Neufeld, Thomas R.

views updated

Neufeld, Thomas R.

(Thomas R. Yoder Neufeld, Tom Yoder Neufeld)


Education: University of Manitoba, B.A. (with honors), 1970; Harvard Divinity School, M.Div., 1973, Th.D., 1989. Religion: Mennonite.


Office—Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo, 140 Westmount Rd., N., Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G6, Canada. E-mail—[email protected].


University of Waterloo, Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, associate professor of religious studies, and peace and conflict studies, and director of graduate theological studies. Has served as hospital and prison chaplain. Speaker at conferences.


Distinguished teacher award, University of Waterloo, 2002.



Guilt and Humanness: The Significance of Guilt for the Humanization of the Judicial-Correctional System, Queen's Theological College (Kingston, Ontario, Canada), 1982.

(Under name Thomas R. Yoder Neufeld) Put on the Armour of God: The Divine Warrior from Isaiah to Ephesians, Sheffield Academic Press (Sheffield, England), 1997.

Ephesians, Herald Press (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada), 2002.

(Under name Thomas R. Yoder Neufeld) Recovering Jesus: The Witness of the New Testament, Brazos Press (Grand Rapids, MI), 2007.


Thomas R. Neufeld studied history at the University of Manitoba and earned advanced degrees from Harvard Divinity School. He has researched and taught on the subjects of Jesus, the apostle Paul, and peace as it is presented in the Bible. His writings frequently focus on the concept of God as a warrior, and the ways in which that image is related to beliefs about judgment and salvation. He has served as a teacher, a pastor, and as a chaplain to hospitals and prisons.

Neufeld's book Ephesians is an in-depth, scholarly discussion of the New Testament book of Ephesians. The author discusses variations from one translation of the book to the next, and explores the importance of this book to the life of the church, particularly for Anabaptist communities. In Neufeld's view, Ephesians offers an image of the church as a manifestation of God's peace, made tangible in the universe. In addition, Neufeld attempts to give insight into the author of the book. He feels that Ephesians was written by a Jewish convert to Christianity, who hoped to bring Gentiles into the ‘Jewish Christian’ circle. Ephesians contains advice about the roles of various family members which, because of its emphasis on subordination and gender, can seem archaic to modern readers. Neufeld's discussion of this issue is ‘useful to pastors and others wrestling’ with it, stated Pheme Perkins in Interpretation. Perkins also recommended Ephesians as ‘thoughtfully and clearly argued,’ and praised the diversity of its reflections, noting that they would be particularly helpful for pastors or leaders of Bible study groups.

In Recovering Jesus: The Witness of the New Testament, the author attempts to reconcile historical and theological views of Jesus. He offers an introduction to the New Testament, the culture from which it sprang, and scholarship on the writings within it. He sketches out the most critical aspects of the sometimes-conflicted relationship between historical fact and religious dogma, notes the ways in which they pertain to theology and Bible studies, and then presents the main arguments on both sides of various issues on which there are scholarly conflicts regarding the New Testament. He attempts to show Jesus as a real person, setting him in the context of the times in which he lived. ‘Neufeld's Christian commitment and fair-mindedness are evident,’ said Carolyn M. Craft in Library Journal. She also found the book to be ‘engagingly written’ and accessible to both those who are believers and those who are not. A Publishers Weekly reviewer noted the complexity of Neufeld's subject, and remarked that the author ‘succeeds nicely in simplifying terms and explaining difficult ideas.’ That reviewer felt that Neufeld succeeded in his attempt to discover both historical and theological truths about Jesus Christ, and concluded that Recovering Jesus is a ‘fine volume."



Catholic Biblical Quarterly, July, 1999, Robin Scroggs, review of Put on the Armour of God: The Divine Warrior from Isaiah to Ephesians, p. 600.

Interpretation, April, 2003, Pheme Perkins, review of Ephesians, p. 219.

Journal of Biblical Literature, spring, 2000, Mary R. Huie-Jolly, review of Put on the Armour of God, p. 55.

Library Journal, July 1, 2007, Carolyn M. Craft, review of Recovering Jesus: The Witness of the New Testament, p. 97.

Publishers Weekly, April 23, 2007, review of Recovering Jesus, p. 46.


Conrad Grebel University College Web site, (October 17, 2007), biographical information about Thomas R. Neufeld.