Q&A with Trinity College Theological School’s Dean: Bob Derrenbacker

NAME: The Reverend Canon Dr Robert (Bob) Derrenbacker

TITLE: Dean and Frank Woods Associate Professor in New Testament at Trinity College Theological School


What are your areas of interest or specialisation?

My general area is the New Testament and Early Christianity. Specifically, I specialise in the New Testament Gospels and their literary relationship with each other, ancient reading cultures and book production, the letters of Paul, and the sociocultural worlds of Roman antiquity.

Originally, I was drawn to these topics because I wanted to learn more about the backgrounds of the Bible and the origins of my Christian faith. Early on, I quickly learned that, as in anything, context provides meaning. Ever since then, I’ve been interested in the literary, cultural, social, religious and historical contexts of the New Testament, and how contemporary contexts shape our reading of the New Testament.

What do you enjoy most about working at Trinity College?

Trinity College Theological School is an intentionally Anglican learning community that balances the rhythm of daily worship with teaching, learning and theological study. Plus, the staff at the Theological School often like to retire to Naughton’s (the bar across the road from Trinity College) for a good beer and a good conversation!

How would you describe Trinity’s theological community?

Friendly, caring, welcoming, faithful.

Current research projects

I’m currently working on a paper that explores whether the Gospel of Mark (as we have it) is ‘unfinished’, and how this ‘unfinished’ status influenced the first readers of the Gospel.

What is one of your favourite Bible verses and why?

Jesus’ ‘Great Commandment’ in the Gospels reminds me what’s most important – loving God with my whole being and loving my neighbour as myself.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A rockstar. This never happened, so I have to live vicariously through the music I listen to and the guitars I play (poorly).

What’s your favourite movie and why?

The Godfather – brilliantly directed, acted and shot, it’s a rich film set in the 1950s that illustrates quite well social values and relationships of Roman antiquity.

What would make the world a more peaceful place?

If people would consistently and truly follow the ‘Golden Rule’: Do unto others as you would have them do to you.

Which activities make you lose track of time?

Good movies at the theatre, listening to music (especially Pink Floyd, Rush, Led Zeppelin and U2) and playing my guitars.


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