It is well understood that Dante’s Divine Comedy is indebted to the philosophy and theology of Thomas Aquinas for how it conceptualizes the nature of God, human reason and faith, the foundations and limits of human knowledge and experience as well as the end goal for all human beings. Looking at the selections from the writings of Thomas Aquinas and those from Dante presented in class, choose two or three items from the list below and in an essay examine how these are addressed in the texts of both the philosopher and the poet.
In your thesis statement include which items below you have chosen.
The essay should be at least four pages long and should engage the texts directly for evidence and discussion. Please see the general handout on the writing assignment for more detailed guidelines.
- The relationship betweenfaith and reason
- Revealed knowledge and knowledge obtained through reason
- The teleological structure of human existence.
- Love of things in this world as opposed to love of God.
- The vision of God
- Human happiness
Outline of Handout
- Use of Sources/Citation Method
- Grammar and Mechanics
- Academic Integrity
- Final Draft Checklist
We expect at the very least four pages of typed, double spaced text.
Your essay should have three main parts: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
Your introduction should
- State your thesis. In other words, you should have a sentence that is a direct response/answer to the question(s) being addressed. It is this answer which you will support and develop in the body of your essay.
- Your introduction may have other sentences that help lead into this thesis or provide some context for it.
The purpose here is to support your thesis. With this objective in mind, you should then ask yourself a simple question: What are the main points I need to make that will justify my position on the issue presented in the introduction? It will take some time and thought to figure out what the main points should be. However, if you always keep the essay’s objective/thesis in mind, you will at least find it easier to determine what ideas you need to explain and which passages or examples in the text you are discussing provide evidence to support your thesis.
The body of your paper ought to be organized into separate paragraphs, each addressing and developing some important facet of your thesis statement. Together these paragraphs form the entire argument for your essay, and they should be presented in some cohesive order. Within each paragraph, we will look for analysis, development of ideas and specific support (allusions to passages, facts or items taken from readings, lectures, etc.) for your points.
Your conclusion should not just restate what you already said in the introduction or in the body of your paper. Instead, you should connect the main points you made in the body of the paper with the thesis you stated in the introduction.
III. Use of Sources and Citation Method
- You may compose your essays based upon your in class notes and the class readings and slides provided on Sakai.
- Do not quote or paraphrase the class slides we have used.
- You are not to use outside sources of any kind, so there will be no need to cite secondary source information or quotes.
- If you reference a passage from a class reading, please include the author and page number(s) in parentheses after the cited or referenced passage. Just make sure (a) to keep quoted passages to a minimum and do not include any long passages and (b) that you include a passage only if your purpose is either to provide textual support for a claim you make about the text or your position on a certain issue on the text. You should never include a passage as a way of having the author explain something that you should be explaining.
Virgil is among the damned because he says: “. . .I was born, though late, sub Julio/ and lived in Rome under the good Augustus—the season of the false and lying gods” (Inferno 7).
Virgil, who was in life an ancient Roman, is among the damned because he lacks the Christian faith necessary for salvation. He tells Dante that he was a pagan born “sub Julio,” (Inferno 7) that is during the reign of Julius Caesar, and that he lived in the time of Augustus Caesar in “the season of the false and lying gods” (Inferno 7). His recognition of the gods’ falseness is born out. . .
The first example attempts to use the text to make the point. The second example makes a point and uses the text to support it. Please note citation formats as examples too. Titles of major texts are in italics. The final punctuation goes after the parenthesis.
IV. Grammar and Mechanics
It is our expectation that your writing will follow standard rules of grammar/punctuation/spelling and have a style worthy of academic writing (complete sentences, free from slang, etc.). You have ample time to proofread. Consult the following resource for guidance: Purdue OWL Writing Lab: Grammar
V. Academic Integrity
We follow the Providence College’s official policy on academic honesty:
All acts of academic dishonesty (including but not limited to plagiarism, collusion and cheating) are subject to an appropriate penalty. Students are expected to understand this policy and to exercise diligence in following it. If the instructor is convinced that an act of academic misconduct has occurred, he or she shall impose an appropriate sanction in the form of compensatory coursework, a grade reduction, or a failing grade, consistent with the academic integrity policy of the course. The sanction should reflect the gravity of the infraction and the instructor’s assessment of the student’s intent. The instructor will inform the dean of the School of Continuing Education of this action. The dean may impose additional penalties based on the incident. Egregious offenses and/or second offenses against academic honesty render the student liable for dismissal from the College. Procedures for appeal are the same as those for appeal of grades and are heard by the SCE Appeals Committee.
Note also that a student’s first act of academic dishonesty, whether it is cheating on an assignment or exam or plagiarizing a paper, will result in the student receiving a grade of “0” for that assignment. A student’s second act of academic dishonesty will result in the student receiving a grade of “F” for the semester.
V. Final Draft Checklist
Below is a list of questions we consider when evaluating your paper. It would be a good idea, therefore, to ask these same questions about your paper before submitting it.
A. Main Argument
- Is the main objective and thesis of the paper stated clearly in the introduction?
- Does the body of the discussion provide adequate support for the thesis?
- Is the paper as a whole well organized?
- Is it clear how the main points you make in your paper relate to your thesis?
- Is there a clear order to the main points you make in your paper?
- Is it clear how the paragraphs in your paper relate to these main points?
- Are the individual paragraphs well-organized?
- Does each paragraph in your paper contain one main point or idea?
- Do the subordinate details in each paragraph support, explain, illustrate the paragraph’s main idea?
5. Does the discussion display a good understanding of the issues addressed in the paper?
D. Explanation & Justification of claims
- Are your claims in the paper adequately explained?
- Are the assertions in the paper backed up with reasons or textual evidence?
8. Are the ideas clearly expressed?
9. Are there significant problems with grammar, syntax, sentence structure, or spelling?
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