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Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Research Dilemma

I don't often post about personal problems, but I've got one. I'm writing a research paper on Hebrew lament for a class on World Religions, but I'm having some problems. First of all, I have this enormous temptation to write it like an exegetical paper. However, it's not meant to be an exegesis of a biblical text. I settled on a Jewish topic, not because Judaism and Christianity are close cousins, but because I don't know a whole lot about it. The easy excuse for me here is that, by learning more about Judaism and Hebrew history/literature, I am furthering my work in biblical studies, Old Testament-style.

Here's another issue: I'm finding it difficult to prevent myself from writing for a Christian audience. I was sooo close to having a section on what Jewish lament means for modern Western Christians. But the thought occurred to me that this is not what the paper is about. If I were taking an advanced Old Testament class and chose lamentation as a genre, that would be something else. But this is for World Religions. I'm attempting to elucidate an aspect of another religion with which I am unfamiliar. But how do I do this without attempting to relate it to Christians or a Christian view of biblical studies?

I realized I have not written a research paper without a Christian purpose in about 5 years. I've written a few decent papers: Romans 12.14-21, divorce, porn and families, the Messianic Secret, Mark 5.1-20, an analysis of the growth patterns of the church I attended... every one of them had a Christian basis. Now I'm writing about Jewish literature with no Christian end-game, and I'm stumped.

*Sigh* I've got a couple weeks to figure this out, but I had better hurry. If you guys have any ideas, leave them in the comments. Here's hoping we find a solution.

Grace and peace,

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