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December 03, 2020, 09:33:16 am

Author Topic: Overview of this amazing subject!  (Read 2737 times)  Share 

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Overview of this amazing subject!
« on: December 12, 2014, 04:35:14 pm »
What does the subject involve?
You study Jeremiah/Ezekiel, Luke, John or the Qur’an.  From your overall set text, you will have passages for special study/special chapters, which end up about ¼ of the set text.  These special chapters change every year.  You’ll study them much more in depth than the rest; details from them are more likely to come up in extended responses and essays, and you’ll have to write an exegesis on a passage from the special chapters in two SACs and the exam.

Throughout the year, you’ll learn:
•   the historical background of the era the text was written
•   stuff about who wrote the book and when, the literary style, etc.
•   major themes and ideas that the author is trying to convey through the text
•   how later groups have used the book to form their religious beliefs; e.g. what have Christians taken out of Luke, how does it shape their lives, worship and beliefs
•   good knowledge of the ‘story-line’/’plot’ of the book; you’ll learn what happens in Chapter 17 or Surah 2, or what weird and wacky stuff Ezekiel does to teach the people...
•   in-depth study of your special chapters: how different scholars have interpreted them, etc.

Note: in this post I cover Units 3 and 4; Unit 1 can help Units 3/4 but neither 1 or 2 are at all essential for 3/4.

Why do Texts and Traditions?
If you're not sure whether to do it, I can tell you I loved it!

1. It's fascinating.
Religion is simply a really interesting subject - it is perhaps the major former of history and society. This subject also involves a touch of history (of the time period when it was written), literature, close analysis, religions and how they interpret their text, and research (you don't get spoon-fed in this subject so it's a great preparation for life!).
For those studying what isn't their religion, getting an insight into another major religion is not only extremely interesting but will help you in your understanding of the world and interactions with others.

2. It'll help other writing subjects.
Doing multiple writing/humanities/English-style subjects automatically help each other.  When you practice writing for T&T, timed, you're practicing how to express yourself fast and clearly, kind of a cheating way of studying for two at once.  (Though beware, T&T has to be much more concise and to-the-point - you do need different writing styles!)  In some ways, exegesis reflects Language Analysis in English and close textual analysis of a passage in Literature, and essays are like text responses (stripped of fluff and beautiful writing).

3. Are you religious?
Whether you're religious or not, you learn so much and will probably find it really interesting, but obviously it's most applicable to a Christian, Jew or Muslim.  If you care about your religion and actually knowing your religious text, I very seriously advise you to take the subject and work hard on it.  The easiest way to make your religion important in your life is making it a part of your education!
(Religious side note: if you’re truly passionate about your religion, beware the way Texts treats the inspiration/reliability of the scriptures.  You’ll be taught that they’re historically fictional and fabricated to fit the author’s agenda; the idea that GOD was involved is scorned.)

Unit 3: 25%
SAC 1: questions on historical background of the text
SAC 2: a report on the authorship, dating, structure and literary style of your set text, and types of scholarly criticisms
SAC 3: an exegesis drawn from the first half of your special chapters

Unit 4: 25%
SAC 4: an exegesis drawn from anywhere in your special chapters
SAC 5: an essay/report on a theme, idea or belief in the set text, and how the later tradition has interpreted this

The exam has 3 parts.  They're worth equal marks; the exam makes up 50% of the SS.
Extended response
In the exam, there are 4 questions to choose from, worth 10 marks each; you'll choose 3.  It's just a question, normally with multiple parts, which you write 1 – 1 ½ pages on (which in an exam booklet isn’t nearly as much as normal paper).  They could be taken anywhere from the set text, and could ask about themes, specific passages, historical background... anything.  They tend to be more fact-based, but people always lose marks when the question asks for the significance of something.  Just make sure you answer every part of the question – doesn’t have to be long, just answer it directly, using headings, tables, charts, dot points, anything to get the facts across clearly.
Beware: often people fall into the trap of thinking this is the 'easy' section so they dedicate only 25-35 min of the 2 hrs on this section.  It's worth just as many marks! 

Questions 1, 2 and 3 are normal questions, then question 4 is always split into 4a and 4b.  You can only do 4a OR 4b, not both.  Question 4a gives a short 3-5 verse passage (not necessarily from your special chapters - it wasn't for us), and asks you to write a commentary on a specific theme, worldview, piece of historical background etc., with close reference to the passage.  The art with this one is to use the passage as a springboard for the question: you’ve got to be careful not to just summarise the passage, and not to just answer the question ignoring the passage.

4b is based on the same passage, but asks you to explain a theme/idea/belief of your choice that the 'later tradition' (anyone from after when the text was written) drew from this passage.  Contrary to what the examiners say, DO NOT DO 4B unless a REALLY obvious thing jumps out at you.  How are you supposed to know some fact about the later tradition’s interpretation, on ANY passage from the entire set text?  If you try to learn details about this, you will be wasting your time as it’s totally irrelevant to the rest of the course, except one SAC.

You’ll write 1, worth 30 marks.  It’s a bit like an English text response, but far less waffly.  It could be on any topic, mainly themes, but also other ideas, literary devices... This is often the hardest/scariest section (it was for me) as it requires deeper analysis, insight, and structuring skills.

Check out the VCAA criteria:
•   Discussion, understanding and/or interpretation of the idea, themes, literary structures and/or individuals of topic
•   Management of topics, using the various parts of the question to support an interpretation
•   Selection and use of textual detail and evidence significant to the discussion and/or interpretation
•   Understanding of sociocultural, religious and historical influences on foundational text and/or significance to original community
•   Use of scriptural and theological terminology appropriate to the topic and textual passages used

Essay hints:
Be concise!  And focus on forceful, crisp, to the point and summarising topic sentences.

Stick like glue to the topic!
 - check you know exactly what the topic is, and cover the ENTIRE topic (so easy to miss bits under exam pressure)
 - write a plan first so you don't wander off topic
 - don't try to force a response you can do well into a different topic
 - never go off on tangents just because you know a whole lot of side info - it may look good but misses the point
    and wastes time

Ensure you include:
 - quotes, ideally with specific references (not ESSENTIAL, but impresses the examiner that you know your stuff)
 - scholarly terms throughout (e.g. Parousia, salvific)
 - something on the historical background; it can be hard to fit in, but is worth (theoretically) 1/5th of the marks...
 - quotations from scholars (not essential but impressive)

About examples:
 - cite a wide range of quite diverse examples, and try to make paragraphs as different as possible
 - don't use three separate but similar incidents/with a similar message,, or you end up repeating yourself
 - try to balance examples and explanation - it shouldn't be just a list of examples without analysis, but on the
   other hand ensure you quote a wide variety of situations to show wider knowledge and avoid fluff
 - if a question isn't limited to the special chapters, cite at least one example from outside them, to show
    you know the entire text

What’s an exegesis?
You choose 1 out of 3 passages, worth 30 marks.  It’s a scary word, but not that scary in reality.  By the end of the year you’ll be able to write an exegesis on any passage (generally 10-18 verses long) in your special chapters.  Basically, you take the passage, and in an essay-ish piece of writing explain the passage, specifically:
•   what comes before and after it – that way you can show if the author is developing something, or if it’s in the middle of a long discourse
•   the historical background of the passage, like people/places/worldviews mentioned.
•   scholars’ opinions on what certain phrases/events mean
•   anything that’s unclear in the passage
•   the literary form: obviously a story section with a miracle is different to a section of prophecy or teachings.  So scholars like to put every chunk into a nice little box based on its characteristics – like parable, miracle/healing story, annunciation, quest story, infancy narrative, lament/woes...
•   literary techniques in the passage – like foreshadowing, repetition, contrast, etc.
•   themes/ideas – this is pinpointing themes from your list of themes (http://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/Documents/vce/txtraditn/VCE_TextsTrads_Works_List-2015.pdf for 2015) in the passage and explaining what the author shows about these themes through the passage
•   messages for the original audience: obviously, the passage wasn’t written as a nice entertaining fairy tale; the audience had something to learn.  You have to explain (or make up) what they would have learnt, mentioning especially their situation – e.g. Luke’s community was facing severe persecution at the time.

Random tips
Write and learn a summary of the text
Before the year starts, write your own summary of your set text, under chapter or section headings.  How much detail you include depends on how much you already know; for me, I already knew the outline of most parables so I could just name them.  Study this through the year.

Cue cards
I would make three sets of cue cards to help learn what happens though the book, and study it through the year:
  • one with the chapter on one side and outline of the chapter on the other side, for the entire set text, e.g. Luke 5: Peter's miraculous catch of fish, cleansing the leper, healing the paralytic, call of Levi and banquet with tax collectors, question about fasting
  • one with passages for special study, one card for each passage, so you know what happens in each separate passage, e.g. Luke 5:1-11: Peter's miraculous catch of fish
  • one with specific, significant verse references on one side and the verse on the other side, e.g. Lk 5:32: I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Cue cards are also great for themes, historical background, exegesis passages and anything else!

Know the text inside out
Read/listen to your set text probably 2x a term. (plus before the year starts)

Write, TIMED, the whole year through.
The two hour exam is the hardest skill to master for Texts, but with practice you'll get it.  At the start of the year, this means answering extended response questions on historical background since this is all you’ve learnt. e.g. what’s the difference between temple and synagogue, who were the Pharisees, etc.  I know it’s painful, but make it your TOP priority!!!  Even if your teacher can’t mark it all, that’s not the point (or you could post it here for critique-ing).  Just make sure you edit it afterwards to check what you should have included/changed. 

Answer previous essay/extended response questions
Scream at your teacher until they provide you with a list of all the essay questions and extended responses in your section from 1995 onwards (or 2003 for Qur’an); if you can complete either full responses or at least plans for all the questions relevant to your themes/special chapters, I promise your study score will rise by about 5.  Writing thorough essay plans is very worthwhile.

Attend the revision lecture

Stick up key verses on your walls round your house – you’ll need to be able to quote them later! 
Note: you don't NEED to put quotes with specific references; but it impresses the examiner (so the assessment reports say) and can mask other failures.  Especially if you find it easier to 'rote learn' info than analyse/explain beautifully, I recommend learning the exact references for all passages for special study.  It looks way better to reference the cleansing of the leper (5:12-16) than the cleansing of the leper (chapter 5), or worse, just ‘the cleansing of the leper’.

Colour-code your notes
You could colour-code exegesis notes according to historical background, literary forms/techniques, themes, and meaning for audience.  For instance, in a passage you could highlight certain phrases different colours based on which section of your exegesis you intend to place them in.
Or, you could colour-code themes.  For me, Discipleship was blue, Prayer was pink, the Identity of Jesus was yellow... this just helps with making connections between themes and linking historical background/literary techniques etc. to the themes.  Though I'm not a visual learner, this still really helped me.

Connections and significance
For every 'fact' you learn (and there are a lot to swallow!) try to draw one piece of significance or connection to something else.  This is what distinguishes medium or high from very high - always going that extra step of insight and drawing links.

Mix up how you refer to evidence
When using evidence in essays/ext responses, mix up how you do it - whether you insert specific quotes or just paraphrase (it's often based on how specifically you know the references ;)).  You never need to state the Gospel/book name as it wastes time.  Also, recall that if you’ve cited a specific reference, you don’t need to spend long paraphrasing what it’s about as the examiner (theoretically) knows exactly what you’re talking about.
•   in chapter 5, when Jesus cleanses the leper...
•   in [Lk] 5:12-16, when Jesus cleanses the leper...
•   When Jesus cleanses the leper (5:12-16)...
•   When Jesus cleanses the leper and ‘touches’ him (5:13)...

Enjoy it!
I'm not going to lie; T&T isn't the easiest subject, and for me took far more work than any other subject.  The night before the exam, it really hits you that they could ask anything, absolutely ANYTHING relevant to your set text.  (At least exegesis is limited!)  With comparatively few resources and people to ask, this subject takes research and self-motivation - so you're going to have to enjoy it to do well!  I promise you it can be a very rewarding subject, but motivation and enjoyment is the KEY to the subject.

Some other useful posts
How to improve writing in Texts & Traditions
Some hints (and scroll down to next response)
Resources/Advice: QURAN
Luke: Resources
Should we know references? etc.
How to write an exegesis
Preparing for exams

Feel free to ask any questions below, post some of your work for feedback, or start a new topic!  I'm always happy to help out :)
« Last Edit: August 17, 2015, 06:13:06 pm by bangali_lok »
VCE 2014: HHD, Bio, English, T&T, Methods

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Re: Overview of this amazing subject!
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2014, 01:59:14 pm »
I love this! <3


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Re: Overview of this amazing subject!
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2015, 06:21:40 pm »
Hey fellow T&Ters!  As exams are starting to loom on the horizon, thought I'd bump this to remind you that I'm here if you ever have any questions about Texts and Traditions or want any feedback on work!  Don't forget to read How to write an exegesis, and the Luke and Qur'an resources threads, and check out the T&T Notes section :D
VCE 2014: HHD, Bio, English, T&T, Methods

I love you, AN. Keep being cool. <3