The Fourth Gospel

NT634 (Greek)

One Semester, 4 Credit Points.
Semester 1, 2018
Brian Rosner

The Gospel of John is like a mountain peak in the New Testament.  It stands apart from the Synoptic Gospels and from its summit you can survey vast tracks of biblical revelation.  The Prologue to John puts the entire narrative in the context of the eternal, pre-existent Word who became flesh in Jesus and the Gospel focuses on Jesus and his messianic mission.  With seven signs and seven ‘I am’ sayings, teaching about eternal life, and abundant symbolism and irony, the Fourth Gospel has much that is both edifying and intriguing.  This unit explores the purpose, structure and content of John, along with its key themes, historical reliability and exegesis of key chapters.  The unit will equip you to read John for all its worth.


1) The critical issues in the Fourth Gospel, such as:

  1. Authorship
  2. Provenance and Date
  3. Purpose
  4. Structure
  5. The Fourth Gospel as history
  6. The Fourth Gospel as literature
  7. Relationship of John to the Synoptic Gospels
  8. Prologue–Themes and Relationship to the Rest of the Gospel

2) The theology of the Fourth Gospel, including such topics as:

  1. Soteriology
  2. Christology
  3. “Signs” theology
  4. Eschatology
  5. Pneumatology
  6. Ecclesiology

3) Exegesis covers John 1–3, 5, 7, 12, 16, 19 (with special attention to John 1:1-18; 3:31-36; 5:16-30; 7:25-44; 12:37-50; 15:26-16:16; 19:28-37).

Advance preparation is expected for both theology and exegesis lectures.

Candidates may not take any unit in which they repeat material completed in another unit.

  1. The theology of the Fourth Gospel, including such topics as: christology; pneumatology; the church; eschatology; salvation/life/judgement; sacraments; faith and signs.
  2.  The critical issues in the Fourth Gospel, such as: authorship; dating; provenance; formation of and historical background to the gospel; John and the synoptic gospels and the gospel tradition.
  3.  Translation and exegesis of the Greek text of John 1–3, 5–6, 15–16 (or a comparable block of  chapters).


In order to pass the subject, you must attend at least 80% of the sessions. If for any reason you need to miss more than this, please seek approval from the Registrar.

1) A 2250-word theology essay chosen from the list below. (50%)
2) A 90-minute examination, in which you will answer two translation and exegesis questions: (40%)
3) Translations (eight out of a possible eleven due each week in class). (10%)

Essay Questions

  1. Assess the view that the attack upon the Jews in the Fourth Gospel is so bitter and strong as to justify the conclusion that the author’s stance is anti-Semitic.
  2. The Gospel of John claims to be an eye-witness account and yet it is consistently ignored in Historical Jesus Studies.  How useful is the Gospel of John as history?
  3. What is the function of the “signs” in the theology of John’s Gospel?
  4. What is the role of eschatology in the theology of John’s Gospel?



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