Friday, August 6, 2010

What Was John Howard Yoder Working On When He Died?

In his "Introduction" to For the Nations, Yoder references two different seeds for future work he planned on expanding and publishing in the future:
Page 7, note 18: "A set of more explicitly missiological writings is contemplated as a further volume in the present series."

Page 9, note 21: "A fuller text on [Constantine] and the events of the fourth century is in preparation."
Furthermore, while Andy Alexis-Baker has happily disproved the rumor, begun by Jim Wallis, that Yoder was hard at work in his last year of life on sanctifying a world police force, Hauerwas has referenced Yoder's late but passionate engagement with and work on issues of state discipline and capital punishment.

As it has become a bit of a cottage industry to publish handsome posthumous editions of Yoder's pamphlets and low-key or hard-to-find books, I'm even more curious about what else Yoder may have been working on that we have yet to see. Is there nothing more? Is there a good deal more? How much progress had he made on his projected Constantine and Mission books by his death? Are there outlines, chapters, or essays? Have they been published, are they still being edited, or have they not been suggested for publishing?

I would gladly welcome anyone with knowledge pertaining to these or other Yoder-related questions and curiosities to offer thoughts, direction, or answers.

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Update (8/11/10): Myles emailed me this link to Notre Dame's website for Yoder, which I recall having been to before, complete with PDFs for download of articles and essays yet to be published.


  1. I'm headed back to the archives this Fall (hopefully), and will see what I can find.

  2. But immediately, Mark Nation would know more than anyone, I think, what Yoder was working on.

  3. Actually, yes, since I was one of those JHY emailed in the week before he died. He was working on another book on peacemaking, incorporating previous lectures and unpublished fragments. Working from his notes, this has now been published posthumously by Glen H. Stassen and Mark Theissen Nation as War of the Lamb.

    He also had vague plans on publishing some of his other unpublished materials, much of which has now been published posthumously--but none of which had as thorough an outline and notes from which posthumous editors could work.

    He and I had both written on the death penalty and he emailed me with a brief question about whether we could write a joint work on the topic, but he died before I could find out what he had in mind--one of my deepest regrets.

    If John had other projects in mind or in process at his death, Mark would know more than anyone.

  4. Michael,

    Thanks for the comment. I might email you to get some more thoughts, as well as contact Mark Nation to see where he might direct me. Much appreciated sir.