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Thomas Tops

FELLOW 10/2021 - 03/2022

Thomas Tops

E-Mail: Thomas.Tops@theologie.uni-regensburg.de 



  • 06/2021 Doctor in Theology (KU Leuven) / Doctor (PThU), Joint PhD at KU Leuven, Belgium, and PThU Groningen, Netherlands, Specialty in New Testament, Cum laude (the highest obtainable distinction in the Netherlands), Thesis: “A Historical-Hermeneutical Study of παροιμία and παρρησία in the Gospel of John: A Contribution to the Interpretation of Johannine Language in Its Ancient Rhetorical Context”, Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Reimund Bieringer (KU Leuven) and Prof. Dr. Annette Merz (PThU Groningen), Examinors: Prof. Dr. John T. Fitzgerald (Notre Dame, US), Prof. Dr. Susanne Luther (Göttingen, Germany), Prof. Dr. Hector Patmore (KU Leuven, Belgium), Prof. Dr. Arie Zwiep (VU Amsterdam, Netherlands), Prof. Dr. Klaas Spronk (PThU Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 2016 – 2020 9 Courses (41 ECTS) in Ancient Greek and Greek Linguistics,                               2 Courses (8 ECTS) in Classical Hebrew, Faculty of Arts, KU                                 Leuven, Belgium
  • 10/2019 Certificate University Teaching Qualification in Higher Education (2018-2019), University of Groningen, Netherlands
  • 06/2016 Research Master, Master of Advanced Studies in Theology and
    Religion (2015-2016), KU Leuven, Belgium, Magna cum laude
  • 06/2015 Master in Theology and Religious Studies (2014-2015), KU Leuven, Belgium, Summa cum laude
  • 09/2014 Specific Teacher Training in Religion (2012-2014), KU Leuven, Belgium, Magna cum laude
  • 06/2014 Bachelor in Theology and Religious Studies (2012-2014), KU Leuven, Belgium, Magna cum laude
  • 08/2012 Master in Philosophy (2011-2012), University of Antwerp, Belgium, Cum laude
  • 06/2011 Bachelor in Philosophy (2008-2011), University of Antwerp, Belgium, Cum laude


  • 10/2021 – 03/2022 Research Fellow, Centre for Advanced Studies “Beyond Canon_”, University of Regensburg, Germany
  • 04/2017 – 04/2021 Assistent to the Chair of New Testament, Prof. Dr. Annette Merz, PThU Groningen, Netherlands
  • 2014 – 2016 Teaching Assistent for Biblical Greek, Prof. Dr. Reimund Bieringer, KU Leuven, Belgium


  • WiSe 2020 “Communities with Impact”, social-scientific approach to
    Pauline communities, together with Prof. Dr. Henk de Roest (Practical Theology)
    PThU Groningen, Netherlands
  • 01/2020 Post-academic course for pastors, “The Passion according to John”
    PThU Groningen, Netherlands
  • WiSe 2019 “Communities with Impact”, social-scientific approach to
    Pauline communities, together with Prof. Dr. Henk de Roest (Practical Theology)
    PThU Groningen, Netherlands
  • SoSe 2019 and 2018 “Exegesis 1”, exegetical methods applied to the parabel theory of Mark 4, PThU Groningen, Netherlands
  • WiSe 2017 BibleWorks-Workshop, PThU Groningen, Netherlands
  • 09/2016 – 03/2017 Gymnasium (high school) Teacher for Roman Catholic Religion (part-time), Koninklijk Atheneum Emanuel Hiel, Schaarbeek, Belgium


  • 11/2019 – 12/2019 Notre Dame University, USA, Supervision: Prof. Dr. John T. Fitzgerald
  • 06/2018 Notre Dame University, USA, Supervision: Prof. Dr. John T. Fitzgerald


List of Publications


  • Tops, T. Paroimia and parrēsia in the Gospel of John: A Historical-Hermeneutical Study. WUNT II/565. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2022, XVIII+497 p.

[Review: The Revealing and Hidden Language of the Gospel of John – Theology Research News (kuleuven.be)]


  • Tops, T. "A Historical-Comparative Study of the Authorisation of παρρησία in Philo’s Quis rerum divinarum heres sit and Quod omnis probus liber sit.Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic and Roman Period (forthcoming).
  • Tops, T. “Jesus' Authority over All His Flesh: A Linguistic and Literary-Historical Study of ἐξουσίαν πάσης σαρκός in John 17,2a”. Revue Biblique (forthcoming).
  • Tops, T. “A Philological Study of the Reflexive-Possessive Use of Personal Pronouns in the Fourth Gospel”. Novum Testamentum 64 (2022) 18-35.
  • Tops, T. “The Challenge of Ideological-Critical Interpretation in Biblical Studies: From Modern Historical to Historically Effected Consciousness”. In Theology in a World of Ideologies: Authorization or Critique?, edited by Hans-Martin Kirn and Wolter Rose. Beihefte zur Ökumenischen Rundschau 133, 188-201. Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2021.
  • Tops, T. “The Orientation of the Teaching of the Paraclete in the Gospel of John: Retrospective or Prospective?” New Testament Studies 66/1 (2020) 68-86.
  • Tops, T. “Transforming Historical Objectivism into Historical Hermeneutics: From ‘Historical Illness’ to Properly Lived Historicality”. Neue Zeitschrift für systematische Theologie und Religionsphilosophie 61/4 (2019) 490-515.
  • Tops, T. “Whose Truth? A Reader-Oriented Study of the Johannine Pilate and Jn 18,38a”. Biblica: Commentarii Periodici Pontificii Instituti Biblici 97/3 (2016) 395-420.


  • Tops, T. “J. Bernier, Aposynagōgos and the Historical Jesus in John. Rethinking the Historicity of the Johannine Expulsion Passages (Leiden – Boston, MA, 2013)”. Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses 92/1 (2016) 135-136.

Conference Papers

  • Tops, T. (2020). “A Historical-Contextual Study of Dialectical Interrogation in John 6:5-14 and 8:46-59”. Presented at the Annual SBL Conference, Virtual, 29 Nov 2020-10 Dec 2020.
  • Tops, T. (2020). “Een historisch-contextuele studie van dialectisch bevraging in het Johannesevangelie”. Presented at the Jaarlijkse bijeenkomst Conventus: Nederlandse vakvereniging van nieuwtestamentici, Virtual.
  • Tops, T. (2018). “From Historical Objectivism to Historical Hermeneutics: The Future as a Key Category of Historical Study”. Presented at the International Expert Seminar Contextualizing Normativity of the Future: Future Directions, KU Leuven, 27 Jul 2018-29 Jul 2018.
  • Tops, T. (2018). “The Challenge of Ideological-Critical Interpretation in Biblical Studies: From Modern Historical to Historically Effected Consciousness”. Presented at the Comenius Conference, Kampen (Netherlands), 18 Apr 2018-21 Apr 2018.
  • Tops, T. (2016). “The Use of παροιμία and παρρησία in the Gospel of John and Its Implications for the Understanding of Its Use of Metaphor”. Presented at the Annual EABS Meeting, Leuven, 17 Jul 2016-20 Jul 2016.
  • Tops, T. (2015). “Hermeneutics of the Bible: Objective or Subjective Genitive?” Presented at the Significant Changes and Transitions in the Study of the New Testament and in Our Development as Interpreters, Leuven, 24 May 2015-26 May 2015.




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