THST 607 - Topics in the Gospels: John
Graduate Seminar - Fall 2001


Course Description and Goals:

In this graduate seminar we will explore various historical, literary, and theological aspects of the Fourth Gospel, as well as its relationship to the other canonical and non-canonical Gospels. Special attention will be paid to the inter-relationships between the search for the historical Jesus, the investigation of the Evangelists' communities and traditions, and some contemporary social, ideological, and literary interpretations of the Fourth Gospel. Along with traditional academic methods and print resources, we will also make use of the Internet in our studies. Students will not only use resources already available on the web, but will also have the opportunity of publishing their own work on "The Johannine Literature Web," if they wish. By participating in the development of this website, students will hopefully gain a greater excitement for biblical studies overall.

The course has the following more specific objectives

  1. To become familiar with the structure, themes, symbols and terminology of the Fourth Gospel.

  2. To compare and contrast the Johannine portrait of Jesus with those of some other Gospels.

  3. To investigate the history and development of the Johannine Community in its first-century context.

  4. To learn how various methodological approaches (patristic, history-of-religions, sociological, feminist, modern literary, etc.) have affected the interpretation and understanding of the Fourth Gospel.

  5. To learn about and apply contemporary Catholic teachings about the interpretation of the Bible.

  6. To develop good research skills and broad theological perspectives important for biblical studies.

  7. To share with others some new insights about the meaning and interpretation of the Fourth Gospel.

Required Books:

  1. The Bible: any study edition (with intros, notes, maps, etc.) in any modern translation (not KJV or Douay).

  2. Brown, Raymond. The Community of the Beloved Disciple: The Life, Loves, and Hates of an Individual Church in New Testament Times. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist, 1979. - ISBN: 0809121743

  3. Culpepper, Alan. The Anatomy of the Fourth Gospel: A Study in Literary Design. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1983. - ISBN: 0800620682

  4. Several ecclesial documents and academic articles available on the course website and/or in the library.

  5. One large commentary on the Fourth Gospel (see below).

Course Work/Expectations:

  1. Regular On-Time Attendance and Active Participation in Seminar Discussions is essential; please notify me in advance if you must miss a class; students who must miss more than two should probably drop the course.

  2. Weekly Reading Assignments and Periodic Seminar Presentations must be prepared in advance; written work should be revised according to the professor's feedback; the best work can be published on the web (optional).

  3. Two Quizzes, one on the Greek Alphabet and one on the basic outline and contents of the Fourth Gospel.

  4. Four Shorter Written Exercises: word study, character analysis, art analysis, and book review (one each).

  5. One Longer Research Paper (10-15 pp.) or One Creative Semester Project (flexible topics).

  6. Use of the Library and Electronic Resources (E-mail, Internet, CD-ROMs) as Research Tools.

Course Grades:

Recommended Commentaries:

either purchase or borrow from the LMU Library a major commentary by one of the following scholars (each student will be encouraged to pick a different one, so we can share a variety of insights):

Legal Disclaimer:

Everything in this syllabus is subject to modification in the course of the semester. Your suggestions for changes and improvements are most welcome!

THST 607 Home Syllabus Schedule Presentations Johannine Lit Web

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