Response Paper


Becher, Matthias. Charlemagne. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005. ISBN: 9780300107586

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We are reading two scholarly monographs this semester (Rubenstein’s When Jesus Became God and Becher’s Charlemagne), each of which elucidates an aspect of the period we are covering. You will write a 500-750 word response paper (about 2-3 pages double spaced) over each of the books addressing the following:
1. What is the book about? Give a brief, 1-2 paragraph summary of the book’s content. The goal is that someone who hasn’t read the book should be able to accurately explain what it is about.
2. What is the argument of this book? Each author is presenting historical facts in a certain light in order to convince you of his point of view about his topic. If you’re having trouble locating the argument, check the introduction and conclusion of the work.
3. What types of sources does the author use to make his or her argument? Some possibilities include contemporary histories (i.e., written at the time we are studying), saints’ lives, legal texts, and letters.
4. How does the argument compare to what you learned in lecture and in your textbook about the topic and time period? How does the book change or support your thinking about the topic?
5. Finally, choose one or two of the primary sources that we have read so far. Does the argument of the book make you see the primary source in a new light? Does the primary source seem to reinforce or undermine the author’s argument?
Do not do any outside research for this paper. You may only use the resources available from this class (lectures, the textbook, the primary source reader, scholarly monographs, and anything else I assign you to read).

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