of all John, perceiving that the external facts had been made
plain in the gospel, being urged by his friends, and inspired by
the spirit, composed a spiritual Gospel."
Historia Ecclesiastica, ca. AD/CE 320
may therefore make bold to say that the Gospels are the first
fruits of all Scriptures, but of the Gospels, that of John is the
Origen, Comm. on John 1.6, ca. AD/CE 200
ho logos sarx egeneto -
is a scene in the early part of Goethe's Faust, where the hero,
yearning for the light of revelation. . . , sets himself to
translate the Gospel according to John. At the very first clause
however he finds himself in a difficulty. How is it to be
rendered? 'In the beginning was the Word?' But how can so high a
value be set upon the mere word? Surely, 'In the beginning was the
Thought.' But again, is it truly thought by which all things were
made? Is it not rather Power? Or should he boldly render the sense
of the passage, 'In the beginning was the Deed’?”
Dodd, The 1nterpretation of the Fourth Gospel, 1954
the role of the theologian and Biblical interpreter: "The
author wishes to point out that he offers nothing 'new'; neither a
new understanding of Christ nor a better Christological theory.
Religion is not a question of new things, but rather of things
eternal. If, however, current history were to succeed in
re-establishing contact with eternal history, then something new
indeed, uncontaminated and free from the dust of usage would
Guardini, The Lord, 1956.
God's love letter to the world."
-Henry Ward Beecher, ca. 1850
beloved Gospel according to St. John."
-Carl Gustav Jung, 1952
Mona Lisa and the Fourth Gospel share two artistic
qualities, beauty and enigma.”
W. G. Rollins, 1963
E. Brown, The Gospel and Epistles of John: A Concise Commentary
(Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1988) [= Brown]
Perkins, The Book of Revelation (Collegeville, MI:
Liturgical Press, 1983/1991) [=Perkins]
M. Schneiders, Written That You May Believe: Encountering Jesus
in the Fourth
( NY: Crossroad, 1999) [= Schneiders]
To develop first-hand
familiarity with the Gospel of John, the Johannine Epistles, and
the Book of Revelation--- their origin, authorship, structure,
content, meaning, and relevance in light of recent biblical
scholarship and interpretive approaches (historical, geographical,
literary-critical, theological, linguistic, psychological, and
To develop a sense for and skill in the art of biblical
exegesis and hermeneutics.
To develop a day-by-day method of reading scripture
critically and spiritually.
To reflect on your own life situation in light of your
readings and class discussion and to articulate the “Word”
that is sparked in your psyche by John’s “Word” .
Daily attendance at all sessions. Classroom exchange is as
important as the reading. (For credit and CEU students, each hour
of absence = reduction of one third of the letter attendance
grade; consistent tardiness also reduces the grade. See the
instructor for “makeup” in case of an emergency). (1/6 of the
Readings and class participation. See the attached
letter to participants and the syllabus below.
Book Report*: Credit
participants will make one book report
presentation [a five-minute class presentation (ungraded),
plus a written version to the instructor for grading; see below].
Select a title from the attached Book Review Selection List for
Credit Students of books on hold for you in the library. Register
your choice with Reserve librarian, Marie Rovero. (If someone has
already selected the title you must choose another.)
Be prepared to present your book review any time on Tuesday
through Friday (a definite time for your report will be set at our
first session on Monday).
class presentation (ungraded) should be “light fare,”
introducing the class to the major features and contributions of
the book. The reviewer should bring a xeroxed sheet for class
distribution, citing author, title, and publication data, listing
a quotation or two that captures the essence of the book, a few
statements or examples that spell out the contribution (or lack of
same) to the course, and at least one question the book suggests
to the reviewer that is worth discussing.
Would you recommend the book?
written review (due not later than August 15) is to include the
following: (a) a fairly detailed précis of the book and its
purpose, (b) a thoughtful discussion of five to ten ideas you have
found helpful, informative, or problematic, explaining why, and
(c) a conclusion evaluating the book’s relevance and value for
the course. Maximum
length: seven pages. (2/6 of the grade).
*Final Project. A
10-15 page paper is due, approximately four to six weeks following
the conclusion of the course, but not later than August 15 (with
extensions possible using the Hartford Seminary forms). The
subject must be a key term, theme, passage, or
issue in John’s Gospel, the Epistles of John, or the Book
of Revelation. Try to think of a topic to present at the first
class session. A 3x5 card listing your Final Project topic and the
reasons for your choice is due the last day of class for approval
by the instructor. Final Project papers are due four to six weeks
after the course and must be mailed/delivered to the
instructor’s address in hard copy with a SASE for return.
Students electing an “incomplete” are responsible to submit
the incomplete form to the instructor prior to the end of the last
class. (3/6 of the grade)
See the attached letter to Participants for pre-class reading
of credit and CEU participants only. All academic papers are to
conform to conventional technical, grammatical and stylistic
standards referred to in the General Guidelines for a Research
Paper. The Hartford Seminary Grading Guidelines will be the
standard of evaluation for work in the course.
the compactness of the week, reading assignments are best done
prior to the course, bringing notes from your reading to class.
See invitational letter to participants attached following the
Prospectus on the Fourth Gospel and the Art of
Schneiders, “The Fourth Gospel as Sacred Scripture,”
9-22, and “The Fourth Gospel as Text,” 23-47.
Brown, on critical issues, 9-19.
Getting to Know the Turf: Map Assignment
: Consult the map in your Bible to locate the sites,
then be able to locate them on the map to be distributed in class
(one "trick" identification):
|Sea of Tiberias
|| Mt. Gerizim
|Sea of Galilee
|| (the Western Sea)
Background : PBS Television excerpt on the age of the
Gospels from “From Jesus to Christ.”
In the Beginning: Setting
Background Reading: Schneiders,
“The Theology and Spirituality of the Fourth Gospel,”
48-61; “Symbolism in the Fourth Gospel,” 63-77; “Born
for the Day:
*John 1:1-18, The Prologue
*John 1:19-51, The
Problem of John the Baptist, Finding the Messiah,
and Stages of Discipleship in John
*John 2: 1-12, The Wedding at Cana, Celebration vs.
*John 2:13-25, Cleansing the Temple and Johannine
*John 3:1-10, Nicodemus
the “Man” and the Reality of Rebirth
Women, Healing, Light, and Matters of Life and Death
Background Reading: Schneiders,
“Women in the Fourth Gospel,” 93-116; “Commitment in the
Fourth Gospel, “ 78-92; “The Community of Eternal Life,”
Passages for the Day:
*John 4:1-45, The Samaritan Woman at the Well,
Unforgettable in John
*John 5:1-18, The Healing at the Pool of Bethzatha and a
Theology of Sickness
*John 6:1-15, Feeding
5,000, and Reflection on Food and What Really Nourishes
*John 6:16-26, Walking On [or “by”] the Water:
Diachronic and Synchronic Reflection on Water
*John 8:1-11, The Woman Taken in Adultery: A Story with a
*John 8:12-59, Jesus as Light of the World:
The I Am Sayings in John
*John 9:1-14, The Man Born Blind Who Sees, and the Man Born
Seeing Who is Blind
* John 11:1-57, Mary, Martha and Lazarus: On the Borderline
Between Life and Death
The Passion Narrative in John: Death and Revelation
Background Reading: Schneiders,
“A Community of Friends,” 162-79.
B. Passages for the Day:
*John 12:1-8 The Anointing at Bethany: The Johannine
*John 12:12-50 The Entry Into Jerusalem: Christology and
*John 13:1-36 The
Last Supper and the Creation of a Community of Friends
*John 14-16 The
Farewell Discourse and the Ingenious Truth of the Paraclete
*John 17 The
“High Priestly Prayer” and the Four Faces of the Holy
* John 18-19 John’s Passion Narrative. the Gospel
Tradition, and Mel
The Resurrection Narratives in John, the Johannine
Epistles, and The Book of Revelation: Three Stages in a Trajectory
Reading: Schneiders, “Seeing and Believing in the Glorified
Jesus,” 180-188; “Encountering and Proclaiming the Risen
Jesus,” 189-201;” “Contemplation and Ministry,” 202-210;
and Perkins, The Book of Revelation, 1-90.
Two study guide sheets on the Johannine Epistles and
for the Day:
Reminder: 3x5 on Final Project Due for Credit Students
SELECTION LIST FOR CREDIT STUDENTS
are on library reserve for students to sign up and take out for
Raymond E. The Churches the Apostles Left Behind. Mahwah,
NJ: Paulist, 1984.
Raymond E. The Community of the Beloved Disciple: The Life,
Loves, and Hates of an Individual Church in New Testament Times.
Mahwah, NJ: Paulist, 1979.
James. John and the Dead Sea Scrolls. New York: Crossroad,
L. William. The Mystical Way in the Fourth Gospel: Crossing
Over Into God. Valley Forge, PA: Trinity Press International,
R. Alan, and C. Clifton Black, eds. Exploring the Gospel of
John. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996.
Gilbert. An Introduction to Revelation: a Pathway to
Interpretation, Continuum, 2001.
Adeline. The Women in the Life of the Bridegroom: A
Feminist-Historical-Literary Analysis of the Female Characters in
the Fourth Gospel. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1998.
Lillian C. Anti-Semitism in the New Testament. New York:
University Press of America, 1994.
Anthony T. The Prophetic Gospel: A Study of John and the Old
Testament. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1991.
Wes. John's Gospel and the Renewal of the Church. New York:
Craig R. Symbolism in the Fourth Gospel: Meaning, Mystery,
Community. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995.
Robert. John, the Maverick Gospel. rev. ed. ed. Louisville:
John Knox/ Westminster, 1976.
Robert. John's Story of Jesus. Philadelphia: Fortress,
Fred. An Introduction to the New Testament Apocrypha:
T&T Clark, 2003.
Bruce J., and Richard L. Rohrbaugh. Social-Scientific
Commentary on the Gospel of John. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1998.
Byron R. Roll Back the Stone: Death and Burial in the World of
Jesus: Trinity Press International, 2003.
M. J. J. Numerical Literary Techniques in John: the Fourth
Evangelist's Use of Number of Words and Syllables. Leiden:
Frederick J. Fallen is Babylon: The Revelation to John, The
New Testament in Context. Harrisburg: Trinity Press
Jerome. An Ideology of Revolt: John's Christology in
Social-Science Perspective. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1988.
Esther. Courage for Today, Hope for Tomorrow: A Study of the
Revelation. rev. and expanded ed. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1993
Elaine. Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas. New
York: Random House, 2003.
John. Reading John's Gospel Today. Atlanta: John Knox,
Stephen J., James Robinson, and Hans-Gebhard Bethge. The Fifth
Gospel: The Gospel of Thomas Comes of Age. Harrisburg, PA:
Trinity Press, 1998.
David. Johannine Faith and Liberating Community.
Philadelphia: Westminster, 1988.
Adele. Befriending the Beloved Disciple: A Jewish Reading of
the Gospel of John. New York: Continuum, 2001.
Riemer. Gnosis and Faith in Early Christianity. Harrisburg:
Trinity Press International, 1999.
John A. Mystical Christianity: A Psychological Commentary on
the Gospel of John. New York: Crossroad, 1993.
Udo. The Human Condition: Anthropology in the Teachings of
Jesus, Paul, and John. Translated by O. C. Dean, Jr.
Minneapolis: Fortress, 1996.
Jane. The Resurrection of Mary Magdalene: Legends, Apocrypha,
and the Christian Testament: Continuum, 2002.
Elisabeth. Revelation: Vision of a Just World, Proclamation
Commentaries. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991.
Fernando F., ed. "What is John?" Readers and Readings
of the Fourth Gospel. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1996.
F. Scott. What Did Jesus Do?
Gospel Portrayals of Jesus' Personal Conduct: Trinity
Press International, 2003.
Jeffrey L. Reading with a Passion: Rhetoric, Autobiography, and
the American West in the Gospel of John: Continuum, 2002.
Charles H. Reading John: A Literary and Theological Commentary
on the Fourth Gospel and Johannine Epistles. New York:
Charles H. The Apocalypse: a Reading of the Revelation of John.
Louisville: Westminster, 1994.
Marianne. The Humanity of Jesus in the Fourth Gospel.
Philadelphia: Fortress, 1988.
Wahlde, Urban C. The Johannine Commandments: First John and the
Struggle for the Johannine Tradition, Studies in
Contemporary Biblical and Theological Problems. Mahwah:
Maurice T. The Spiritual Gospel: The Interpretation of the
Fourth Gospel in the Early Church. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1960.
Lamar , Jr. Preaching the Gospel of John: Proclaiming the
Living Word. Vol. Westminster John Knox: Louisville, 2004.
to class participants
To: Participants in SC 575. “The Gospel According to John and
Dr. Wayne G. Rollins
Re: Preparing For the First Session and For the Week
preparation for our week together on the Gospel of John, the three
Epistles of John, and the Book of Revelation, I would
like you to do your best on the following assignments.
Please note that none of these are to be handed in. Just
bring your notes, ideas, and questions.
The first is reading John’s Gospel carefully before the
course. You will
discover images, ideas, and concepts that will come as news to
those of us primarily familiar with Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
Make a schedule that allows you to read John’s twenty-one
chapters with some leisure. Take three deep breaths before reading
each section to prime your mind and imagination.
Read slowly. Highlight
those passages that get you thinking, and enter a question mark
when you find yourself at odds with the text.
addition, pay special attention to the specially asterisked
sections of John’s gospel listed in the day-to-day syllabus.
Mark these sections in your Bible, and do the following for each
Write down in one sentence what you think “John” is trying to
get across to his first century readers in this section and why
(this is exegesis).
In one sentence write down the message (“Word”) you find in
this story that you think we need to hear, the world needs to
hear, men need to hear, women need to hear?
c. List the words that seem to be part of John’s favorite
vocabulary (they’ll add up)..
d. Write one question for discussion.
Read as many as possible of the syllabus assignments in Sandra
Schneiders, Written That You May Believe: Encountering Jesus in
the Fourth Gospel. Schneiders
is one of the most vital, imaginative, earthy, and spiritual
lecturers on John. Also,
she is no academic slouch. Make notes in the margins on
ideas, facts, or insights that strike you, and when you
have completed the reading, do the following: (a) write a
one-sentence summary of the chapter; (b) copy one quotation
from Schneiders that you found especially enlightening or
provocative (noting the page number), and explain in a
paragraph why the quote struck you as important.
Read as much as possible of Pheme Perkins, The Book of Revelation.
Perkins’ little commentary on
Revelation is one of the most lucid, brief treatments
available. It won’t take you long and will provide a quick,
coherent introduction to this challenging book.
Extra-curricular: bring any
materials you’d like to share from what you’ve used or come
across in your work in understanding
or explaining John, the three epistles, or Revelation (in the form
of story, poem, quote, sermon,
movie, music, drama, art, etc.) .
please observe our BYOB policy. “Bring Your Own Bible” to
every session. The Biblical text and your response to it is what
it’s all about! It will be a busy and lively week, which I hope
will provide us with a deepened personal and scholarly
understanding of Jesus of Nazareth, of John and the early church,
of the Holy, of ourselves, and of the Word then and now.
Credit students: please note the Book Review Assignment in the
For the Final
Project: Biblical Research Resources in the Reference Room
- Anchor Bible Commentary
192.2 A1 1964
The New Interpreter’s Bible (12 vols.) BS491.2 N484 1994
Women’s Bible Commentary
BS 491.2 W66 1992
- Anchor Bible Dictionary (6 vols.) BS 440 A54 1992
- Dictionary of Biblical Interpretation (2 vols.)
BS500 D5 1999
- Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (IVP) BS2555.2
- Encyclopedia of Biblical Theology BS 440 B46713 1981
- Exegetical Dictionary of the NT (3 vols.) (Grk) BS2312 E913
- Harper’s Bible Dictionary
- Illustrated Dictionary and Concordance of the Bible
BS440. I36 1986
- Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols.) BS444
- New Interpreter’s Dictionary of OT Theology and Exegesis
(3 vols.) BS440
- New Interpreter’s Dictionary of NT Theology (3 vols.)
- Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament (10 vols.)
- Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (10 vols.) BS
- Analytical Concordance of the RSV of the New Testament
- Eerdman’s Analytic Concordance (RSV) BS425 1989
- Nelson’s Complete Concordance (RSV) BS425 E4 1984
- The New RSV Concordance (John Kohlenberger III, ed.) BS425
- Young’s Analytical Concordance BS425 Y7 1970
- Greek English Concordance to the NT (Smith)
BS2302 SM 61 1955
- Harper’s Topical Concordance
BS432 H37 1976
- Moulton and Geden, A Concordance to the Greek NT
BS2302 M862 1963
- Concordancia Completa de la Santa Biblia
BS 428 S65 1979
Rand McNally Bible Atlas
Macmillan Bible Atlas
NT Apocrypha, (2 vols.) BS2832 S3
- James Robinson,
Nag Hammadi Library BS1391
with librarians Steven Blackburn or Marie Rovero on how to access
Hartford Seminary religion database using keywords for
bibliography or topics.