Academic journal article Mennonite Quarterly Review

In Memoriam: A. James Reimer (1942-2010)

Academic journal article Mennonite Quarterly Review

In Memoriam: A. James Reimer (1942-2010)

Article excerpt

Jim Reimer was born in Altona, Manitoba, on August 10, 1942. He grew up within the rhythms of traditional Mennonite village life at a time when these rhythms were being reshaped by revivalism. At age 17 he was baptized on his confession of faith by David Schultz into the Altona Bergthaler Church. In 1960 Reimer enrolled at Canadian Mennonite Bible College in Winnipeg. There he began the lifelong task of critically integrating his revivalist upbringing and Mennonite doctrine with an increasingly broadened intellectual horizon. After spending two years as a reporter and then a further two years teaching at Elim Bible School, Reimer continued his studies in history and philosophy at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. During this time he married Margaret Loewen, with whom he shared common religious and intellectual pursuits. They had three children, Christina, Thomas and Micah.

In 1971 Jim and Margaret spent a transformative year at Union Theological Seminary in New York City encountering the sophisticated world of liberal Protestant culture. The experience set him on a path toward master's and doctoral studies at St. Michael's College at the University of Toronto. The thought of the conservative philosopher George Grant and the social justice theologian Gregory Baum brought him face-to-face with the classical Christian tradition as well as its radical critique. This conflict became the subject of his dissertation as it was played out in the theologies of Emmanuel Hirsch and Paul Tillich at the beginning of the Nazi era in Germany. His ambition was to expand this emerging synthesis to engage Mennonite doctrine and ethics. …

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