: professor, king, judge, lord, nagîd, rabbi, priest, caliph, sultan, prophet, vizier. If however these titles are used as attributes of God, then use a capital: e.g. the King, Lord, Judge. Also, other attributes of God: Almighty, Creator (in contrast to: Karl Benz was the creator of the automobile), the Omnipotent, the Omniscient, the Omnipresent, etc. should be capitalized. If titles are used as a name or a position of a specific person of which there is normally only one at a time (even though there could be technically be more than one person by this title), then it should be capitalized. For instance: the Rebbe, Christ, John the Baptist, the High Priest, the Messiah, the Pope.
13.d. HOUSES OF WORSHIP: A house of worship is with low case: church, synagogue, mosque. If the term refers to an organization/institution, the it IS capitalized. For instance: the Church. In this case, the word Church is seen as an abbreviation of an institution: the "Roman Catholic Church", which of course is also a proper noun (i.e. a name). Furthermore: Sanhedrin. Note that there is no umbrella organization/institution called the Synagogue, or the Mosque. Hence these words are spelled without a capital: synagogue, mosque.
13.e. NAMES OF RELIGIONS: Names of religions and religious movements, as well as their followers are capitalized: Catholic, Christianity, Christian, Conservative, Hasîd, Islam, Islamic, Judaism, Jewish, Muslims, Orthodox, Pharisees, Protestant, Reform, Sadducees, Samaritans, Sufism, Zoroastrians.
13.f. TITLES OF BOOKS: In book titles the first and last words are capitalized, as well as the important words in a title. Important words are Adjectives, Adverbs, Nouns, Pronouns, Subordination Conjunctions like ‘like’, ‘as’, ‘so’, ‘that’, and Verbs. Examples: Guide of the Perplexed, The Jewish State, The Hobbit. Not capitalized in titles are: Articles (a, an, the), Short prepositions (at, by, from), coordination conjunctions (and, but, for). Holy books are capitalized: Bible, Torah, Tanakh, Mishna, Talmud, Gospels, Qur'an, Hadith, Bagavadgita, Upanishads, Scripture, Holy Scripture, Vedas, etc. Titles of books, if written within the text, should be in italics also by the way...!
13.g. CAPITALS IN THE NAMES OF HOLIDAYS: Names of religious holidays: Pesach (also: Paschal lamb), Passover, Eastern, Pentecost, Ramadan, Good Friday, Sukkot
13.h. NAMES OF LOCATIONS: Egypt, Babylonia, Jerusalem, the Red Sea, Mount Sinai, Mount of Olives, Earth, Eastern Europe, Western Asia, Northern France, Hell, Heaven. Exceptions are sentences like: "This course is hell", and: "This ice cream is heaven", where heaven and hell are used as adverbs.)
13.j. DAYS OF WEEKS, MONTHS AND ERAS: Sunday, Tuesday, Saturday, Shabbat, November, Ramadan, Sivan, Nisan, Middle Ages, etc. Without capitals, the words middle ages mean something else: "Out of all ages of the population, the middle ages range from 35-45".
14. THE USE OF ITALICS: 14.a. FOREIGN WORDS WITHIN THE TEXT Use italics for foreign words within the text: yeshiva, kiddush !!! With each foreign word, a translation has to be given the first time that it is mentioned Examples: yeshiva (Talmud academy), tzaddik (righteous one), etc.
14.a. TITLES WITHIN THE TEXT As mentioned before, the title of books or articles mentioned within the text of your essay should be in italics.
15. AVOID REPETITION: * AVOID repetition of similar words!!!!! Examples: "After this introduction, he introduced..." (Instead: After this introduction, he presented/discussed/presented, etc.) "He believed in these beliefs" (Instead: He believed in these concepts / He adhered to these beliefs) "He was the headrabbi and as headrabbi..." (Instead: … and as such… / and in that position…) "He defended his father's work and worked to spread..." (Instead: He defended his father's work and endeavored to spread...) "They could not build buildings higher than..." (better: build structures, or: construct buildings) "This was a very important position that caused Rambam to be very respected" (avoid twice very)
16. EXPRESSIONS TO AVOID: Try to avoid words and expressions like: ‘very’, ‘a lot’, ‘many’.
17. STYLE, LANGUAGE AND SENTENCES: Be as concise as you can be, i.e. in words, not in contents!! Give maximum information with minimum words. Cut up long sentences into shorter ones. When you think you’re done, go over your essay carefully and take out any superfluous words, sentences and phrases. Anything you can take out while still maintaining the essential message should be taken out and this will make your paper stronger!
18. THE USE OF APOSTROPHES: 18.a.POSSESSIVE APOSTROPHES In almost all cases, apostrophes are used with an s after a noun (‘s) to show possession.
18.a.1. With singular nouns, you add ‘s behind the noun: The boy’s sister (i.e. of the boy) The king’s dominion (i.e. of the king) The boss’s employees (i.e. of the boss) The class’s average grade… Mary’s dress Charles Dickens’s novels There are however three exceptions: 1) Jesus: Jesus’ birth (no Jesus’s), 2) Moses: Moses’ leadership (instead of Moses’s) and 3) Greek names than end with an s. Such as: Sophocles’ plays… (and not Sophocles’s). Maimonides, Nachmanides, etc. are also Greek forms, thus: Maimonides’ writings
18.a.2. Do not use an apostrophe when there is no possessive, when the end-s is there for the plural: The boys played together (no apostrophe there!) The kings challenged each other for battle (king’s would be wrong!) The bosses had their annual meeting I just bought some new CDs (so not: CD’s, as it is not possessive) This happened in the 1600s (so not: 1600’s, as it is not possessive)
18.a.3. With plural nouns, you add the apostrophe after the s: For example: The boys’ bikes were laying around (i.e. of the boys) Note: If it says “The boy’s bikes…”, then it is one boy with multiple bikes; if it says “The boys’ bikes, then they belong to multiple boys.) Another example: The kings’ preparation before the First Crusade. If it says: The king’s preparation…” then it concerns only one king; if it says “The kings’ preparation…” then it concerns more than one king.
18.a.4. Possessive apostrophe is only used for nouns!! It is not used for possessive pronouns! Such as: Whose, ours, yours, his, hers, theirs, and its (!)
18.b.APOSTROPHE FOR OMISSION This means that the apostrophe has taken the place of letters that were left out. Examples are: Don’t (from do not), Doesn’t (from does not) I’m (from I am) It’s (from It is)
18.c.DO NOT CONFUSE……. ITS and IT’S !!!! A very common mistake is the confusion of its and it’s. Perhaps counterintuitive, its is the possessive form: For instance: “Judaism experienced its Golden Age…” On the other hand, it’s is short for it is. For example: “It’s good to be the king!” In short: Its means “of it”; it’s means it is!!!!!
19. DO NOT CONFUSE……. THEN and THAN ‘Then’ usually means ‘at that time’: ‘Then the Romans attacked’. Or it could be used for ‘after that’: ‘He built an altar and then prayed for rain’. Or it could be used for ‘in that case’: ‘If I get there in time, then I can take care of it’. ‘Than’ is used in comparisons: Less than, more than, bigger than, better than, rather than.
20. BE CONSISTENT IN SINGULAR and PLURAL Example of a mistake: “Judaism is a religion because they worship God.” Correct would be: “… because it worships God”, or “… because its followers worship God”
21. BE CONSISTENT IN THE USE OF TENSES Don’t shift from one tense to another (e.g. from present tense to past tense, etc.) So do not write: “In 928, Saadia Gaon moves (present tense) to the city of Sura, where he ended up (past tense) in a dispute.” Whether you relay something in the present tense or if you choose another tense: be consistent.
22. USE OF SPELL CHECK Do use the spell check on your computer. It will help you find a number of typos. However, do not rely on spell check. Mistakes like ‘then’ or ‘than’, and many other spelling mistakes may not be picked up by your program. Here is an example of spelling mistakes that will not be detected by spell check: “I have a spelling checker, It came with my PC. It plane-lee marks four my revue Miss-steaks aye can knot sea. Eye ran this poem threw it, Your sure reel glad two no. Its vary polished in it’s weigh. My checker tolled me sew.”