Rev. William L. Burton, OFM

Professor of Scripture

WBurton [at] stmarys.edu
Office: 410/864-4238

Curriculum vitae

Franciscan friar Fr. William Burton came to St. Mary’s Seminary & University in 2019 as professor of Scripture after teaching at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Florida. His fundamental interest as a Scripture professor is the development of exegetical skills to guide seminarians and priests in the understanding, interpretation, and preaching of Scripture. Fr. Burton says that this “serves my particular need, as a Franciscan friar, to follow my call to live the gospel.” He made his solemn religious profession in 1987 and was ordained a priest in 1989.

Fr. Burton has worked especially hard in various ways to raise the biblical literacy level of the Roman Catholic Church. He has done this in the classroom and lecture hall, and also in guiding local parish Bible groups and in leading Bible study pilgrimages to the Holy Land, Greece, Turkey, and Italy. His recently published book, Abba Isn’t Daddy and Other Biblical Surprises, attempts to engage the typical, interested Catholic lay person in the excitement of Scripture study. To this same end he has published several audio and video series on various biblical topics. He has also been a presenter at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress.

Fr. Burton has taught Scripture for twenty years; in seminary formation work his goal is to excite within future priests and permanent deacons a deep love of Scripture. “The first hurdle I always try to make easiest for students,” he says, “is to dispel the fear so many have of studying Scripture. I’m convinced that most already have the basic skills they need to begin-they just haven’t thought of using these already acquired skills in the study of the Bible. They usually find that it is far easier than they imagined and infinitely more exciting and engaging than they thought possible.”

Selected Courses Taught

  • Introductory New Testament Greek
  • Luke-Acts
  • The Book of Revelation
  • Johannine Literature
  • Jesus at Table

Service to the Church

  • Second term as Provincial Councilor of Franciscan Sacred Heart Province
  • Guiding numerous parish Bible study series all over the U.S.
  • Directing clergy retreats
  • Guiding parish missions
  • Preaching based on solid Catholic exegesis of the texts

Selected Publications

  • Abba Isn’t Daddy and Other Biblical Surprises (Ave Maria Press, 2019)
  • “How to Read and Understand Luke-Acts” (CD series; Now You Know Media, 2019)
  • “The Synoptic Gospels; How to Read and Understand Matthew, Mark and Luke” (CD series; Now You Know Media, 2018)
  • “At Table with Jesus; Do this In Remembrance of Me” (CD & DVD series; Now You Know Media, 2017)
  • “Demystifying he Book of Revelation” (DVD series; Paraclete Press, 2015)

Online Resources

Recommended Reading

  • Joshua W. Jipp, Saved by Faith and Hospitality
  • Larry W. Hurtado, At the Origins of Christian Worship: The Context and Character of Earliest Christian Devotion
  • Gillian Feeley-Harnik, Lord’s Table; The Meaning of Food in Early Judaism and Christianity
  • Dennis E. Smith, From Symposium to Eucharist: The Banquet in the Early Christian World

A Favorite Quotation

In a piece about the book of Genesis, St. John wrote: “that we may come to know the ineffable loving kindness of God and see for ourselves the thought and care He has given to accommodating His language to our nature.”