Impressions of the
Fourth Gospel, in Contrast to the Synoptics
(due in stages, September 2003)
for you to gain a basic overview
of the life, teachings, and actions of Jesus of Nazareth;
for you to reflect on how
similar, yet also different, the four Gospels are from each other;
for you to begin thinking
about the evangelists' roles in the production of the Gospels;
for me to get an initial sample
of the quality of your academic reading and writing skills.
(due on Sept. 10):
You have already read at least
two Synoptic Gospels (syllabus: Sept. 3-10); now read the entire Gospel
according to John:
now, read only the Gospel itself, not what any commentator or other
scholar says about John;
for now, read only the text
and the brief introduction in your HCSB, not all the detailed footnotes;
pick a time when you can
read the entire Gospel without interruption (only 42 pages in the
the reading should only
take you between one and two hours, depending on how fast you read.
Right after you've read
all of the Fourth Gospel, make some notes about your overall impressions
of this text:
What did you notice that
surprised or impressed you about the way JESUS is portrayed here?
How are the DISCIPLES and
the OPPONENTS of Jesus generally portrayed in this Gospel?
What do you think was the
main message that the EVANGELIST (John) wanted to give his original
What major images and themes
stood out as most important for YOU as you read this Gospel?
Overall, how is this Gospel
different from the Synoptics, not just in content, but in style and
Note: If you have read John's
Gospel before, or have heard most of its material in small pieces in the
past (e.g., in church), then please read the whole Gospel again now, contrasting
also your new impressions with your previous perceptions.
Writing (due on Sept. 17):
Write a short paper (about 1000
words) in which you address the five questions listed above:
do not just outline, list,
or retell the contents of this Gospel; think about the impact of the
Gospel as a whole;
do not restate what the
HCSB or any scholar says about John's Gospel; write about your own
support your claims with
some specific examples from the Gospels (give chapter and verse refs.
do not include a bibliography
with this paper, since we are focusing only on the biblical text for
This assignment and all other
short papers this semester should be:
in standard essay format
(brief introduction with clear thesis statement,
well-structured body, very brief conclusion);
composed in proper written
English (please spell-check and proof-read, to check all
spelling and grammar!);
within the specified length
or word limit (if it says 1000 words, then 800 are not enough,
but 1200 are too many);
word-processed (or typed)
in any small but readable font (10 point type), with
1½ line spacing (not single or double);
bordered by one-inch
margins all around (check your computer's settings; don't
use the 1¼ inch default);
with your name, the course number and name, the exercise number; and
your paper title;
printed on both sides
of each page, to save paper and trees (find out how your computer
and printer can do this);
turned in on time
(at the beginning of the class session on the specified due date).
by Oct. 8):
Your papers will be read by the
professor and returned as soon as possible (usually within one week).
You will receive a provisional
grade, but should revise and resubmit your paper for a final grade
But do not use this opportunity
for revisions as an excuse for doing a poor job in your initial writing!
For detailed instructions about
essay format, length, printing, grammar, and biblical references, see
also the following webpages:
and Writing Tips"
References: Format and Examples"