John - Gospel and Letters

BA (Hons) in Theology - Year 1


The unit compares the Fourth Gospel with the Synoptics, with the Johannine Epistles and with Revelation.  Different approaches to John’s Gospel are explored and selected themes of the Gospel are discussed.  Students are led in exegetical study of selected passages and consideration is given to their application.  [A distance learning unit on this Gospel is offered at level 5, see unit 8225.]


To increase the students’ insight into biblical theology and their exegetical skills, based on a study of the Johannine literature.


Category of outcome

By the end of this unit students should be able to:

Knowledge and understanding

·         Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the Fourth Gospel

·         Analyse the contribution of the Gospel and the Letters to the New Testament as a whole and to Christian theology and proclamation

Intellectual skills

·         Discuss critically the unity and diversity of the Johannine corpus

·         Assess current trends in Johannine studies

Practical and Transferable skills; Personal qualities

·         Demonstrate mature exegetical skills

·         Present a short paper in class


Assessment task


Weighting within unit


·         Oral contributions to exegetical processes


600 words




·         Active participation in the exegetical process in class

·         Written essay or project




3000 words


pass / fail






Available on which programme(s)?

BA in Theology


1.    2 and 3 John

2.    1 John with an introduction to the Johannine literature

3.    John and the Synoptics

4.    The Gospel as history

5.    Misunderstandings and symbolism

6.    Further literary aspects

7.    Historical background: authorship, date, aim

8.    The role of the Old Testament

9.    Anti-Semitism or anti-Judaism?

10.  Christology

11.  More theology

Teaching method

Interactive lectures with brief student presentations

Additional eLearning content

Unit materials are available at Spurgeon’s Online to support student learning


Written feedback within 15 working days from submission

Date of approval (for office use)


Information updated on

December 2015

Indicative reading

Commentaries by G.R. Beasley-Murray (Word), R.E. Brown (Anchor), D.A. Carson (Pillar), M.J. Edwards (Blackwell), C.S. Keener, A.J. Köstenberger (Baker), H.N. Ridderbos and M.W.G. Stibbe (Readings)

Bauckham, Richard J., The Gospels for all Christians: Rethinking the Gospel audiences (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1998)

Bauckham, Richard J., The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple: Narrative, history, and theology in the Gospel of John (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007)

Culpepper, R. Alan, Anatomy of the Fourth Gospel: a study in literary design (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1983)

Köstenberger, Andreas J., Encountering John: the Gospel in historical, literary, and theological perspective (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1999)

Köstenberger, Andreas J., A Theology of John’s Gospel and Letters: The Word, the Christ, the Son of God. Biblical Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009)

Lindars, Barnabas, Ruth B. Edwards and John M. Court, The Johannine Literature (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000)

Robinson, John A.T., The Priority of John (London: SCM, 1985)

Smalley, Stephen S., John: Evangelist and Interpreter (Carlisle: Paternoster, 2nd edn 1998)

Thatcher, Tom (ed.), What we have heard from the Beginning: The past, present, and future of Johannine studies (Waco: Baylor University Press, 2007)

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John - Gospel and Letters

BA (Hons) in Theology - Year 1
Course Unit 324





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Dr Pieter J. Lalleman

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