August 25

The Soteriological Role of the Johannine Jesus

The full question the first assignment I had to answer was:

Investigate the motifs of “sending”, “coming” and “going” as they refer to the soteriological role of the Johannine Jesus in the Fourth Gospel and 1 John.


Probably because I wasn’t as rushed this is a much better essay than the previous years work and even makes sense in parts.

John Sending

There wasn’t much feedback, just lots of ticks and corrections of spelling and formatting but I was happy enough with that.

August 25

RE101 Biblical Studies: New Testament

After overreaching in 1989 by trying two subjects at a time, I had a break until second semester 1990 before continuing my never ending arts degree. Under the rules at the time I already had a major in English literature and an unspecified major from previous study. While my two government subjects were quite enough as far as I was concerned, I did note that the only real flicker of interest had been in the religious thinkers so after several years away I went back to Studies in Religion.

I was still studying externally and chose RE101, Biblical Studies: New Testament, which was taken by Assoc. Prof. Michael Lattke. I did not meet him until some year later and, as usual, at the time knew nothing about the lecturer.

Now Emeritus Professor Michael Lattke, he went on to an internationally recognised career and even has a wikipedia page. He was honoured with a Festschrift in 2007 and is now retired. He was in the news in 2011, when his collection of rare books was destroyed in a flood.

I can tell I was much more engaged in this subject and the notes were extensive and engaging. Assessment was with two assignments and by the look of the assignments I had ditched the Commodore 64 and was using a primitive laptop with two disk drives and no hard drive that printed to a decent dot matrix printer.  It had an odd word processor made by the Webster people and I’m not sure what became of the computer. The assignments are double spaced, readable and able to be scanned, but the formatting was dodgy and I’m not sure I knew how to change single to double spacing and do proper indents. Nonetheless it was a big step forward presentation wise.


August 17

GT223 Examination

This was a two hour examination with three questions to be answered out of five.  My notes show that we must have been given a fair idea of what to expect as I was able to scrawl the outlines of the three essays on the exam paper in the perusal period.

I answered a question on Augustine, Machiavelli and analysed Skinner’s book about Machiavelli.

I got a 5, which was generous and I resolved never to do more than one subject at a time again.


May 3

Man is the Measure of All Things

This was meant to be a 600 word essay and I chose the topic:


“Man is the measure of all things”  What in your estimation did Protagorus mean by this?


Man is the measure of all things


It is a pretty lousy essay in many ways (and too long at 800 words) and while the marker was kind enough to say I made some good points he also pointed out they weren’t the key points I should have been making. The point I did make seems like I was looking at relativism not really being open slather but subject to correction and influence by a well formed conscience. Once I made the mistake of doing two subjects at once I was in no position to spend the research and thinking time to make a better effort than this and a mark of 13/20 was fair enough.

It is a fiendish pleasure to have finally typed this double spaced as requested twenty seven years too late – a feat that was impossible on my primitive C64 word processor in 1989.

I note that this was submitted on the 22nd August and returned on the 19th of October, which was about when the major assignment was due, so I had no time to correct any deficiencies noted before having to submit the next essay – like improving the presentation. This suggests Cook was brought in very late – the notification to students of this was only sent out on the 11th of October.

April 23

GT223: Political Theory from Plato to Machiavelli

This was the subject I most definitely should not have been doing in second semester 1989, when I had little time for one subject and idiotically had signed up for two.

I don’t think this was anyone’s idea of a good time. The notes were written by Dr N.S. Thornton (Sigrid’s father) but the course was meant to be taken by a Dr E.N. Allen. I can find no trace of his CV on the web but he was absent on sick leave anyway and Ian Cook, who I suspect was at the time a PhD student, was called in to replace him. Cook went on to a stellar career in his area moving to Murdoch University and being responsible for numerous books and journal articles.  You can catch up on his career here.

In 1989 however, the poor bastard was thrown into looking after this unloved external course. This meant having to read my under researched, poorly argued essays. What really annoyed him however was my bloody awful word processor (Commodore 64 style) that was frankly hard to read. His marginal notes reveal a certain degree of exasperation when he wonders if I’ve ever heard of double spacing!

I was in no position at the time to correct this as we were actually rather short of money and seriously in debt. A good computer and printer was not immediately affordable and I don’t think I had the nerve to ask my poor wife to start typing for me again. His pain may have pushed me to get a second hand computer from my brother and a half decent dot matrix printer not long after this fiasco.

The only thing this course did tell me that was that the political thinkers that I thought interesting were religious writers and that set me off in following years to complete a major in Studies in Religion. But never more than one subject at a time.

April 23

EN202 Examination

This exam was in November 1989. I has just joined a new, smaller general practice and was struggling with a government subject as well, an embarrassment about which more anon.

There were four questions of which three needed to be attempted based on passages from poetry.

I attempted to comment on Dryden’s “Absalom and Achitophel”,  Pope’s “The Rape of the Lock” and Thomas Gray’s “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard”.

Whatever was required to get a mark above the 5 (7 being the highest) I received for the course was either beyond me or was not going to happen with the lack of time I had inflicted upon myself.

April 23

Jonathan Swift and Samuel Johnson

Oddly both assignments had to be presented at the same time. I chose this option for the second assignment:

“In Gulliver’s Travels and Johnson’s long poem, ‘The Vanity of Human Wishes’ – the authors are concerned to remove our illusions and to reveal the true character of our world. The methods and style, the manner in which they do this can be compared and contrasted – and their conclusion, arguably, are equally valid.”

Compare these two works, concentrating mainly of Gulliver’s Travels, Book IV and on several passages from “The Vanity of Human Wishes”.

Swift Johnson

This was called a well argued essay and better than the other one but still only got 15/20. I suspect he was being lenient on the first essay.

April 20

Henry Fielding and Jonathan Swift

What makes Lemuel Gulliver and Parson Adams admirably contrived characters for their authors’ various purposes?

Swift Fielding

This is a particularly unsatisfactory essay (13/20) and its faults were rightly noted. It was pointed out that I did not elaborate on “various purposes” as the question quite clearly asked. It also was well over the word count (no word count on a C64) and need not have been as it was verbose and repetitious. The obvious excuse was not devoting enough time for proper thought, but it appears I did write an outline, then a copy by hand before typing. It took many more years before I was comfortable typing without a hand written draft.

April 20

EN202 Restoration and Eighteenth Century Literature

This was one of two subjects I took in second semester 1989. What possessed me to do two subjects is not clear to me at all now and I certainly didn’t make that mistake again.  Perhaps buoyed by a good result in Medieval Literature I thought I could get my BA done in half the time, but I was working full time in General Practice and completing the Certificate of Satisfactory Completion of the Family Medicine Program and, while that wasn’t as difficult as the hospital years had been, it was still a heavy enough work load without trying to do two arts subjects at once.

This was my sixth English subject and at the time constituted a major. It was taken by Mr D.H. Henderson who, as usual, provided voluminous lectures, reading guides, assistance with assignments and preparation for the examination. He also had to suffer my below par essays full of spelling mistakes, convoluted syntax and tortured argument.

We covered the novels, Moll Flanders, Pamela I, Joseph Andrews and Gulliver’s Travels. I recall Pamela in particular as being interminable. There was also some Samuel Johnson and poetry by Dryden, Pope, Swift, Gray, etc. …and plays by Gay and Congreve. …and I was reading for a Government subject.

One big change was the arrival of a computer. The already old fashioned Commodore 64 was purchased for the sole purpose of doing multiple choice questions over the telephone for the RACGP. There was a very expensive item called a Tandata unit that you could borrow from the college, plug into a phone line and do MCP questions towards the certificate. We were informed that a $15 cartridge inserted into a Commodore 64 would achieve the same outcome, and so it did. It also introduced us to banking from your home computer many years before the internet.

With the primitive word processor on the Commodore 64, I could now type for myself.  This meant more spelling errors (no spellcheck and no wife typing and correcting howlers on the fly). The printer we had was a peculiar device with a plastic ribbon in three colours that took an age to print not very distinct letters, but it was just about readable. It is however not very scannable after all these years so I will have to retype the essays.

Assessment was two essays of ~1000 words each and an examination. I am reasonably sure I did not keep up with the reading this time.