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Jesus Wept… after reading your paper.

May 28, 2007

At my University I have the wonderful responsibility of being a TA. Most of the time it is quite enjoyable. My professor is a great guy with a deep reservoir of experience and knowledge whom I love to learn from. I get to read and mark many papers from students, and often, I am very impressed with their writing, and I learn a fair deal as well from many of their insights.

However, every once in awhile I read something that shocks me with its absurdity. I give you here a small sampling, enjoy:

Most Christians today don’t view the OT as Scripture.

I’m not sure what this student was trying to say, but there had to be a better way to word it.

I believe that Martin Luther King and a group of Christ followers were given wisdom from God to combine and form the Bible we have the opportunity to read today.

Martin Luther King? Really? Martin Luther King? At the very least those must have been some very interesting and inventive Sunday School classes.

Mary the mother of Jesus states that: “He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.” Mary is talking about Jesus and how he has stripped the rich and gave to the poor.

A) Jesus had not been born yet when Mary said this, and B) Jesus is not Robin Hood. Some sort of allusion to the disciples as the Merry men and the circle would have been complete

The Jews really began to get a sense that God was not exclusively theirs, he did not belong to “the righteous people”, and that the Pharisee’s view of righteousness did not match God’s.

Perhaps, this is in the Message.

Although I think that Matthew knew too little about Jewish culture and attitudes to properly address the Jews in his time.

Have you not read... Uh, apparently not!

Yes, the first thing that jumps out after reading Matthew is how little he knew about Jewish culture.

When he came riding on a donkey, people were so happy to finally have someone to save them from the Romans. But they began to see that Jesus came to save them from sin.

And that’s why we crucified him your honour.

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20 Comments leave one →
  1. Jim permalink
    May 28, 2007 11:29 pm

    Each and every one of those comments deserves and F. And each person writing them deserves to fail the entire course, as well as spend a long time in purgatory. I hope you can arrange both.

  2. Jim permalink
    May 28, 2007 11:30 pm

    That’s ‘an’

  3. May 29, 2007 3:56 am

    I’ll see what I can do ;)

  4. WhoreChurch permalink
    May 29, 2007 3:09 pm

    I didz my paperz az the spirit leedz me. How duz you noz Matt wuz a Jewz?

  5. Gail permalink
    May 29, 2007 9:47 pm

    Thanks for sharing these–priceless. How do you respond to them when you grade them?

  6. May 30, 2007 6:16 am

    Gail,

    What I want to write is something along the lines of: “After you wrote this sentence Jesus personally removed your name from the Book of Life.”

    However, my professor who is much smarter and merciful than myself has suggested an alternative–that may be better, but definitely not as funny or humiliating.

    The quotes in this post are from an introduction class, and it is definitely a process in taking the first year students from Sunday School type thinking to something more critical that can be built on in subsequent classes. Therefore, crushing them while they are already experiencing much cognitive dissonance is not an option, so I usually go with something along the lines of:

    Do you have a source for this?

    Are you sure about this?

    Hmmmm….

    Interesting….

    Where did you read this?

    When they come and ask me about my comment then I talk them through the issue… unfortunately the ones that write the stupidest things rarely come and ask why I wrote what I wrote on their paper. That should probably come as no surprise.

  7. WhoreChurch permalink
    May 30, 2007 9:07 am

    When I was a Freshman at Fundy U I had a prof who was brilliant–celebtrated and well published archeologist, professional concert pianist, published in 3 disciplines, multiple PhDs.

    He aslo was so brilliant he didn’t have a clue about why people do the things they do.

    So when he assigned a 10-page paper citing references, I used the ISBE* as my single source. It was quick, dirty and, after all, he didn’t specify the NUMBER of sources.

    [ Note to current students: Back in the Cambian we had to places called "libraries" and open ancient manuscripts called "books" to do research. Sure, today we all use the Google, but it didn't exist at the time. ]

    Even as a Frosh I new using the ISBE alone wasn’t kosher, but I also new he would assume I didn’t know any better.

    I got an “A” with a long supplemental page explaining why using one source is not really scholarship. Using these techniques I graduated 3rd in my class.

    Years later I worked as his TA. I never had the courage to tell him what I did. And Jesus wept.

    In my defense: The class was a 3 credit hour, T/Th beginning at 7:30am.

    *ISBE – the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Punisher, does anybody even use this any more?

  8. May 30, 2007 9:52 pm

    I don’t know if anyone still uses that. I’m pretty sure I haven’t used it, and I don’t know if it is good or bad.

    Unfortunately, on most of our papers the minimum number of sources is 10 with at least two being from a refereed academic journal. We use SBL format that requires the footnoting of all sources, as well as a bibliography, and at least in our scholastic environment the quickest way to lose marks is to not do this hard work. Trust me, time spent in “libraries” reading many, many “books” is still very much alive.

    There are some shortcuts, but seeing as one of my professors may be lurking here I will not reveal all of my secrets! Sorry, T Dubs. ;)

  9. Jim permalink
    June 5, 2007 5:14 pm

    In fact the ISBE is generally quite good. Sure, some of the stuff is out of date by now- but it really is something useful for especially the most rudimentary things.

  10. WhoreChurch permalink
    June 6, 2007 12:22 am

    And he’s a DOCTOR! Appeal to authority–sure to win every argument.

  11. June 16, 2007 12:32 pm

    I’ll be honest, during hockey season I wrote a paper where I said that Jesus died on “Calgary.” Fortunately, I was able to find the mistake before I turned it in, but I felt stupid nonetheless.

  12. September 13, 2007 10:30 pm

    i know this is an old post, but i just found it off your “100 anniversary” post. Hilarious. I ta’d for two theology profs and an OT prof, and man, the stuff that kids can churn out, no? There were a few times (more than a few) where i actually had to write “I have NO idea what it is you’re trying to say. REad this sentence out loud to yourself and tell me if it makes any sense whatsoever.” “F”. I don’t understand how you can graduate from high school without being able to write a coherent sentence.
    Also, I once took a class where a student was giving a report. He took a stack of paper out of a briefcase, which turned out to be website pages printed off the internet, and proceeded to give a report on William of Orange (the WRONG william of orange) by rifling through his papers and reading out random facts from random websites. it was a killer presentation.

  13. November 29, 2008 9:41 pm

    Thanks for the laugh.

  14. January 25, 2011 11:23 pm

    One favorite (and unintentional) moment of biblical goofiness was a student who, writing about The Hobbit, claimed that the tunnelling dwarves “found gold and Jews.” To which I replied “Yes, that old anti-semitic canard “where there’s gold ….” I don’t think he understood my snarky joke.

  15. November 30, 2011 6:51 pm

    This was funny. And what’s funny is that I just finished writing my theology paper just 20 minutes ago. I wonder if I’ll get any “interesting” comments back from prof. Thanks for the laughs!

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  20. Dorcie Lacy permalink
    February 24, 2013 7:59 am

    While attendeding Bible college I was asked to speak on “hair” I said … “Let’s face it some people have it and some people do not ” I was given an “A” grade …. not sure what the “A” stood for . But everyone loved my speech.

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