Writing a Church History Digest
In many ways, digesting for church history is similar to digesting for any other class. One significant difference, however, is that in a church history digest you are usually asked not only to summarize a reading, but to also assess and respond to it.
- Digests include summary. When summarizing, avoid stringing together long quotations. Istead, present the essential information in your own words.
- Digests include assessment. You might discuss the strengths, weaknesses, and problems of the text; you could also unpack the relationship between the author, the text and their context.
- Digests include a response. Answer any of the following questions. How did it make you feel? How would you apply these ideas in your life? Would you recommend this reading? Why and to whom?
Not all elements of the analysis and response usually need to be included. A digest should be ⅔ to ⅘ summary, and ⅓ to ⅕ assessment and response. The assessment and response can be at the end or interwoven throughout.
In order to avoid simply quoting, first read carefully, taking notes or making notes in the margins. See if you can summarize the reading without your notes briefly first, then use your notes or outline to write a more thorough summary. Assess or respond to each point as it comes up, or write your entire assessment/response at the end.