Thiessen, Elmer John 1942-

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THIESSEN, Elmer John 1942-

PERSONAL: Born January 18, 1942, in Wymark, Saskatchewan, Canada; son of John J. (a teacher) and Justina (a homemaker; maiden name, Siemens) Thiessen; married Mary Magdalene Friesen (a teacher), October 8, 1967; children: Audrey, Andrew, Gregory. Ethnicity: "German." Education: Mennonite Brethren Bible College and College of Arts, B.Th., 1963; University of Saskatchewan, B.A. (with distinction; physics), 1965, B.A. (with high honors; philosophy), 1966; graduate study at University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, 1967-68; McMaster University, M.A., 1968; University of Waterloo, Ph.D., 1980. Politics: Conservative. Religion: Mennonite. Hobbies and other interests: Hiking, piano, classical music.

ADDRESSES: Home—1412 26th St. S.E., Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada T1A 2G2. Offıce—Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Medicine Hat College, 299 College Dr. S.E., Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada T1A 3Y6; fax: 403-504-3520. E-mail— [email protected].

CAREER: Waterloo Lutheran University (now Wilfrid Laurier University), sessional lecturer in philosophy, 1968-70; Medicine Hat College, Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, teacher of philosophy, 1971—. University of Lethbridge, lecturer, 1977; University of Calgary, researcher, 1981-82; University of Prince Edward Island, member of summer faculty, 1985; Oxford University, visitor at Mansfield College, 1985-86; lecturer at Lithuania Christian College and Stapleford House Education Centre, Nottingham, England, 1993-94; University of Toronto, visiting scholar at Centre for the Study of Religion, 2000-01; University of Victoria, visiting research fellow, 2000-01; guest lecturer at other institutions, including University of Klaipeda, North American Baptist College and Seminary, and Trinity Western University. Palliser Health Authority, member of ethics committee, 1998—; Concord College, past board member; also affiliated with Mennonite Brethren Conference and Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship.

MEMBER: Canadian Philosophical Association, Canadian Society for the Study of Education, Canadian Association of Foundations of Education, Canadian Society for the Study of Religion, Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain.

AWARDS, HONORS: Fellow in Germany, Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst; grant from Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 1989-90.


(With Harold G. Coward) Humanities in Alberta Post-Secondary Technical-Vocational Education, University of Calgary Press (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), 1985.

Teaching for Commitment: Liberal Education, Indoctrination, and Christian Nurture, McGill-Queen's University Press (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1993.

In Defence of Religious Schools and Colleges, McGill-Queen's University Press (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 2001.

Contributor to books, including Family Choice in Schooling: Issues and Dilemmas, edited by Michael E. Manley-Casimir, Lexington Books (Lexington, MA), 1982; Christian Perspectives for Education, edited by Leslie J. Francis and Adrian Thatcher, Fowler Wright Books (Leominster, England), 1990; Christian Perspectives on Church Schools, edited by Leslie J. Francis and David Lankshear, Fowler Wright Books (Leominster, England), 1993; The Contours of Christian Education, edited by J. Astley and David Day, McCrimmons Publishers (Great Wakering, Essex, England), 1992; and Agenda for Educational Change, edited by John Shortt and Trevor Cooling, Apollos (Leicester, England), 1997. Columnist, Mennonite Brethren Herald, 1980-82. Contributor of articles and reviews to periodicals, including Journal of Philosophy of Education, Journal of Educational Thought, Interchange, Studies in Religion, Canadian Journal of Education, Focus, Paideusis, and Salt. Editor of special issue, Ethics in Education, 1990; member of editorial board, Journal of Beliefs and Values, 1996—.

WORK IN PROGRESS: The Ethics of Proselytizing; Biblical Perspectives on the Ethics of Evangelism.

SIDELIGHTS: Elmer John Thiessen told CA: "My first going into philosophy was motivated by the need to check out whether my Christian faith could withstand rigorous and critical thought. My writing has been an attempt to integrate the faith of Athens with the faith of Jerusalem. Much of my earlier writing is in the philosophy of education, where I was looking for topics that blended my interests in epistemology, ethics, and religion; hence, a book on indoctrination and another on religious schools and colleges. I have now moved on to my first academic love—the philosophy of religion—and am exploring the ethics of proselytizing. In each case, I have been doing a kind of 'apologetics'—a defense of the Christian faith."



First Things, April, 2002, Charles L. Glenn, review of In Defence of Religious Schools and Colleges, p. 57.


Medicine Hat College Web site, (October 28, 2004), "Elmer John Thiessen."