Primary Source Reading Response
What is a reading response?
A Primary Source Reading Response is not simply a summary of a given primary source reading. A Reading Response is a way of writing about your thinking about the reading, or your reaction or reactions to a given reading. A Reading Response is not a research paper and should not be treated as such. This mean that no outside sources are allowed apart from the assigned passage. Do not use outside sources or you will lose marks. Nonetheless, the response should be well considered and carefully written. The response is intended to demonstrate that you have read the assigned primary source text conscientiously and ideally more than once.
The primary sources you will read are typically comprised of chapters and/or hymns and these are, in turn made up of short verses or lines of texts. An effective strategy when writing your response is to focus on a single hymn or chapter and chose a short passage and home in on a few verses or lines of text that you find particularly intriguing or engaging. You should not try to write about the text as a whole, but only on a short passage and what you think it means. Once you have chosen your passage, a good response will ask questions of it in a way that show you have read the passage carefully and considered it from different perspectives. You can develop connections between the passage and other course materials or lectures and demonstrate that you have considered the implications of the readings.
Some Questions to Consider in a Reading Response
The following are suggested questions to consider. You should not answer all four in a single response but consider answer perhaps one or two of them. You may certainly also or alternatively come up with different questions of your passage.
- How does the reading demonstrate the culture or values of the religions of Asia past or present? What does it tell us about how these religions lived or live and what they value(d) most?
- How does the reading reflect cultural attitudes of pre-modern worlds regarding gender or about race?
- What did you feel about what you read, and why do you think the text provoked this response in you?
- Did the reading reflect or challenge your own values and assumptions, and how so?
Length and Revision
The response should be about 500-600+ words (about two double-spaced page). There is no maximum word count, so write as much as you like!
The response can be revised after considering my feedback if you’d like to have it considered for higher grade.
Please use the following format for the header on the first page of your Reading Response. Everything should be double spaced.
Citing the Primary Source Reading in your Response
You should cite a text in the following way.
Example 1, Rig Veda 10.90.1-7
In this example the primary source is the Rig Veda. The “10” represents “Book 10” of that work. The “90” in the citation represents hymn number 90. The “1-7” references the verse numbers one to seven, and would represent the passage that you will discuss in your response (for example).
Example 2, Leviticus 11.5-24.
In this example the primary source is the Bible, the Book of Leviticus. The “11” represents “Chapter 11” of that work. The “5-24” references the verse numbers five to twenty-four and would represent the passage that you will discuss in your response (for example).
Example 3, Gilgamesh Tablet V, v10.
Refers to a particular tablet, five in this case, and the line/verse number 10 (written on the far-right column.
· Horse Sacrifice from the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad