If a faith community is viewed only as a sociological or political reality, a community in which belonging and recognition are the fundamental point, that is, if one viewed the covenantal community as just another liberal democratic institution whose very mandate was to prescind from substantive truth claims, then, says Soloveitchik, we would have no problem at all meeting “the other on the basis of equality, friendship, and sympathy.” But covenantal faith, to be itself, must maintain a sense of uniqueness, distinction, and difference. Ignoring or evacuating that difference—the hardness of encounter—denies the duality of confrontation by bracketing the community’s ethos, beliefs, and imperatives—which is not respect but negation, not compassion but absorption, not sensitivity but dishonesty.
The first type of visual literacy is one restricted to the recognition of familiar things. This is a literacy based on fixed definitions, control, order and efficiency, the kind of ‘reading’ that takes place when we observe street signs, look at maps or watch the nightly news. This action is something we do all the time, a passive decoding that allows us to manage our day to day lives, particularly as responsible adults, to recognise relationships between things and events as efficiently as possible. However, this kind of ‘closed reading’ can go too far to the extent that it makes alternatives invisible, and anything unfamiliar is dismissed as foreign, useless and unwelcome. Thus we have the “Federal Department of Odds and Ends”, a concrete building without windows into which anything strange, miscellaneous or otherwise challenging - outside the familiar prescriptions of recognition - is conveniently “swept under the carpet” once the correct forms have been filled in. Meaning is a function of bureaucracy, and literacy is there to measure prescribed value; does this ring any bells in our own social and political universe?
Longer essays may also contain an introductory page that defines words and phrases of the essay's topic. Most academic institutions require that all substantial facts, quotations, and other porting material in an essay be referenced in a bibliography or works cited page at the end of the text. This scholarly convention helps others (whether teachers or fellow scholars) to understand the basis of facts and quotations the author uses to support the essay's argument and helps readers evaluate to what extent the argument is supported by evidence, and to evaluate the quality of that evidence. The academic essay tests the student's ability to present their thoughts in an organized way and is designed to test their intellectual capabilities.