THST 310 - The Gospel according to John - Fall 2003
Felix Just, S.J.

Course Syllabus

Course Description & Objectives:

The objective of this upper-division course is to gain a thorough knowledge and deep appreciation of the Fourth Gospel, including its relationship to the Synoptic Gospels and the rest of the Bible. We will study the literary and theological emphases of the Fourth Evangelist and the social and historical circumstances of the Johannine community. We will also consider the influence of this Gospel on the historical development of Christianity in its early stages and in our world today. Several modern interpretive methods will be introduced and applied to enable students to explore further the meaning and relevance of the Gospels. Publication on the internet of the best student work will be available, but optional.

Required Texts:

  1. Quast, Kevin. Reading the Gospel of John: An Introduction. Revised edition. New York; Mahwah, NJ: Paulist, 1996. (ISBN: 0-8091-3297-4)

  2. Meeks, Wayne A., ed. The HarperCollins Study Bible. New York: HarperCollins, 1993. - or another study edition (with good intros, notes, maps, etc.) of the full Bible (Old and New Testaments and Apocrypha).
  3. Additional materials available through this course website.

Library Reference Works to be used regularly:

  1. HarperCollins Bible Dictionary. Revised ed. San Francisco: Harper, 1996. -- BS440 H235 1996

  2. Anchor Bible Dictionary. 6 vols. New York: Doubleday, 1992. -- BS440 A54 1992

  3. "Bibloi" CD-ROM Program -- available on the LMU Library Reference Area Computers

  4. Several Commentaries on the Gospel according to John -- available on library reserve (upstairs)

Course Work/Expectations:

  1. Attendance and Participation: On-time attendance is required; please notify me in advance if you must unavoidably miss a class. Always come prepared to ask questions, suggest answers, take notes, summarize the readings, and challenge assumptions (your own and those of others, but respectfully!). This course is part lecture and part seminar-style, so preparation and participation by everyone is essential and will count towards your grade.
  2. Daily Reading Assignments: Readings must be done before you come to class each day, so you can contribute to the discussions (see the "Detailed Class Schedule" webpage). Read the primary literature (the biblical texts) first, then also read the assigned pages/chapters in the secondary literature (our textbook and course website).
  3. Written Exercises and Class Presentations: There will be three short papers (approx. 1000 words each): (1) a preliminary reflection on the Fourth Gospel as a whole, due Sept. 17; (2) either a book review or an essay on Johannine ethics; (3) either a film review or an artistic analysis. Detailed instructions for these written exercises will be given. Due dates will vary for each student, depending on exactly which book, film, art work, or ethical issue you choose. All papers are due at the start of the assigned class day; late papers will be marked down one full grade for each day late, but must still be completed in order for you to pass the course. All papers should be revised (incorporating my comments) and resubmitted for a final grade.
  4. Use of Library & Internet as Research Tools: Since you will need to do some extra research for the written exercises and class presentations, you will need to learn how to use the appropriate research tools (books, software, websites). E-mail is required for receiving announcements and contacting the professor. Student papers that receive an "A" may be published on the professor's website (optional).
  5. Final Exam: There will be a comprehensive final examination at the end of the semester.

Course Grade

  • A: 90-100%   B: 80-89%   C: 70-79%   D: 60-69%   F: (hopefully not necessary)

  • Letter +/- within 3% (e.g. B+ 87-89% A- 90-92%)

  • Class Participation: 200 points (40% of the total)

  • Written Exercises: 150 points (3x50; or 30%)

  • Final Exam: 150 points (or 30%)


This "syllabus" is subject to modifications to be announced during the semester.


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This page was last updated on October 22, 2003 .