St. John’s University, Queens Campus, Spring 2018

  • Section 71450: 10:40am - 12:05pm Mon and Thu, SJH 205
  • Section 71652: 12:15pm - 1:40pm Mon and Thu, MAR 432

Dr. Matthew Lewis Sutton

Associate Professor of Systematic Theology

Office: St. John’s University, Queens Campus, SJH B20–27

Student Hours: 8:30 - 9:00am; 1:45 - 2:45pm Mon and Thu, or appt.

718.990.5052 | suttonm@stjohns.edu | doctorsutton.net | @doctorsutton

Your Course Website: doctorsutton.net/hon1050c

Undergraduate Bulletin: “An introduction to Christianity highlighting belief statements, practices, scripture, rites, theological writings, artistic expressions, and other discourses manifesting and expressing the Christian faith in its various traditions through its development. Credit: 3 semester hours.”

This course provides the student with an introductory encounter with the Christian biblical tradition and a sustained focus on the central figure of Christianity, Jesus Christ. The student will attain a foundational biblical and theological literacy of the Christian Bible and see how its structural, canonical narrative interprets the world, the human person, and the nature of God. The student will also gain a greater appreciation of the historical, cultural, and theological foundations of the Christian faith.

By the conclusion of the course, the student should be able:

  • to articulate (in writing and speaking) knowledge of the Catholic Christian faith, the Bible, and the important characters, events, and ideas of the first centuries of Christian history
  • to analyze critically scripture and other theological texts central to Christianity
  • to appreciate intellectually the Bible’s foundational place in Christianity

Course Texts: Required:

Purchased by Student

  • Bible, must be an appropriate translation for academic work, such as the RSV, NRSV, NAB, NABre, NIV, ESV, NKJV. (recommended translation The Ignatius Bible (Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition). Second Edition. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2007. ISBN: 9780898708349 Paperback or Kindle . If you have questions, see me.
  • Early Christian Writings. Translated by Maxwell Staniforth and Andrew Louth. New York: Penguin Books, 1987. ISBN: 978-0140444759. Paperback or Kindle

Provided by Professor

  • Lives of Roman Christian Women. Translated by Carolinne White. New York: Penguin Books, 2010. ISBN: 978-0141441931. Paperback or Kindle. Selection.

Course Structure:

The course will be structured with three major units that are foundational for understanding Christianity. The first unit will focus on understanding the theology of the Old Testament with particular focus on early Judaism's foundational beliefs about God, the human person, and world. The second unit will focus on understanding Jesus as presented in the Gospels and other books of the New Testament. This intense focus on mastering who Jesus was and what he wanted will give the student an initial mastery of Christianity as well as a foundation for critically thinking about the influence of Jesus' teaching in the history of ideas and cultures. The third unit will be focused on Early Church theologies of Jesus Christ. This will help the student understand the foundational beliefs, history, and significance of the first generations of Christians.

Learning Assessment:

In this course, you can earn 100 points. You earn these points by successfully completing the following:

  • Class Participation: active engagement = 10 points
  • Encountering Christianity Assignment Sheets = 23 points (1 point each)
  • Encountering the Psalms Assignment = 2 points
  • Occasion of Joy Exams = 25 points (3 exams)
  • Occasion of Awesome Additional Book of the Bible Report = 5 points
  • Occasion of Exploration Paper = 10 points
  • Occasion of Jubilation Final Cumulative Exam = 25 points

Grading Scale:

A = 100 - 93 points (100 - 93%); A- = 92 - 90 points (92 - 90 %); B+ = 89 - 87 points (89 - 87%); B = 86 - 83 points (86 - 83%); B- = 82 - 80 points (82 - 80%); C+ = 79 - 77 points (79 - 77%); C = 76 - 73 points (76 - 73%); C- = 72 - 70 points (72 - 70%); D+ = 69 - 67 points (69 - 67%); D = 66 - 60 points (66 - 60%); F = 59 - 0 points (59 - 0%)

We are at our best when:

  • We act with Academic Integrity, which means no plagiarism, no cheating, no damaging of other people’s work, and no assisting someone else’s dishonesty. Plagiarism is the act of appropriating and using the ideas, writings, or works of another person as your own without giving proper citation to the person who created it. I will follow the university’s procedure for plagiarism and discipline to the highest extent allowable, which can include an “F” for this course and the act of plagiarism noted in your academic file. Any further offenses entail suspension or expulsion.
  • We are Actively Engaged with each other. As a student, you must attend class regularly, attentively, and promptly with readings and assignments completed. As a professor, I must be available to you for encouraging and guiding you to excel in your education. St. John’s College mandates “Regular and prompt attendance is expected of all students and is an individual student’s responsibility. Absence from class does not excuse a student from any work missed. There is no penalty for absence from class considered in itself. Students are, however, responsible for all announced exams and for submitting all assignments given in class at the proper time. Ignorance of such exams and assignments is not an acceptable excuse for failure to complete them.”
  • You are Responsible for Everything said in class. You are responsible for getting class notes from another student. Only after you have received and read those notes can you contact me with further questions about the class.
  • We do not use any Digital Devices inappropriately during class time such as cell phones, text messaging, smart watches, tablets, or laptops. If you do not follow this policy, you will not be able to earn participation points for the class meeting. If it continues to be a problem, your overall point total will be reduced according to the severity of your lack of engagement.
  • We turn in our Assignments and Papers promptly as directed by the professor. Even if you are absent, you are still responsible for turning in your assignments by the beginning of class or as directed. If your assignment is late, your grade for that assignment will be lowered at least by 10% for each day that it is late. Your grade will continue to be lowered to zero at my discretion until it is submitted.
  • We attend Prepared for all Exams and the Final Cumulative Exam and these should not be missed. If you cannot attend an exam, you must consult me in advance and receive clear approval from me. No make-up exams will be given unless you receive clear approval beforehand or as determined by me. Since the dates of the exams are clearly communicated to you, it is unlikely that you will receive approval.
  • We learn because We Are Human and we desire to know the truth about the divine, the world, and ourselves. We strive for Excellence without Excuses.