Essay Writing Time

I love cruising around the library in the midst of essay writing season and paying timely visits to my little theologians as they wade through the slough of academic despond and embark on the ordeal of assessment. The smell of old and stale books being opened, the detective-style quest to find key resources, the aura of desperation to meet deadlines, copious caffeine consumption on their breath, the soft glow of laptops in twilight, and a pathological animosity harbored against the professor who set them such insane essay topics with illiberal word counts.  The madness to this method is that the psychological purgatory of term papers, when tackled with the academic ardor of youth, always leads to the hermeneutical heroics of discovery that makes trial by essay so rewarding! An experience to be savored as much as survived. This semester, my Doctrine of God/Work of Christ class is writing on one of four things:

a. Discuss the theological validity of the Filoque clause in the Nicene Creed.
b. What is the practical significance of the doctrine of the Trinity?
c. What kind of knowledge does God have of the future?
d. Evaluate Karl Barth’s doctrine of the Trinity.

To my students, your essays should be in my now, hope they went well, hope you learned much along the way, better have done your footnotes properly, neatly justified your paragraphs, got lots of Calvin and Barth quotes, and I look forward to reading them next week!

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • John McClean

    Mike, it is fun. I like seeing students that what I said in class is an important question actually is an important question and that the answer is not as straightforward as they thought. I have some of the best theological discussions at essay time. For the record, my questions for TH602 are
    1 Assess the claim that the works of God ad extra are undivided.
    2 Can God be self-existent (a se) and truly loving?
    3 Is the incarnation part of the redemptive work of the Son?

  • Alan K

    I remember them well–professors and papers. More than once while sorting through texts and pounding away the keyboard I would think of profs and essays and say, “Thorns in the flesh!” Good luck, students. One day you’ll actually be grateful for the humiliation.

  • I would have chosen essay question no. 1, because a full answer can be made in less than 20 words: “There is no Filoque clause in the Nicene Creed, so the question of its validity is a false dilemma”. The only possible mark for such an answer is 100%: A+.

  • Steph in the Octagon

    Is cruising permitted in theological libraries? I suggest the breath reeks more often pleasantly with garlic, cigarettes and whisky. ‘Little’ theologians – does smallness predominate in theological seminaries? Question 3: Assuming that your idea of ‘God’ exists, how can you possibly know that he knows and know what he knows?

  • Academic writing help

    This is an extremely helpful article. I’d like to add a couple of things
    – command over English language
    – extensive vocabulary
    and crave to learn
    are vital in order to make any academic writing