Choose a character from the bible and compare their biblical portrayal with one or more of their afterlives in popular culture.

Using the material from the course (required reading, additional readings, lecture notes) as well as other material you may find on your own, write a 1500-2000 word essay answering one of the essay questions given below.
The essay questions cover weeks 3-8 of the course. You are welcome to write on the topics discussed in weeks 9-11 using the ‘freeform’ question (question 6). I don’t include these specifically in the essay questions, as they occur after the essay proposal is due. But if you’re interested in exploring these topics, then go for it using question 6 – contact me (Therese) and I can give you some advice.
More details about the essay, including the essay questions, an essay writing guide, essay topic suggestions, and FAQs can be found under the Essay Help Module (see links below).
Please look at the ‘Essay Questions and Helpful Hints’ page, as this gives you guidelines about the readings/sources you need to use for each essay. Also see the Frequently Asked Questions that might help answer any queries you have.
The grading criteria for the essay are found in the grid below – these will be a helpful guide to what we are looking for in your essay.
The word limit (1500-2000 words) is deliberately broad to give you some scope, depending on whether you tend to go over word limits or struggle to reach them. You are also allowed to go 10% over or under (so minimum word count is 1350 words, and maximum is 2,200 words). Longer essays won’t necessarily be graded higher (quality is more important than quantity), but essays shorter than 1350 words will lose marks.
Submit an electronic copy of your essay via the Canvas assignment page. NO PAPER COPY IS REQUIRED.
Your Turnitin originality report will be available to you once you submit.
You can choose to write your essay on the same topic you’ve discussed in one of your discussion posts, but DO NOT use the exact same wording as in your discussion post (i.e. don’t just cut and paste the post into your essay), as this a form of self-plagiarism. Simply reword what you’ve written and you’ll be fine.
Essay questions, FAQs and writing tips can be found here under Modules:
Essay questions and helpful hints
Essay – Frequently Asked Questions
Essay writing guide
Some of our previous THEOREL 101/G essays can be viewed on the Auckland THEOREL blog – I’ve added links to these under the Essay guide module ‘Help with assignments’.
Late policy: essays submitted after the due date without a pre-approved extension will lose 5% the first day and a subsequent 1% per day late. Essays submitted three weeks or more after the due date will receive a 0 grade. See Caroline or your tutor to request a short extension before the essay due date.
The essay questions are:
Choose a character from the Bible and compare their biblical portrayal with one or more of their afterlives in popular culture.
With reference to the American Monomyth and/or biblical understandings of the messiah, choose a contemporary figure (real or fictional) and discuss why you think they can be described as a popular messiah.
Using Borg’s definitions of the ‘biblical prophet’, identify and discuss a contemporary individual or group (real or fictional) who you think has a similarly prophetic role within their own culture or context.
Using one or more examples from popular culture, discuss the ways that the biblical Jesus is portrayed in visual form (in movies, TV, art, advertising, etc.).
First, briefly outline the key features and functions of apocalyptic literature in the Bible. Then choose one or more contemporary apocalyptic texts from popular culture (e.g. in film, TV, video games, comic books, music, etc.) and explain how they fulfil similar and/or different functions to biblical apocalypses
Using examples from contemporary culture, discuss the ways that the Bible may be used as a cultural prop to justify intolerance and/or violence against a particular community or group.
Write an essay on any aspect of the Bible and popular culture that you are interested in (speak to either Therese or your tutor first if you wish to do this ‘freeform’ essay option, and they can let you know how viable it is, plus give you some advice!).