This unit is designed to examine the Gospel of John, in order to: · Understand the historical context in which it was written · Appreciate its Jewish and Graeco-Roman cultural backgrounds · Compare this Gospel with the witness of the Synoptic Gospels · Deal with literary and socio-rhetorical questions that arise from exegesis of the text · Gain an understanding of the theology and symbolism of the Gospel · Explore connections between this writing and contemporary issues. It also gives an introduction to the Johannine Letters and sets out the relationship between the Gospel and the Letters. A range of methodologies is used, including narrative, historical, social scientific, liberationist and feminist criticisms. A detailed exegesis of particular passages will be undertaken. An optional Greek component is available by agreement.

Unit code: BN3743Z

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: New Testament

Proposing College: Uniting College for Leadership and Theology

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Learning outcomes


Analyse the historical, cultural and social contexts of the Gospel of John and the Johannine Letters and apply a range of methodological tools in order to interpret them


Discuss and compare the meaning and significance of the Gospel of John and the Johannine Letters considering literary structure, rhetorical features and key themes


Select and apply relevant exegetical methods and critically evaluate a variety of interpretations


Apply learnings of contemporary relevance from the Gospel of John and the Johannine Letters to 21st century missional and ministry contexts

Unit sequence

A Level 3 unit in undergraduate theology and ministry awards

Prerequisite Units: BN1741Z Interpreting the New Testament or equivalent


UCLT uses primary and secondary sources considered through different lenses to identify and explore the challenges of the unit material for the contemporary world. Students are engaged in a range of comparative, analytical and reflective practices to identify the original meanings of the text in their contexts and to interpret them hermeneutically.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Brown, Sherri & Moloney. Francis Interpreting the Gospel and Letters of John: An Introduction. Grand Rapids, MI: 2017
  • Coloe, Mary. Dwelling in the Household of God: Johannine Ecclesiology and Spirituality. Collegeville: Michael Glazier, Liturgical Press, 2007
  • Kanagaraj, J.J. John: a new covenant commentary. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2013
  • Keener, C. The Gospel of John (2 Vols.) Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2012
  • Koester, Craig R. Symbolism in the Fourth Gospel, Meaning, Mystery, Community, 2nd ed., Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Press, 2003
  • Lee, D.A. Flesh and glory : symbol, gender, and theology in the Gospel of John. New York : Crossroad, 2002
  • Lieu, Judith & de Boer, Martinus C. Oxford handbook of Johannine studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018
  • Loader, William Jesus in John's Gospel: structure and issues in Johannine Christology. Grand Rapids, MI: 2017
  • Neyrey, J.H. S.J. The Gospel of John, The New Cambridge Bible Commentary. Cambridge University Press, 2007
  • Thompson, M.M. John. New Testament Library Series. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2015


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Short Answer Responses

Summaries of assigned commentaries

500 10.0

Exegetical research task

1000 20.0
Exegetical Essay

A choice of topics relevant to the unit

2000 40.0
Oral Examination

On passages from John’s Gospel

1500 30.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Prof Albert Haddad on 26 Oct, 2022

Unit record last updated: 2022-10-26 15:03:04 +1100