Book Criticism

A book critique is an analysis of a text aimed at a critical response to the contents while evaluating the benefit of the text. As such, a critique focuses more on analyzing the contents of the book than summarizing those contents. The purpose of a critique is to provide readers with an overview of the value (both positive and negative) of a text for understanding its particular topic. One reason you are asked to create a book critique is to develop a variety of skills including content evaluation, cogent analysis, and interaction with different viewpoints. The book critique allows you to interact with a different set of presuppositions and to evaluate them in light of a personal analysis of the book. You will need these skills as you progress in your education and as you present materials to others in a variety of situations.

Submit a critical review of Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible by Richards & O’Brien.
• This critique must be 1,200 words and follow current Turabian format.
• Submit your critique as an attached .docx file.
o Include any information that is excluded from this length (e.g. title page, contents, abstract, reference section, etc.)
• Use footnotes only for citations.
• A book critique should average almost two (2) footnotes per page.
• Elements of a Book Critique
o The emphasis is on a discussion and evaluation of the topic, not just a description. Further, remember that critical is not necessarily synonymous with bad or unfavorable. Critical reviews may be positive, negative, or a combination of both. A critique usually consists of three (3) elements:

  1. Summary
    • Summarize the issue/topic addressed. Explain why the author(s) think the issue/topic is important.
    • Briefly highlight the major themes (or sub-topics) being explored.
  2. Analysis – This section should critically analyze and evaluate the work being reviewed. Some of the questions you may want to consider in this part are:
    • What is the point of view of the author(s)? What perspective (ideological, philosophical) do they bring to the work? Is their perspective implicit (gleaned from reading “between the lines”) or explicit (openly stated)?

• What kind of evidence do they bring to support their viewpoint? Is it adequate?
• How clear is the argument? Does it flow logically? Are there gaps, inconsistencies, or contradictions in the discussion or argument?
• Support your response with examples from the work itself and from your knowledge of the issue/topic. Be sure to go beyond stating your opinion; it is not enough to say you agree or disagree with the author’s point of view – substantiate your claims.

  1. Conclusion
    • Of what value is the article/book/chapter? What does it add (if anything) to the discourse?
    • Who would find the piece helpful and why?
    • Mechanics
    o Every paper for this class needs an Introduction (with a clear thesis statement) and a Conclusion. Besides these, you may divide your review into the sections mentioned above (but this is not a requirement). You may weave the components into a narrative. Avoid obsessing over the minutiae. For format questions, see the School of Divinity Writing Guide or contact your instructor.

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