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Interpretive Essay: Paul and the Early Church (Long, Spring 2016)

by Theresa Rhodes last modified Jan 27, 2016 04:57 AM

Your assignment of an interpretive essay is based on your own analysis of the selected text.  Consequently, your paper primarily includes close textual and conceptual analysis of your text.  Dr. Long has suggested that you use the insights and tools of New Testament scholarship to uncover the significance of the passage.  This guide provides tips on the most effective way to search the catalog and electronic resources for this essay.  Disclaimer:  the screen shots in this guide are for illustrative purposes only, you cannot click on images or links.

Books

Mercer University Libraries and GALILEO licensed a discovery service that allows you to search many of our databases simultaneously. You are now able to search the library's physical holdings (Books, DVDs, etc.) and our licensed content (journal articles, indexes, etc.) at the same time!  A Discovery search is not recommended for this assignment, since a basic search on Paul and women retrieves over 183,000 results!  This section provides directions for a focused search of the library's catalog to find printed books on your passage.  Discovery is a great tool, but it is not the most effective or efficient place to start for this assignment.

  • Select catalog search from the search box on the main page (libraries.mercer.edu)
  • This opens a new window (if you didn't get a  new window, go back and make sure you select catalog search and not catalog only

Select the option for an Advanced Search and look at the bottom of the screen for searching tips like using Boolean operators and wildcards.

Initial examples follow for each of the three possible topics.  Your results may vary, and you may need to use different terms.  If you aren't successful with your searches, consult this guide or stop and ask a librarian.

  • Results will be from all locations (Atlanta, Macon, Douglas County, Henry County, and e-books) and include items that can be checked out (status is available) and reference (status is library use only).  You can use the request item function to have an item sent to you from another location.

  • Clicking on the see map link retrieves a floor plan where the item is shelved.

  • Clicking on an enhanced record link (only one tab displays at a time) can be a time-saver, especially if you find a source that includes a bibliography. 

  • This guide provides a good reminder on locating items in the catalog.
Electronic Resources

As mentioned earlier, Mercer University Libraries and GALILEO licensed a discovery service that allows you to search many of our databases simultaneously. You are now able to search the library's physical holdings (Books, DVDs, etc.) and our licensed content (journal articles, indexes, etc.) at the same time!  Although the database we want to search (ATLA) is included in Discovery, the discipline-specific search option is not available in Discovery.  We want to go directly to ATLA instead. 

ATLA

If you aren't a Christianity major or minor, you might not be familiar with ATLA.  This database will become very important as you look for books and articles in the field of religious studies.  Produced by the American Theological Library Association, this database provides links to journal articles, book reviews, and collections of essays in all fields of religion. Full-text is provided for more than 266,000 electronic articles and book reviews. Begun in 1949, indexing for some journal titles extends back into the nineteenth century.

  • You can narrow your search by including synonyms for women, including the wildcard to retrieve women or woman:

  • Use the options on the left-hand side of the page to broaden or narrow your search.  
  • You may also want to experiment with using just the Scripture Citation tool.  Click on Scriptures at the top of the page and advance until you get to the book of Romans:

  • Click on [Expand] to see the individual chapters and [Expand] again to see the individual verses:

  • This screenshot displays the 222 entries where Romans 1:18 is included in the database.  

  • Use the options on the left-hand side of the page to broaden or narrow your search.
  • The Scripture Citation tool is an advanced feature of this database, so it may take some time to use.  Don't hesitate to stop and ask for help!
  • ATLA includes options to temporarily place articles in a folder.  Once items are in a folder, you can e-mail them, save them, print them, and request that the citation be formatted for MLA style.  Remember, Dr. Long has final authority on style requirement.
    • E-mail any articles in a folder before you logoff.  They are active only while you are searching
  • These guides are available to remind you of search techniques, locating full text, and the important reminder to evaluate the sources you find.  Most of the entries in this discipline-specific database are scholarly but not all have been peer-reviewed.
Reminders
  • This assignment is not a research paper but an interpretive essay based on your own analysis of the text.  Resources described on this page may help you as your read further to develop your own analysis.
  • Your first paragraph should reveal to the reader what claim you are advancing/defending with the balance of your essay illustrating and defending your claim.
  • You should include frequent references to and quotation from the text--which is the evidence.
  • Remember to include footnotes that cite any sources you used.  We often use the Purdue Owl.  Librarians are available to review your citations, and Dr. Long has the final word.
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