W. Derek Suderman

Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Theological Studies
Derek Suderman

(519) 885-0220 ext. 24212
Office:  CGUC 2126
*email is preferred

Editor of the Conrad Grebel Review

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

Courses Taught:

ARTS 130 - Inquiry and Communication (Topic: Suffering and Speech)
RS 228/JS 228 - Big Ideas of the Bible
RS 335 - Christianity, Violence, and the Bible

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


Derek Suderman teaches in both the undergraduate Religious Studies and graduate Master of Theological Studies programs. In addition to his textual work as a Hebrew Bible/Old Testament scholar, Suderman explores how diverse cultural and historical contexts inform biblical interpretation and ethical discernment.

Suderman explores the language and cultures of the Bible, often making what students expect to be familiar look quite strange; this in turn provides students with a mirror to see their own settings and beliefs in a new way. He believes that being part of a 'living tradition' involves not simply defending this tradition but recognizing problems and blind spots within it. Suderman proves particularly interested in exploring how the Bible has been used to both justify and oppose violence within the broad history of the Christian tradition.

Suderman has broad research interests, including investigating: the socialaudience of the Psalms; gendered and other forms of violence in the prophets; wisdom literature as a resource for contemporary interfaith dialogue and cooperation; and the ethical implications of biblical interpretation, focused particularly on violence in the Bible and contemporary issues related to Indigenous peoples. Suderman loves to travel and has taught or made academic presentations on 5 continents.

Derek Suderman meets with students

Selected Publications:


  • “Psalms.” In Fortress Commentary on the Bible: Old Testament and Apocrypha. Edited by Matthew J. M. Coomber, Gale Yee, and Hugh Page. Minneapolis MN: Fortress Press, 2014: 547-599.
  • “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: 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: 263-74.

  • “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.

  • In Search of Divine Wisdom: Perspectives on the Church and MCC from Old Testament Wisdom.” Conrad Grebel Review 29.1 (2011): 71-89.
  • Wrestling with Violent Depictions of God: A Response to Eric Seibert’s Disturbing Divine Behavior.”  Direction: A Mennonite Brethren Forum 40.2 (2011): 151-62.

Publications - Periodicals

  • Faith Forged in Disorientation.” In Canadian Mennonite 24.22 (Oct. 26, 2020): 4-6.
  • In a Perfect Storm.” In Canadian Mennonite 24.15 (July 15, 2020): 4-6.
  • “Conversion to Wisdom.” In Quest for Respect: The Church and Indigenous Spirituality, Intotemak 46 (2017): 109-113.

Selected Activities: 

Selected Speaking Engagements and Media Appearances

  • Contributor, “Turn the Other Cheek,” CBC Ideas national radio broadcast, producer Sean Foley, aired/released Oct. 14, 2022. https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-23-ideas/clip/15942436-turn-other-cheek
  • Keynote: “(How) Can Violent Language Be a Theological Resource?” and “The Transformation of the Messiah: From Royal Psalms of Conquest to Jesus’ Suffering and Passion,” Brethren in Christ Theological Study Day, Oakville ON, May 6, 2016.
  • “‘Weep with Those who Weep’: Suffering, Empathy, and the Function of Lament.” At Loving Life, Befriending Death, National Conference of the Canadian Mennonite Health Assembly, Waterloo Inn, Waterloo ON, Oct. 22, 2015.

Conference Presentations

  • “Body Snatchers and War Refugees: Two Case Studies for Hearing Contemporary Cries Through Biblical Lament,” Society of Biblical Literature International, Rome, Italy, July 4, 2019.
  • “ ‘Why Do You Boast, O Mighty Man?’ Moving From Social to Divine Address,” Society of Biblical Literature International, Rome, Italy, July 3, 2019.

  • “A Prelude to Rights: Mennonite Peace Theology in a ‘Post-Schleitheim’ Context,” Second Global Mennonite Peacebuilding Conference, Elspeet, Netherlands, June 28, 2019.

  • “Seeking Shalom as the End of Lament.” At Word, Spirit and the Renewal of the Church: Believers’ Church, Ecumenical and Global Perspectives Conference. Goshen College, Goshen IN, Sept. 16, 2017.
  • “The Beginning of Lament in the Psalms.” Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, Ryerson University, Toronto ON, May 27, 2017.
  • “Domesticating Shalom: Biblical Lament as a Resource for Addressing Violence.” Global Mennonite Peacebuilding Conference, Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo ON, June 11, 2016.
  • “From Dialogic Tension to Social Address: Reconsidering the Rhetoric of Lament.” Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, St. Catherines, ON, May 25, 2014.
  • “The Other Prophetic Imagination: Brueggemann, Isaiah of Jerusalem, and the Internal Critique of Empire.” Society of Biblical Literature, Chicago IL, Nov. 17, 2012.
  • “Assyria the Ax, God the Lumberjack: Jer. 29, the Logic of the Prophets, and the Quest for a Non-Violent God,” Mennonite Scholars and Friends Forum, SBL Additional Meetings, Chicago IL, Nov. 17, 2012.
  • “Hearing Jussives at Work: An Exploration of Rhetorical Function in Individual Lament Psalms.” Society of Biblical Literature, Atlanta GA, Nov. 23, 2010.

International Teaching and Presentations

  • Course: "The Value of the Old Testament for Followers of Jesus" (through translation), Friends of Grace church network, Roi Et (July 11-15) and Chaam (July 18-22), Thailand, 2022.
  • Course: "El Peublo de Dios en el Antiguo Testamento" (the People of God in the Old Testament), Hermanos en Cristo (Brethren in Christ), Palmira, Cuba, June 10-14, 2022.
  • Course: “El Grito del Oprimido: Los Salmos de Lamentación y Su Pertenencia para Hoy” (The Cry of the Oppressed: Lament Psalms and their Significance for Today), Seminario Bíblico Menonita de Colombia, Santa Fé de Bogotá, Colombia; open ZOOM course, Oct. 26-31, 2020.
  • Course: “El Pueblo de Dios en el Antiguo Testamento” (The People of God in the Old Testament), Hermanos en Cristo (Brethren in Christ), Palmira, Cuba, Feb. 17-21, 2020.

  • 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,” Mennonite World Conference, Harrisburg PA, July 22-24, 2015.

  • Invited Lecture: “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), Univ. Bíblica Latinoamericana, San José, Costa Rica, Apr. 9, 2014.

  • Courses: “Introducción au Ancien Testament” (Intro to the Old Testament) and “Les Psaumes” (Psalms) w/ translation, Institut Biblique du Bénin, Cotonou, Bénin, West Africa. May, 2013.

Web Page:  http://uwaterloo.academia.edu/DerekSuderman