How to Write a Theology Essay

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In the starting points of this chapter, Yaghjian throws introductory questions such as what a theological essay is and how to write it. To answer the “starting points” questions, she defines what essay is in common understanding to relate its structure to “the basis theological essay structure” (61). However, in writing essays, purposeful writing is essential with the significant characteristic of “purpose, subject, structure, style, voice, and audience” and expressing these characteristic in his/her own thinking with the intention of “personal, formal and academic purposes” (61).

Yaghjian takes the readers to the definition of “theological essay” and the purpose of theologians who write them. To consider theological essay, readers must understand what kind of essay are theological essay. After observing Paul Tillich, for Yaghjian, essay is with questions or issues in “systematic way” and answering the questions or issues with the assistant of rich historical Christian tradition sources. In the same time, a good essay writer engages with the readers in a conversation format while writing essays. The author introduces different kinds of theological essay and she instructs how to write this kind of theological essay. To have a comprehensive writing theological essay, she gives two “subspecies”: “critical theological essay and constructive theological essay” where these two have different purpose and goal in each way of writing.

Writing “a critical theological essay” is giving a critique to “nontheological material” (e.g. Film or current global ethical issues) in the light of theological perspectives. Yaghjian helps to identify the “rhetorics of the critical theological essay” in which she emphasizes on explaining th...

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...say characteristics include being “true,” if the essay does not meet the goal of the argument, then, the writer must revise “word by word and sentence by sentence” until it tells the true meaning of the argument.

Seventh requires to write “constructively” from the beginning of the essay to the ending of the essay, the writer must be careful in constructing “words, sentences, and paragraphs.” Eight requires to “connect parts of the essay,” the essay must be in harmony and logical. Finally, revising the essay is essential to produce a complete theological essay, however, the writer should listen the editor comments or the student should listen the professor comments on the essay because comments are to make better theological paper. In sum, Yaghjian invites to write a theological essay in a constructive way whether in “theological voice” or “pastoral voice.”

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