Whether you are just beginning your seminary experience, or are well into your process, writing is a critical component of your success. All of your professors require that you submit papers that require you to reflect on, or critically engage thoughts and ideas by way or writing. This writing is on a level that is not encountered within the day to day encounters, but specifically within the field that you are working in, be it theology, pastoral care, cultural studies, or religious education. Each field contains its own language, and holds to a certain style of writing. Your task is to assess what is required, and develop your writing within that framework.
Part of what is required comes out of the readings that the professor provides; another part comes from the assignments that the professor requests in their syllabus. By joining the these components, your task as the student and writer is to begin the art of writing by planning, outlining, writing introductions, writing paragraphs, rewriting and then writing concluding paragraphs.
Often times we can reach out to the writing center (you can make an appointment by clicking here); you can also reach out to your peers and have them read what you have written (having a group that meets on occasion to help with writing is a wonderful exercise). But whether you are just beginning, or even a seasoned writer, it is helpful to have certain books in your library that will help you in the craft of writing. Below are some texts every seminarian should have in their library. Some are on the art of writing, some are geared specifically for writing in seminary or theological settings. But they are important for your success!
Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, Joseph Bizup, and William T. Fitzgerald. The Craft of Research. Fourth Edition. University of Chicago Press, 2016.
Core, Deborah. The Seminary Student Writes. Chalice Press, 2000.
Thurman, Susan, and Larry Shea. The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need: A One-Stop Source for Every Writing Assignment. Simon and Schuster, 2003.
Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. Ninth edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018.
Vyhmeister, Nancy Jean. Quality Research Papers: For Students of Religion and Theology. Zondervan, 2009.
Yaghjian, Lucretia. Writing Theology Well: A Rhetoric for Theological and Biblical Writers. New York: Continuum, 2006.