Historical analysis


Primary Source Essay #2

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For this essay, choose one of these primary sources and write a one to two-page double spaced historical analysis of the source


Letter of Pliny the Younger to the Emperor Trajan
Testimonium Flavianum
An account of the Conversion of Constantine
Edict of Milan



Using what you have learned from your textbook readings, the lectures, the forum discussions, and the other primary sources, answer the following questions:

Who is the ‘author’ of this text? (do we know? How does that affect the text?)
When was this text produced?
What is the historical context of the text? What information does the text given us about the political and religious environment?
How is this source important for our understanding of the development of Christianity?


You will be graded using the following rubric:



Source Analysis


4-Highly Competent




2-Minimally Competent


1-Not Competent


Historical Context of the Document


Understands the historical context of the document in relation to the topic of study


Shows a basic understanding of the context of the document


Shows some understanding


Demonstrates no understanding


Point of View of the ‘author/s’


Identifies the point of view of the author and bias in relation to the intended audience and the author’s motive


Shows a basic understanding


Shows some understanding


Demonstrates no understanding



The paper is well structured and persuasive in the statement of its thesis, with an introduction and conclusion


Logically organized


Organization lacks coherence


Poorly organized




Demonstrates depth of understanding of the topic, presents supporting arguments clearly and analytically, and provides excellent documentation


Demonstrates knowledge of the topic and provides supporting evidence and adequate detail


Presents undeveloped ideas


Lacks idea development and includes irrelevant information




Written in an appropriately formal tone without slang. Language is precise and sentence structure varied.

Correct use of citations (footnotes or endnotes), quotes, and bibliography


Effective Use of Language

Citations and bibliography included but not proper format


Simplistic sentence structure and imprecise use of language

No citations or bibliography


Incorrect sentence structure and use of slang, jargon, or inappropriate language




The mechanics of the paper are correct. It is well written with no grammar or punctuation errors, and little or no use of the passive voice


Few errors


Errors are present that interfere with the presentation of ideas and arguments


Excessive errors in grammar and punctuation.

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