Religious Studies 128
Final Examination Study Guide
- Short Identification. The final exam will consist of six identification essays and a longer essay
section. This portion of the examination will be derived solely from the
terms placed on the board before each lecture. Here is an example of one
possible identification response:
Anabaptism. Part of the radical wing of the sixteenth-century
Protestant Reformation. The word Anabaptist means to "baptize
again." The Anabaptists believed that infant baptism was unacceptable,
and therefore they baptized only the adult members of their churches. Most
Anabaptists--including Mennonites and Amish--refused to participate in civil
government and the surrounding culture, choosing instead to maintain a simple
"unworldly" life style within their own separate communities. Facing
heavy persecution in Europe, several Anabaptist communities migrated to the
American colonies in the seventeenth century and are still active in the
United States today.
Responses may vary of course, but this response serves as a good model for
several reasons. First, it establishes the approximate period. We know that
the Anabaptists first appeared in the sixteenth century--not the sixth, tenth
or twentieth centuries. Moreover, in succinct form it details the Anabaptist's
principal religious belief. Finally, it touches on the Anabaptists' significance
for the history of American religion. In this instance, you might have
mentioned other aspects of Anabaptist thought such as the movement's general
aversion toward war, or you could address another aspect of their religion and
culture. Let's consider another identification.
How about a more recent title like Confessions and Retractions?
Published in 1744, Confessions and Retractions was James Davenport's
written apology for his evangelistic excesses during the First Great
Awakening, 1740-1743. A Massachusetts court found Davenport mentally
incompetent after he publicly castigated many prominent New England ministers
for being, in his opinion, "unconverted" and "loathsome."
In his Confessions, Davenport apologized for his behavior that he feared may
have seriously undermined what he then believed was the credible work
accomplished by Awakening evangelists Whitefield and Tennent. In fact, many
traditional "Old Light" ministers did argue that Davenport's
excesses revealed the irrational qualities of the revival.
- Longer Essays. Make sure you have done all of the reading. A solid response to any of the exam questions should
reflect familiarity with the Corrigan text and other readings we highlighted
this semester. You will receive four essay choices from which you must select
Some Recommended Study Topics:
1. Was religion purely an opiate for slaves in the ante-bellum South, or did it also serve as a means of hope and a rationale for resistance? Give as least three illustrations from American History to support your argument.
2. Were the 1960s a watershed period for religion in America? If so, why
did the change occur? In what ways have things changed?
3. Describe in detail the black religious groups we reviewed in class that appeared in the United States after 1900. Who were the leaders, and what were the
tenets of their faith? What were some of the features of these groups that many people from the lower socio-economic ranks found attractive?
4. Analyze the transformation in American Catholicism that developed after the Second World War. Describe some of the major
renewal movements in the Church during this period. What part did John XXIII play in the change?
5. What is Fundamentalism? How did American Fundamentalists view Darwinism and other modernist ideas and why did they take such a position? What are some of the major theological teachings of the movement, and at what conferences did the Fundamentalists draw these conclusions?
6. Who was Mary Baker Eddy and what type of tradition did she represent? What are the tenets of the religion she founded? Comment on at least one possible reason for the religion's popularity in America.
7. What intellectual movement does the book In His Steps represent?
What did this movement believe, and in what ways does the book complement
these essential tenets? Finally, are all participants in the movement
Social Gospel adherents? Why or why not?
Return to the RS 128 Syllabus