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Marc Brettler


Lown  311

The Hebrew Bible/Old Testament

Professor Marc Brettler (Near Eastern and Judaic Studies)

Professor Marc Brettler (Near Eastern and Judaic Studies)

"I had a chat with undergrads who said college did not teach them to write short clear summaries which they needed as professionals.  So, I took that to heart.  I also think we learn a lot by comparison, either explicit or implicit. 

"The first assignment is to compare two scholarly articles and do a reverse outline.  I think that reverse outline helps students figure out how to organize better.  We have a pre-assignment, where we ask the students to write very short pieces about each of the article.  We will use these to help them distinguish between summary and evaluation.  For our larger paper, we did pre-drafts because we want to be able to give feedback, and so they cannot write the paper the night before.  That’s the logic behind the annotated bibliography too.  There is continuity in assignments: first one is diversity of interpretation and the second one is diversity of themes.  In wording each assignment, we thought about what kind of hair-pulling disasters we wanted to avoid and created the assignments accordingly." —Professor Marc Brettler

Writing Assignments

  • Pre-draft assignment: topic proposal outline (doc)
  • Pre-draft assignment: annotated bibliography (doc)
  • Assignment to develop summarizing and critiquing skills (doc)
  • Comparative essay assignment, 750 - 1000 words (doc)
  • Comparative paper assignment, 7 - 10 pages (doc)

Lesson Plans

  • Exercise on writing evaluative pieces (pdf) and (doc)
  • Lesson plan on evaluative writing (doc)
  • Exercise on choosing evidence and writing a thesis (doc)
  • Handout on thesis (doc
  • Exercise for writing a summary paragraph (doc)
  • Lesson plan on summary writing (doc)
  • Summary writing handout (pdf) and (doc)