Susannah M. Larry, PhD
Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies
Susannah Larry, PhD, came to know Mennonites while volunteering at Jubilee Partners — a Christian service community in Georgia — where she gained appreciation for Anabaptist commitments to justice and reconciliation and where her interest in becoming a biblical scholar was sparked. She joined the AMBS faculty in 2020, having taught courses at Vanderbilt Divinity School and Sewanee School of Theology on the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, Biblical Hebrew, Confronting Sexualized Violence in the Bible, and Feminist Theology and Biblical Interpretation. She brings to her role a contagious passion for the Hebrew Bible and a commitment to Christ’s church. At AMBS, she sees herself living into a ministry of teaching and scholarship that uplifts marginalized voices and empowers students with the knowledge and tools to reclaim the Bible as a life-giving Word in their diverse ministry contexts.
How does the Bible shape your vocation as a professor?
As a biblical scholar, I must consider many dimensions to biblical texts — linguistic, historical, literary, cultural and ideological, to name a few. These represent the “criticisms” that I perform to gain a deeper understanding of the texts I read. I view these critical tasks as enriching what I regard as the central purpose of Anabaptist biblical interpretation: to discern from the Bible the mission of God’s Church to live in step with God’s life-giving vision of peace and justice for creation. Serving in community and listening for God’s word together at AMBS, we can pursue this vision.
What can students expect in your classroom?
I see my classroom as a workshop for whatever types of leadership roles students are currently in or anticipate assuming after graduation. That means that my classroom will look and feel different depending on who is in it. Students can expect that their questions and passions will shape both the content (readings, videos, speakers, etc.) and the activities (lectures, discussions, liturgies, exegesis) that we engage. While I celebrate the background that I bring to the classroom as a biblical scholar, I recognize that the voices and experiences that students bring are equally significant and gift our shared learning.
What are some of the diverse voices you incorporate into your teaching?
Living in a Christian intentional community with refugees inspired me to become a biblical scholar. The refugees I learned to know at Jubilee Partners in Comer, Georgia, framed their experiences as Exilic, parallel to those of the exiled Judeans in the Babylonian period. Their commitment to reclaiming the Bible as a liberating Word in their contexts sparked my determination to return to biblical texts that I had previously (and erroneously) dismissed as irrelevant to contemporary Christian life. I also work alongside survivors of sexualized violence, many of whom have witnessed the Bible being (ab)used to justify their own abuse. I am committed to exposing the flaws of this type of biblical interpretation and to proposing interpretations that honor the indwelling of God in all creation.
My goal for students
Memberships and associations