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Course Number: SS 648
Course Title: Gospel of John
Term: Summer 2014


Fr. William C. Mills





This course is an in depth study of the Gospel of John taking into consideration the historical, religious, and cultural background of this rich and inspirational gospel.

This course is not designed to give easy answers to questions of personal faith, although it should provide considerable foundation of historical, literary, and theological data, which will enable the earnest student to arrive at a more mature personal faith. The professor will endeavor to provide an atmosphere of freedom and intellectual honesty in which maturation in faith and understanding is possible. The student's effort to develop his/her own personal religious faith, of course, is a task in which he/she will be engaged, hopefully, for the rest of his/her life.

Furthermore, since this course is being offered at a Roman Catholic Seminary and College emphasis will be placed on the “pastoral and practical” implications of the Gospel of Luke. In other words, when engaging the reading, course notes, and conducting research, always keep in mind how the gospels can impact your preaching, teaching, and pastoral care, especially within your parish setting.

I always encourage my students to actually use their course work in their local parish. Many students are active in adult education, Bible studies, retreat leaders, permanent deacons, members of religious orders, or in other parochial responsibilities. The course materials and student work are geared for pastoral and practical usage. This does not mean the other courses at HACS are not pastoral or practical, but it does mean that I ask that the student always maintain a pastoral and practical approach to the Scriptures as they study and reflect on them throughout the course and for the rest of their life.

As members of the body of Christ we are called to encourage and inspire one another and spread the good news of the Gospel.


At the conclusion of the semester the student should be able to:

  1. Explain the major themes and literary structure of the Gospel of John.
  2. To be well acquainted with the cultural, religious, and socio-political background of the gospel.
  3. Be able to convey this new course information to others in a very practical and pastoral manner, through their teaching preaching, and pastoral care.


Week 1: Intro to the course, read over syllabus

Week 2: Read Gospel of John Ch. 1-2 and corresponding pages in text.

Week 3: Read Gospel of John Ch. 3-4 and corresponding pages in text.

Week 4: Read Gospel of John Ch. 5-6 and corresponding pages in text.

Week 5: Read Gospel of John Ch. 7-8 and corresponding pages in text.

Week 6: Read Gospel of John Ch. 9-10 and corresponding pages in text.

Week 7: Read Gospel of John Ch. 11-12 and corresponding pages in text.

Week 8: Read Gospel of John Ch. 13-14 and corresponding pages in text.

Week 9: Read Gospel of John Ch. 15-16 and corresponding pages in text.

Week 10: Read Gospel of John Ch. 17-18 and corresponding pages in text.

Week 11: Read Gospel of John Ch. 19-20 and corresponding pages in text.

Week 12: Catch up on reading and papers/projects.

Week 13: Read Gospel of John Ch. 21.

Week 14: Finish up coursework, papers/projects.


  1. Students are responsible for all the assigned readings, including the secondary course material.
  2. Students will be responsible for all course work in the class including the three short papers. There is no final exam for this course.


Students who have difficulty with research and composition are encouraged to pursue assistance with the Online Writing Lab (available at

  1. Grading will be assessed through the three writing assignments.
  2. Final grade will be determined in the following manner:
  • Written Assignment #1: 33%
  • Written Assignment #2: 33
  • Written Assignment #3: 34%


A 94-100; A- 90-93; B+ 87-89; B 84-86; B- 80-83; C+ 77-79; C 74-76; C- 70-73 D 60-69; F 59 and below


The purpose of the three short papers is for the student to engage the course material in an in depth manner. Furthermore, we need to remember that while we are studying the Gospel of John which was written nearly 2,000 years ago, the meaning and message is as important today as it was then! The early evangelists were interested with issues regarding their faith community, and therefore, were encouraged to provide guidance and direction in community life especially in terms of living the gospel during a time of great persecution and maintaining faith in times of doubt and distress. Please use either MLA or Chicago Manual of Style for grammar, style, and citations.

Assignment #1 Cultural, Social, and Political Background of the Gospel of John

The purpose of this assignment is for the student to have a basic knowledge of some aspect of the cultural, social, and political background of the Jewish/Roman World of Jesus and the Gospel of John. The student is asked to write a 5-6 page paper on any one of the following possible topics, the student of course may choose his/her own topic but please check with the instructor before proceeding. Topics can include: the role, use, and purpose of slavery, marriage and family life, transportation, flora and fauna of the ancient world, farming and husbandry, Jewish or Roman political structures in the Mediterranean (i.e student might want to discuss role of Herodian dynasty or the roles of the Roman governors and prefects), pagan religious institutions such as temples, cults (public nature of worship), healthcare and medicine, childcare and education, coins and money in Jewish and Roman cultures, modes of written communication, organization of military and armies, foods and eating habits (i.e for either Jewish or Roman cultures). There are plenty of secondary sources as well as sources found on the Internet. I only ask that you give full citation to secondary work such as URL addresses or books/journals/articles. So do some research and enjoy.

Assignment #2 The Gospel of John for Catechesis and Teaching

The purpose of the second written assignment is for the student to understand the catechetical and teaching importance of the Gospel of John. The student will have two options regarding the presentation of the material: 1) create a 6-8 week adult education class or 2) create a series of 6-8 Sunday bulletins that are formatted around your specific topic. You are more than welcome to include charts, graphs, and pictures to enhance your work, the more creative you are the better!

The goal for this assignment is not only to explore a specific topic in the Gospel of John, but also to use this new information for catechetical and teaching purposes. My hope is that your reading and research will be used to further “advance the gospel” in your local parish and faith community. There are numerous topics available; I only ask that you first contact me before you begin your research/reading. You may also consult with your parish priest for some thoughts and ideas, he might help you find a topic that would be beneficial to your congregation. Below are some ideas for your project. If you have other ideas let me know before you do this assignment.

You need to limit your topic since the project should only be 6-8 pages.

Sample Topics:

  1. Select one or two miracles in the on of the Synoptic gospels and the Gospel of John and discuss them.
  2. Select three “I am” statements and discuss them
  3. The role of women in the Gospel of John
  4. Compare and contrast John’s account of Jesus’ resurrection with one of the Synoptic versions.
  5. Conduct a word study of a particular word such as witness, truth, judgment, love, etc…as found in the Gospel of John. Choose two words for your study.
  6. Any topic of the students choice (please confirm with instructor beforehand)

Assignment #3 Student Choice

The student may freely choose a topic of his or her interest based on a specific passage from the Gospel of John.


  • Scott Lewis Gospel According to John V. 4 New Collegeville Bible Commentary ISBN 978-0814628638 $6.95.
  • Scott Hahn and Curt Mitch Gospel of John Ignatius Catholic Bible Study ISBN 978-1586174613 $9.95.
  • Scott Hahn Gospel According to John 15 CD Set (available at various online vendors) $76.95. Some vendors offer less expensive MP3 downloads.


  • Dei Verbum (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation from Second Vatican Council) see link on the “Catholic-Resources”
  • Intrumentum Laboris of the recent XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome (Oct. 2008).
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church section on Sacred Scripture.


Holy Apostles College & Seminary is committed to the goal of achieving equal educational opportunities and full participation in higher education for persons with disabilities who qualify for admission to the College. Students enrolled in online courses who have documented disabilities requiring special accommodations should contact Bob Mish, the Director of Online Student Affairs, at or 860-632-3015. In all cases, reasonable accommodations will be made to ensure that all students with disabilities have access to course materials in a mode in which they can receive them. Students who have technological limitations (e.g., slow Internet connection speeds in convents) are asked to notify their instructors the first week of class for alternative means of delivery.


Students at Holy Apostles College & Seminary are expected to practice academic honesty.

Avoiding Plagiarism

In its broadest sense, plagiarism is using someone else's work or ideas, presented or claimed as your own.  At this stage in your academic career, you should be fully conscious of what it means to plagiarize. This is an inherently unethical activity because it entails the uncredited use of someone else's expression of ideas for another's personal advancement; that is, it entails the use of a person merely as a means to another person’s ends.

Students, where applicable:

  • Should identify the title, author, page number/webpage address, and publication date of works when directly quoting small portions of texts, articles, interviews, or websites.
  • Students should not copy more than two paragraphs from any source as a major component of papers or projects.
  • Should appropriately identify the source of information when paraphrasing (restating) ideas from texts, interviews, articles, or websites.
  • Should follow the Holy Apostles College & Seminary Stylesheet (available on the Online Writing Lab’s website at

Consequences of Academic Dishonesty:

Because of the nature of this class, academic dishonesty is taken very seriously.  Students participating in academic dishonesty may be removed from the course and from the program.


Even though you are not required to be logged in at any precise time or day, you are expected to login several times during each week. Because this class is being taught entirely in a technology-mediated forum, it is important to actively participate each week in the course. In a traditional classroom setting for a 3-credit course, students would be required, per the federal standards, to be in class three 50-minute sessions (or 2.5 hours a week) and prepare for class discussions six 50-minute sessions (or 5 hours) a week. Expect to devote at least nine 50-minute sessions (or 7.5 quality hours) a week to this course. A failure on the student’s part to actively participate in the life of the course may result in a reduction of the final grade.


An Incomplete is a temporary grade assigned at the discretion of the faculty member. It is typically allowed in situations in which the student has satisfactorily completed major components of the course and has the ability to finish the remaining work without re-enrolling, but has encountered extenuating circumstances, such as illness, that prevent his or her doing so prior to the last day of class.

To request an incomplete, distance-learning students must first download a copy of the Incomplete Request Form. This document is located within the Shared folder of the Files tab in Populi. Secondly, students must fill in any necessary information directly within the PDF document. Lastly, students must send their form to their professor via email for approval. “Approval” should be understood as the professor responding to the student’s email in favor of granting the “Incomplete” status of the student.

Students receiving an Incomplete must submit the missing course work by the end of the sixth week following the semester in which they were enrolled. An incomplete grade (I) automatically turns into the grade of “F” if the course work is not completed.

Students who have completed little or no work are ineligible for an incomplete. Students who feel they are in danger of failing the course due to an inability to complete course assignments should withdraw from the course.

A “W” (Withdrawal) will appear on the student’s permanent record for any course dropped after the end of the first week of a semester to the end of the third week. A “WF” (Withdrawal/Fail) will appear on the student’s permanent record for any course dropped after the end of the third week of a semester and on or before the Friday before the last week of the semester.


If you want to read more information about my background and ministry you can visit my website at Again, welcome to the class and I hope we have a good semester together!

(860) 632-3010