Describe the Jewish material culture – how it developed and changed over place and time

Describe the Jewish material culture –  how it developed and changed over place and time


Papers will be worth 200 points (20% of your total course grade) and are DUE 10:00 A.M. (in the

morning) TUESDAY DECEMBER 13 TH (Eastern Standard Time). Late papers will NOT BE

ACCEPTED. Submit papers to this course’s “Final Paper Drop-Box” in ANGEL.

Papers should be concise and three to five pages, with a maximum of five pages per paper. Points

will be deducted for each page over the five-page maximum. Papers should be typed and double-

spaced. Do not forget to include your name at the top of the paper. The papers will not be graded

on grammar, spelling, etc., but a poor presentation may mean that your points are not conveyed as

well as they might be. So, do not ignore those factors.

Submit your paper in a word processing format. Do NOT submit it in pdf format, and do not submit

it as a zipped file.

READ THESE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY. If you have questions about what to write,

contact me about them before you submit your paper.

The primary consideration in your paper scores will be the quality of your conceptual discussion. A

second significant factor will be the accuracy of the information presented. Third, the information

presented should follow a logical sequence and directly relate to your conceptual theme. Finally, I

also will be looking for discussions that are specific and concrete; that do not over-generalize.

Use specific examples and data to illustrate the conceptual points. State the conceptual points

explicitly. Consider the nuances and complex distinctions to be made about your conceptual points,

and explicitly mention the distinctions that you find. Address and discuss multiple aspects and

various sides of your conceptual points. Do not make your theme overly simplistic.

Be sure to focus on the factors that have produced the patterns that you discuss; avoid making

generalizations about patterns that are not supported by information, illustrations, or data. Be

logical about causality; do not overstate the influence of the factors you present; be specific and

direct with your causal assertions; limit the effects you ascribe to any particular factor. Refrain

from making unsupported opinions, assertions, and predictions.

Do not discuss whether a pattern or people have worth or value (i.e., do not discuss Jews or others

as “good,” “bad,” “proud,” “strong,” etc.).

Consider the feedback I provided in your mid-term paper; I will look for similar kinds of things in

this paper.

This paper is being assigned in place of a comprehensive final examination, so be sure to consider

all relevant course material when you write it. While I do not expect you to discuss all the relevant

course material—that would exceed this paper’s scope—you should take into account material

2Jewish Civilization; Instructions for Final Paper

(from this course) that relates to your paper. Doing so will help you avoid unwarranted


Organize your paper according to standard writing techniques. That is, introduce your topic and

themes, discuss them, and describe the conclusions that you have drawn based on the points made

and the examples you have presented in the body of the paper.

Read Dr. Sophia McClennen’s General Evaluation Rubric for Papers (link provided in ANGEL)

for a further sense of how to write your papers and how they will be graded: .

You are expected to write this paper on your own.


Answer ONE of the two questions below, either “A” or “B,” and indicate which you are addressing.

Base your analysis upon concrete examples and keep your interpretations limited to the support you

have provided in the body of the paper and that is based upon research-based information. Do not

over-generalize or “philosophize.”

Papers should discuss what we can be reasonably sure the Jews “have done” rather than on what

Judaic sacred texts put forth or on what Jews may believe.

This is not an opinion piece. It is an assignment that asks you to demonstrate an understanding

of the course material, an understanding that cuts across more than one lesson.

A) 1) Select two time periods and places in which Jews have lived for at least 50 years. 2)

Compare and contrast Jewish society and/or culture in one time period and place with the other

time period and place.

The objective is to provide a holistic description of the factors and social process that have

shaped Jewish civilization over time and place.

The time periods should be separated by at least 100 years.

Each “place” should be a region rather than a particular city. You may define “region” in

your own way; however, the two “regions” should be two separate states (i.e., political units,

kingdoms, empires, or nations). The two “regions” may refer to a single geographic region

if the paper discusses two separate states that ruled in that location (e.g., Judea under Persian

rule and the State of Israel, or the Kingdom of Poland from about 1400 to 1648 and the

Russian Pale of Settlement).

Your discussion of Jewish society and/or culture (i.e., “lifeways”) in these two time periods and

places should cover a range of patterns. The patterns might be in the realm of subsistence, language

& writings, political organization & governance, relations with non-Jews, material culture, gender

norms, religious practice, and so forth.

Your discussion should explore the interconnections among several of the above kinds of patterns in

Jewish lifeways. And, it should compare and contrast these interconnected patterns in one time

period and place with those of another time period and place.

Discuss the factors and the social processes that have produced the patterns you present.

B) 1) Pick one pattern in Jewish history or culture. That is, pick one realm of Jewish

experience, or of the way that the Jews have lived (e.g., their governance, material culture,

religious practice, writings, etc.). 2) Describe the pattern and discuss both how it developed and

how it has changed over place and time. Note the key factors and social processes that have

contributed to any changes.

The objective is to describe and discuss the many fine distinctions in one aspect of Jewish

life and the reasons for those distinctions.

You should cover a minimum of 500 years and 1,000 years would be better, but you do not

need to consider all 3,000-plus years of Jewish history. You may be discussing a longer

time period than in your mid-term paper, but limit your discussion to points that are

accurate, logical, and that support your theme.

Be sure to address the ways in which the pattern differs from one place and time to another. Be sure

to address factors in the pattern’s emergence and various changes.

* * *

 Always specify the times and places of the examples that you use in the paper.

 Pay attention to any social tensions or crises that help to explain the patterns in Jewish history,

culture, or identity that you are discussing.

 Be sure to situate the changes you discuss within the social conditions in which Jews were


 Draw only on events or patterns for which there is scholarly evidence.

 Pay attention both to the conceptual assignment as well as the specific information that

illustrates the conceptual theme of the paper. Link the information you provide to a conceptual

point, and describe that link explicitly.  The term “conceptual point” refers to the abstract

framework in which the patterns you discuss are placed. Your “conceptual point” is, in effect,

your theory about social processes and change. Your “conceptual point” is your hypothesis

about the kinds of factors that shape social processes and that change them.

 Any assertion or conclusion that you make should be supported by specific examples, by facts.

If you have not done so for a particular assertion or conclusion, DO NOT include them in the



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