Fr. John Topel

Fr. John Topel, S.J.

Emeritus Stamper Professor of Catholic Traditions
(ret) Jesuit Advisor to the Dean of the School of Law

 Sullivan Hall 429


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  • B.A., Gonzaga University, 1958
  • M.A., Gonzaga University, 1959
  • S.T.M., Santa Clara University, 1966
  • S.S.L. Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome, 1969
  • Ph.D. Marquette University, 1973


Fr. John Topel, S.J. is the Jesuit Advisor to the Law School Dean at Seattle University. His academic background includes a B.A. degree in classical languages and literature and an M.A. in philosophy from Gonzaga University, an M.A. in doctrinal theology from Santa Clara University, a teaching doctorate (licentiate) in biblical exegesis from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome and a research Ph.D. in Biblical Theology from Marquette University.

In 1971, he became the director of Seattle University's Master's program in religious education (SUMORE), and joined the theology faculty in 1973. Besides the regular undergraduate bible courses, he taught in the Honors Program, in the master's program in Counselling, and in the forerunners to the STM, as well as in two visiting professorships in Rome and in Tokyo.

Besides his teaching, he was also the Vice President for Academic Affairs, and served on the Board of Trustees for Matteo Ricci College, Seattle University, and Marquette University. Most recently he has been pastor of Catholic parishes in Arlington in Port Townsend.

His research interests have centered on parable theory and on New Testament ethics. He is the author of two books and sixteen articles in scholarly journals. His aim as Jesuit assistant to the dean is to help place even firmer foundations under the faculty's commitment to social justice.


  • "Rahner and McKenzie on the Social Theory of Inspiration," Scripture 16 (1964), 33-44
  • "A Note on the Methodology of Structural Analysis in Jn 2:23-3:21," The Catholic Biblical Quarterly [CBQ] 33 (1971), 211-220
  • "Ways the Church Selected its Bishops," America 127 (1972), 118-121
  • Acquittal: A Redaction Critical Study of Luke 12:57-59. A Doctoral dissertation at University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, MI 1973 (Order #73, 27,522)
  • "On the 'Injustice' of the Unjust Steward (Lk 16:1-13)," CBQ 37 (1975), 216-227
  • "On Being Parabled," The Bible Today 87 (1976), 1010-1017
  • The Way to Peace: Liberation Through the Bible. (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1979, and London: Gill & Macmillan, 1980; viii + 199 pp.) Italian translation by Anita Sorsaja, La Via alla pace. La Liberzione attraverso la bibbia (Assisi: Citadella editrice, 1984), 256 pp. Asian edition of the English original (Quezon City, P. I.: Claretian Publications, 1984) Spanish translation by M. Gonzales Velasco, El Camino hacia la paz: Liberacion a traves de la Biblia (Nuevo Exodo 4; Madrid: Escuela Biblica, 1989), 216 pp.
  • "The Lukan Version of the Lord's Sermon," Biblical Theology Bulletin 11 (1981), 48-53
  • The translation from German of A. Haas, "The Foundations of Ignatian Mysticism in Loyola and Manresa," in CIS (Centrum Ignatianum Spiritualitatis, Rome) 13 (1982), 149-196.
  • "The Christian Ethics of the Lukan Sermon," in R. J. Daly, S.J. (ed.), Christian Biblical Ethics (New York: Paulist, 1984), 49-54, 179-199.
  • "Lost Sheep, Parable of," in D. Jeffrey (ed.), A Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992), 461-62
  • "The Tarnished Golden Rule (Luke 6:31): the Inescapable Radicalness of Christian Ethics," Theological Studies 58 (1998), 475-485
  • :Children of a Compassionate God A Theological Exegesis of the Lukan Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6:20-49). (Collegeville, MN: Michael Glazier, 2001; viii + 320 pp.)
  • "What Does Systematic Theology Say to New Testament Interpretation?" in C. J. Dempsey and W. Loewe (eds.), Theology and Sacred Scripture (CTS Annual volume 47; Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2002). 105-124
  • "What Kind of a Sign are Vultures?" Biblica 84 (2003) 401-411.
  • "The Root of our Justice," Seattle Theology and Ministry Review 3 (2003) 68-76.
  • "Faith, Exegesis, and Theology," Irish Theological Quarterly 69 (2004) 337-348.
  • "What Were the Women Afraid of? (Mark 16:8)," Journal of Theological Interpretation 6.1 (2012) 79-96
  • Plus over 65 scholarly book reviews in America, Biblica, Catholic Studies On-Line, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, The Homiletic and Pastoral Review, Missiology, Theological Studies, and Worship.