Course Number: SAS 461
Course Title: Gospel of John


Fr. William C. Mills



This course studies the Gospel of John considering the historical, religious, and cultural

background of this gospel and major themes such as covenant, Kingdom of God, grace,

redemption, wisdom, prophecy, creation, Trinity, faith, angels, resurrection and priesthood.



Week 1: Intro to the course, read over syllabus, start thinking about possible projects

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 four 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:


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 four 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 (3 PAGES, ONE INCH BORDERS, WORD DOCUMENT)

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 may choose 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. If you have any questions about this assignment please do not hesitate to ask.

Assignment #2 The Gospel of John in Depth (3pages, one inch boarders, Word document)

The purpose of the second written assignment is for the student to understand the Gospel of John more in depth. The student may pick one of the following topics. This assignment will allow the student to study a part of John that is interesting to him or her.  

Topic Ideas:

  1. Select one miracle in the Gospel of John and write about it.  
  2. Select one of the many “I am” statements and discuss it.
  3. Conduct a word study of a particular word such as witness, truth, judgment, love, vine/vineyard, sheep/shepherd, etc…as found in the Gospel of John. Choose only one word for your study.
  4. Student may choose something else but must first consult with the instructor.

Assignment 3: The Gospel of John and Geography (2 pages, one inch boarders, Word document)

Take one of the following towns/villages/cities mentioned in the gospel of John and write about it. Feel free to include a map or chart but please make sure it is small. Choices: Nazareth, Galilee, Bethsaida, Capernaum, Cana, Jerusalem.

Assignment #4 Student Choice (2 pages, one inch boarders, Word document)

The student may freely choose a topic of his or her interest based on a specific passage from the Gospel of John. If you are having trouble please consult the instructor.




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:

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.


You are expected to login several times during each week. Because this class is being taught 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!