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Contact Sylvia Keesmaat

Sylvia Keesmaat

Adjunct Faculty

B.A. Redeemer College

M.A. McMaster University, D.Phil. Oxford


Dr. Sylvia C. Keesmaat taught Biblical Studies and Hermeneutics at the Institute for Christian Studies for ten years. In 2004 she left full-time academia to pursue her interests in sustainable living. In addition to being Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies at Trinity College and Wycliffe College, Sylvia has also been an instructor in the Creation Care Studies Program in Belize as well as the Biblical Scholar in Residence for the Victoria-Haliburton Deanery and, currently, at St James Anglican Church, Fenelon Falls. The latter involves teaching lay education courses on the Bible in rural areas of the diocese.

In addition to exploring the New Testament against its imperial background, along with implications for today, Dr. Keesmaat is working on an agrarian reading of the New Testament. Dr. Keesmaat speaks frequently in both academic and lay contexts on issues related to biblical faith and creation care, sustainable living and radical discipleship. She earned her Permaculture Design Certificate in 2014 and lives on an organic solar-powered farm with her husband, Brian Walsh, and a fluctuating number of interns and animals.

Areas of Expertise

  • Pauline Epistles, especially Romans and Colossians
  • The Imperial Context of the New Testament
  • Creation in the Biblical Story
  • Agrarian Readings of the Bible
  • Ecological Hermeneutics
  • Poverty in the Biblical World
  • Social Context of the Early Christian Movement

Select Publications and Media:

  • Romans Disarmed (co-authored with Brian J. Walsh) (forthcoming, Brazos Press).
  • Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire. co-authored with Brian J. Walsh. (InterVarsity Press, 2004).
  • Paul and His Story: (Re)Interpreting the Exodus Tradition. (Sheffield Academic Press, 1999).
  • The Advent of Justice: A Book of Meditations, ed. (Wipf and Stock, 2014; re-issue of 1993 original).
  • “Land, Idolatry and Justice in Romans,” in Conception, Reception and the Spirit: Essays in Honour of Andrew T. Lincoln ed. J. Gordon McConville and Lloyd J. Pietersen. (Cascade Books, 2015), pp. 90-103.
  • “Colossians” in The Fortress Commentary on the Bible: New Testament, edited by Margaret Aymer, Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, and David Sánchez. (Fortress Press, 2014), 557-572.
  • “Reading Romans in the Capital of Empire” in Reading Pauls Letters to the Romans, edited by Jerry Sumney. (Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature, 2012) 47-64.
  • “Outside of a Small Circle of Friends: Jesus and the Justice of God” in Jesus, Paul and the People of God: A Theological Dialogue with N.T. Wright, edited by Nicholas Perrin and Richard B. Hays. (Intervarsity Press, 2011), 66-89, co-authored with Brian J. Walsh.
  • “Paul and the Hope of Creation” in The Gift of Creation: Images from Scripture and Earth, edited by Norman Wirzba. Morley, (Acclaim Press,  2009),130-139.
  • “Reading the Epistles for Justice” in The Justice Project, edited by Brian McLaren, Elisa Padilla and Ashley Bunting Seeber. (Baker Books, 2009), 91-98.
  • “If your Enemy is Hungry: Love and Subversive Politics in Romans 12 & 13” in Character Ethics and the New Testament, ed Robert Brawley. (Westminster John Knox Press, 2007) pp 141-158.
  • “In the Face of Empire: Paul’s use of Scripture in the Shorter Epistles” in Hearing the Old Testament in the New Testament, ed, Stanley E. Porter. (Eerdmans, 2006) pp.182-212.
  • “The Psalms in Romans and Galatians” in The Psalms in the New Testament ed. Steve Moyise and Maarten J.J. Menken. (T&T Clark, 2004) pp. 139-161.
  • "Welcoming in the Gentiles: A Biblical Model for Decision-Making" in Living Together in the Church, ed. Chris Ambidge and Greig Dunn. (Anglican BookCentre, 2004).
  • "Strange Neighbours and Risky Care (Matt 18.21-35; Luke 14.7-14; Luke 10:25-37) in The Challenge of Jesus' Parables edited by Richard N. Longenecker. (Eerdmans, 2000) pp. 263-285.

A Lament for the Land: Romans, Suffering and Hope” a keynote address given at the Rooted and Grounded Conference at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, 2 October, 2016. 

Sylvia Keesmaat was a participant in two of CBC Radio’s Ideas episodes, on the biblical idea of “The Chosen” :

Outside of a Small Circle of Friends: Jesus and the Justice of God,” a presentation with Brian Walsh at The Wheaton Theology Conference on the Work of N.T. Wright, April 17, 2010.