Historical analysis


Primary Source Essay #2

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Historical analysis
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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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