The Concept of Faith
Second Paper Prompts
Please write a paper of 1750 words comparing the understanding of faith presented in one of our three major readings (Augustine, Kierkegaard, or O’Connor) with that presented in another reading in order to answer the question: what is faith? Do not simply write half a paper detailing one idea of faith, half a paper detailing another, but use the two different conceptions of faith to offer a richer answer to the question. Some questions that might help you, but you are not obligated to answer: do the different authors look at faith from different perspectives? How does this affect their definitions? Does one or both of your authors neglect certain aspects of faith that are discussed by others? Are they directly responding to each other? This is not a personal meditation on your own understanding of faith. Rather, it is a sustained engagement with two texts to sketch out a concept for your reader as it is presented in the readings. You do not need to personally agree with the definition of faith you arrive at, but instead can present it as (for example): “Given Flannery O’Connor and William James’s conception of faith, we can perhaps best understand faith as…..”A few guidelines:The goal of these papers is to present an argument, not merely to summarize the readings. The texts we’ve read should serve as evidence for what you’re arguing, but the dominant voice in the paper should be your own. I know what the authors on the syllabus have said, now I’m interested in what you have to say. You do not have to answer every question given in a prompt. Use them as spurs to deeper thinking on the subject
.Papers should be submitted in .doc or .docx format. Give your paper a title, include page numbers, and remember to put your name somewhere easy to find, preferably on the first page. Citations may be either parenthetical or in footnotes. The precise style does not matter. What does matter is that you are consistent and that I can easily find where you’re citing from. YOU MUST CITE YOUR SOURCES! Failure to do so will result in a substantial penalty. By the end of your first paragraph I should know the thesis of your paper and have at least a vague idea of how you will argue for it.It is much better to write a paper with a narrow focus that explores a topic in depth than a paper which explores many topics shallowly. Papers will be evaluated on the basis of a.) how clearly and precisely your argument is articulated; b.) your grasp of the sources; and c.) the quality of your thesis in roughly that order of importance.