Monday, 21 April 2008

Writing Theology Well

One of the frustrations we often gather from our students is the ability to write well in their papers. It is not that they don't have excellent ideas, or that they are severely handicapped by the lack of command of English language - but many of them just do not know how to express their argument well in theology papers.

I have been wondering for sometime how to help these students write well. I think I may have found the answer in the book written by Lucretia B. Yaghjian, Writing Theology Well: A Rhetoric for Theological And Biblical Writers (New York: Continuum, 2007).

In describing this book, the publisher notes: "In its creative integration of the disciplines of writing, rhetoric, and theology, Writing Theology Well provides a standard text for theological educators engaged in the teaching and mentoring of writing across the theological curriculum. As a theological rhetoric, it will also encourage excellence in theological writing in the public domain by helping to equip students for their wider vocations as writers, preachers, and communicators in a variety of ministerial and professional contexts."

I decided to check out the table of contents of the book at Amazon.com and I must say that I am not disappointed. A copy for the library will be ordered, and I would encourage all my students to read it. There is no more excuse for writing "bad" papers!

14 comments:

Jack Said said...

Adui...if my england is poor, how to read england "rhetoric" books to improve my writings in england?

Adui sekali lagi.

Steven Sim

BK said...

I found Anthony Weston's slim volume A Rulebook For Arguments quite helpful while at uni; my professor was also a fan. I've never used Patricia O'Connor's Woe is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English, but it also comes recommended, especially for those needing help with grammar, sentence structure etc.

Of course, when all else fails, there's always the classic Strunk & White!

pearlie said...

Aiyo ... at the rate the recommendations are coming, by the time I break my 6-month-book-fast, I will have so many books to get, might as well not fast! haha ... looks good, and some more I think I have mentioned several time over I have a penchant for 3 kinds of books - theology, history and language ... sigh ...

pearlie said...

BK,
A Rulebook for Arguments sounds interesting. I happened to grab a copy of Woe is I before my book-fast but I don't think it is in the league of Writing Theology Well. I think it is more than grammar - it is presenting a good argument - which is why your first first book caught my interest.

Oh dear ... more books in the list ... and counting ...

jdarlack said...

Hi there Kar Yong! Jim Darlack here (from Gordon-Conwell). You may also want to consider Deborah Core's book, The Seminary Student Writes. It is a much shorter read than Yaghjian's book. I read it for a class in theological librarianship not too long ago. It's very helpful. Of course, Yaghjian's book is fantastic, but it may be a bit overwhelming for the beginner.

Kar Yong said...

Steven,

Ahahaha...If your England is poor, then learning Welsh. It's fun, and you might do well!

Kar Yong said...

Hi BK,

Thanks for the suggestions. One of these days, if you are back in the country, perhaps I should get you to do some coaching for our students....

Kar Yong said...

Hi Pearlie,

Hahaha...with the Evangel Sale starting this Friday (April 25), I wonder how you could continue to "fast"....

That's why I believe in grace...(and specialise in the NT)...Hahahah...No need fasting...only self-control...

Kar Yong said...

Hi Jim,

Great to see you again! Thanks for the recommendation - will look into it.

I think you are right - Yaghjian's book is a bit overwhelming, more so for most of our students where English is not their first language.

pearlie said...

Self control (as far as books are concerned) is relative, a fast is more definitive - none means none! haha!

Kar Yong said...

Hi Pearlie,
That's why you have the empowerment of the Spirit mah...

pearlie said...

Haa ... that's categorical error ;) I am certainly being empowered by the Spirit to fast, in fact, I am practicing self-control to fast, and I must say I am doing pretty good job - you had better save enough money for my dinner! LOL... no worries, I don't have expensive taste - one char kuey teow will do, hehehe.

Kar Yong said...

Haha...

Even the Evangel sale can't lead you into temptation?

pearlie said...

As long as you don't flap their banner in my face the whole day, I will be fine.