Information for

W. Derek Suderman

Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Theological Studies

W. Derek Suderman

(519) 885-0220 ext. 24212
Office:  CGUC 4207
*email is preferred

BTh, Canadian Mennonite Bible College (now Canadian Mennonite Univ.), 1993.
BA (History/PACS), University of Waterloo, 1996
BEd, Brock University, 1997
MTS, Conrad Grebel University College, 2000
PhD, University of St. Michael’s College, 2007

Research Areas:

Psalms, lament, prophets, Wisdom literature, violence and the Bible, and the use of the Old Testament in the New Testament

*Recently profiled by the Centre for Teaching Excellence at the University of Waterloo: 

Courses Taught:

RS 130/JS 131 - Big Ideas of the Bible
RS 232 - The Hebrew Prophets
RS 335 - The Violence of the Bible
RS 338 - Seeking Wisdom in the Bible

TS 610 - Reading and Teaching the Old Testament
TS 612 - Teaching the Bible
TS 715 - Special Topics in Old Testament Exegesis: Isaiah
TS 715 - Special Topics in Old Testament Exegesis: Psalms
TS 715 - Special Topics in Old Testament Exegesis: Wisdom Literature
TS 715 - Special Topics in Old Testament Exegesis: Job
TS 715 - Special Topics in Old Testament Exegesis: Minor Prophets


Derek Suderman is a Bible scholar who teaches in both the undergraduate Religious Studies and graduate Master of Theological Studies programs. A Hebrew Bible/Old Testament specialist, Suderman pursues wide ranging interests related to the Psalms, prophets, Wisdom literature, violence and the Bible, and the use of the Old Testament in the New Testament. In his teaching he “seeks to make the Bible strange” by demonstrating how studying biblical language and culture “gives students a mirror to look at their own contemporary culture. They’re confronted with another possibility, an awareness that people haven’t always thought the way we think.” Drawing on international and varied work experience, Suderman is particularly interested in how different cultural and historical contexts inform biblical interpretation, both positively and negatively.

Selected Publications:


See full-text versions on my research site.

  • “‘Is it Lawful?’ Interpretation and Discernment in Light of Sabbath Controversies.” In Vision: A Journal for Church and Theology 16:1 (2015): 79-88.

  • Wrestling with Our Identity.” In Canadian Mennonite 17.9 (April 29, 2013): 4-7.  

  • “Psalms.” In Fortress Commentary on the Old Testament and Apocrypha. Edited by Matthew Coomber, Gale Yee, and Hugh Page. Minneapolis MN: Fortress Press, 2014.

  • “Assyria the Ax, God the Lumberjack: Jeremiah 29, the Logic of the Prophets, and the Quest for a Non-Violent God,” Conrad Grebel Review 32:1 (2014): 44-66.
  • “The Cost of Losing Lament for the Community of Faith: On Brueggemann, Ecclesiology, and the Social Audience of Prayer.” Journal of Theological Interpretation 6.2 (2012): 201-17.
  • “Created as Male and Female: ’adam, Gender, and the Legacy of Disobedience.” In On Being Human: Essays from the Fifth Shi‘i Muslim Mennonite Christian Dialogue. Edited by Harry Huebner and Hajj Muhammad Legenhausen. Winnipeg MB: CMU Press, 2013.  Pp 211-230.

  • “Reflections of a Christian Settler in the Haldimand Tract.” In Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry: Conversations on Creation, Land Justice, and Life Together. Edited by Steve Heinrichs. Harrisonburg VA and Waterloo ON: Herald Press, 2013. Pp 263-74.

  • “Prayer” and “Psalm/Psalmist/Book of Psalms” in Dictionary of the Bible and Western Culture: A Handbook for Students. Edited by Mary Ann Beavis and Michael Gilmour. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2012.

  • Wrestling with Violent Depictions of God: A Response to Eric Seibert’s Disturbing Divine Behavior,” Direction, Fall, 2011.
  • “In Search of Divine Wisdom: Perspectives on MCC from Old Testament Wisdom,” Conrad Grebel Review, Winter 2011, pp. 71-89.
  • Who’ll Be a Witness for My Lord? Testimony in the Old Testament,Vision: A Journal for Church and Theology, Fall 2009, pp. 5-12.

Selected Activities: 

Professional Contributions

  • Member of the Editorial Council of the Believer’s Church Bible Commentary Series, 2004-
  • Member of the Executive of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, 2005-2007
  • Member of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) and the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies (CSBS)

Selected Activities

  • Co-leader of three week YELLA! Young adult trip to Israel and Palestine in May, 2015, sponsored by Mennonite Church of Eastern Canada and Mennonite Central Committee. 

Additional Teaching and Speaking Engagements

  • Mennonite World Conference, Harrisburg PA: Workshops “Hearing Prayers for Peace;” “More Than a ‘Fish Story’: Jonah’s Challenge for Today;” and “Wrestling with Scripture: The Art of Facilitating Dynamic Bible Study.” July 22-24, 2015.

  • Eby Lecture, Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, ON: “Seeking Shalom as the End of Lament.” Oct. 24, 2014. 

  • Universidad Bíblica Latinoamericana, San José, Costa Rica. Invited academic presentation: “El Reto Social del Llanto: Implicaciones Teológicas y Eclesiales de los Lamentos del Individuo” (“The Social Challenge of the ‘Cry: Theological and Ecclesiological Implications of Individual Laments”), Apr. 9, 2014.

  • Comunidad Emaús, San José, Costa Rica. Interactive Sermon/Bible Study: “Bendito El Que Viene en el Nombre del Señor” (Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord), Apr. 13, 2014 (Palm Sunday).

  • Jewish Educational Manna (JEM) continuing education program, Jewish Community Centre, London ON. Presentation: “A Prophet’s Job Description as Examined through Jonah,” Dec. 2, 2013.

  • Institut Biblique du Bénin in Cotonou, Bénin, West Africa. Taught: Introducción au Ancien Testament (Introduction to the Old Testament), translated into French 6 students, May, 2013; Les Psaumes (Psalms), translated into French and Fon (Institut Biblique du Bénin, Cotonou, Bénin), Open course with 200 students, May, 2013.

  • MCEC Bag Lunch Forum series, Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo ON. Workshop: “Tackling Tough Texts: Violence and Vengeance,” Nov. 6, 13, 2013.

  • Erb St. Mennonite Church, Waterloo ON. Sermon “Remembering With Jesus the Gospel of the Exodus,” Oct. 27, 2013.

  • Vineland, ON, Workshop on facilitating Bible study for 150 church leaders: “It Only Takes a Spark: Engaging the Word,” Jan. 2012.
  • Fribourg University (Fribourg, Switzerland), Presented an invited Lecture to the Biblical Department of  entitled, “The Rhetorical Function of Social Address in Individual Complaint Psalms,” Apr. 22, 2010.
  • Eglise Evangélique Mennonite in St. Genis Pouilly, France, and Southern Ontario Churches, Lead Numerous Bible Study Series on multiple topics (Jonah, Ruth, Psalms, Wisdom), Winter 2010.

 Previous Experience

      Before coming to Grebel, Derek has worked as:

  • a Conflict Resolution trainer with JustaPaz in Colombia, South America and the Network for Conflict Resolution in Waterloo, ON;  
  • a Community Service Worker in Provincial and Federal Penitentiaries (Headingley and Stony Mountain), including as the Inmate Response Coordinator for the Headingley Riot Review, with the John Howard Society of Manitoba, Winnipeg MB.
  • an ESL teacher.

Fellowships and Awards:

  • Teaching Fellow in Biblical Hebrew, Emmanuel College (Toronto School of Theology), 2001-2003.

Web Page:

University of Waterloo

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