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Disciplinary Enculturation - Theory and Praxis

An adjunct to the book chapter, William Badke, "Framing Information Literacy within the Disciplines of Theological Education, " providing further practical options.



Below you will find a number of suggested assignment templates based on the learning objectives in the previous tab.  In each case, the assignment reflects designated objectives (left column) which are indicated by a code.  For example, M6 indicates Metanarrative objective 6, E3 indicated Epistemology objective 3, and so on.

The point of the templates is to provide examples of ways in which faculty can engage students in doing the work of a discipline by embracing the elements of the discipline - epistemology, metanarrative, and method.

Template One

Analysis of a Literature Review in Counseling

A. Read the research paper - Rector, N. A., Man, V., & Lerman, B. (2014). The expanding cognitive-behavioural therapy treatment umbrella for the anxiety disorders: disorder-specific and transdiagnostic approaches. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 59(6), 301-309 - available at [Professor is welcome to choose any other relevant paper that contains a substantial literature review].

B. Answer the following questions:

1. What is the goal of this paper?

2. How important is rigorous research to these authors?  Give some examples where that importance is explicitly stated. [Professor may suggest looking for statements related to repetition of the term "research," the citing of numerous studies in support of conclusions being made, stated gaps in research that create uncertainty].

3. Now consider this study as an example of the primary motivations of these researchers (their hopes and dreams, the way they interact with one another, and the main factors in their work that are important to them). Explain what you see in their "culture." Use quotations from the paper to illustrate your points. [Professor may consider something like the final paragraph of the paper as being a good starting point for analyzing culture - the authors ground all conclusions in evidence-based findings so that limitations and gaps are acknowledged; they show ultimate interest in finding better ways to counsel clients; and they reveal a clear desire to advance knowledge in the right way so that practice can be improved but on a clear empirical foundation].

Template Two

Metanarrative Analysis of Representative New Testament Scholars

A. Find information about each of the following New Testament scholars: C.F.D. Moule, I. Howard Marshall, Martin Dibelius, Rudolf Schnackenburg, Oscar Cullmann, and Rudolf Bultmann. [Professor: Wikipedia may be a useful starting point, including the links and references in each article].  Include:

1. A brief summary of each scholar's background, where he studied, and what theological tradition, if any, he came from.

2. A list of three significant works produced by each scholar.

3. From the list in 2, a summary of the subject area of interest, the method used most often, and a few key findings related to each scholar.

B. Choose one of the scholars listed above and do a more detailed analysis of his world of thought and belief.  Answer the following questions?

1. What were his primary motivations or goals as a New Testament Scholar?

2. Did he see his work as purely academic or as a service to the wider Christian community?

3. What was his view of the nature of the New Testament writings?

4. With which scholars did he agree and with which did he disagree?

C. From your analysis of New Testament scholarship as a community of practice, what are the main characteristics of that community (beliefs, motives, methods of debating one another, and so on)?

Template Three

Historical Analysis of the Speech of Pope Urban II at Clermont

In 1095, Pope Urban II delivered a speech in support of a crusade. He apparently called for retaking the "Holy Land" (Israel) and destroying its Muslim inhabitants and rulers.  The main problem for the historian is that the original sermon text cannot be found (if a text actually existed), and we are left the accounts of five eyewitnesses to the sermon.  These have similarities but differ on a number of points.  We also have a letter of instruction that Urban gave to the crusaders. You will find all five accounts and Urban's instruction document in English translation at

Historians regularly assess primary sources, because these tend to offer more authority about events than do secondary sources created later.  In this case, the primary source, except for Urban's instruction letter, is lost.  The next best sources are the five eyewitness accounts.  Thus the historical task becomes a reconstruction of what Urban actually said, based on the five accounts and his instruction letter. 

The following assignment provides you with a guide to doing such an assessment:

A. Read and take note of the main points of the five accounts and of Urban's letter, including:

1. The facts related by Urban in support of a crusade.  Each account will have a slightly different approach to the facts. Write down in parallel columns points of agreement that any two, three, four, or five have over facts.

2. The tendencies in each account - what does each account emphasize?  What points of argument does each account view as the most significant?

3. What points, emphasized perhaps by only one of the five, strike you as a misperception of the eyewitness or an attempt to promote a view?  Your answers here will be more tentative and subjective.

4. How does Urban's instruction clarify his motives and beliefs about a crusade?

B. Attempt to reconstruct Urban's speech from the five accounts and Urban's letter.  You may want to use secondary literature (books, articles) to see how other scholars sought to determine the content of the speech.  

Note that authority is constructed (we determine what we believe and trust by the evidence at hand) and scholarship is a conversation (the discussion of others can help us navigate a historical task).