Mennonite Church USA is undergoing a process “to address unfinished business related to the complex legacy of sexual abuse perpetrated by John Howard Yoder” and to “enable the church to move toward deeper reconciliation and healing for victims.” You can read more in these related articles:
“Revisiting the Legacy of John Howard Yoder” by Sara Wenger Shenk, president of AMBS (7.25.13)
“Acknowledging difficult stories of sexual abuse” by Ervin Stutzman, president of MCUSA (8.1.13)
“Members of John Howard Yoder discernment group announced” (8.19.13)
An online digital library containing nearly 250 unpublished, informally published and popular works by theologian John Howard Yoder is now available for scholars and students around the world.
A collaborative project undertaken by Goshen College’s Mennonite Historical Library, the Mennonite Church USA Archives and Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS), the digital library is freely accessible through the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) and Indiana Memory websites, and can be viewed at http://tiny.cc/JohnHYoder. The library also includes the full text of the “Concern” pamphlet series, articles written by young American Mennonite intellectuals between 1954 and 1971.
Jamie Pitts, assistant professor of Anabaptist studies at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, said that the digital library “gives unparalleled access to Yoder’s unpublished and hard-to-find writings, from early essays in the Gospel Herald to later grapplings with philosophical issues.”
John Howard Yoder (1927-1997) was a prominent Mennonite theologian who introduced Anabaptist ideas into mainstream Christian theology. He served on the faculty of Goshen Biblical Seminary (1958-1959), Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary (1960-1984, 1997), and Notre Dame University (1967-1997). His 1972 book, “The Politics of Jesus,” was named one of the top five theology books of the 20th century by Christianity Today.
“Scholars in fields such as Christian ethics, political theology and Mennonite history will benefit from having easy access to this material, as it demonstrates how Yoder’s thought unfolded over time in a variety of institutional and dialogical contexts,” Pitts said. “By giving us a more comprehensive portrait of Yoder as a thinker, the digital library will facilitate the necessary, if difficult, evaluation of the full complexity of his legacy.”
Yoder’s ministry credentials were suspended in 1992 and revoked in 1996 after sexual abuse of dozens of women came to light. In 2013, Mennonite Church USA formed a six-member discernment group to address Yoder’s abuse of women and the church’s response to the women affected by his actions.
The John Howard Yoder Digital Library was funded by a grant of $12,023 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Indiana State Library. Recently the Shalom Foundation, a foundation created to distribute the royalties of John Howard Yoder’s publications, awarded an additional $2,000 grant to continue to build this digital library.