Shepherds, Servants and Prophets: Leadership Among the Russian Mennonites, Edited by Harry Loewen
2003. 446 pp. ISBN 1-894710-35-5.
Edited by Harry Loewen.
This volume presents twenty-four short biographies of some of the spiritual, intellectual and cultural Russian-Mennonite leaders who sought to serve and guide their people through difficult times. The period from 1880 to 1960 was chosen because it was during this time that Russian Mennonites experienced the most revolutionary changes in their history: great intellectual, cultural and material strides, World War I and the Communist Revolution, the collapse of their "Mennonite Commonwealth," the Stalinist Terror, emigration, their suffering during World War II, and their resettlement in new countries. The authors of the biographies were asked to briefly summarize the leaders' lives, discuss their significant world and writing, and evaluate their contribution to Mennonite society and beyond. The biographies were to be objective, even critical, accounts, not stories of "perfect" leaders, although some writers found it easy to acknowledge the great contribution their subjects had made in serving their people in the period under discussion.
"This substantial book consists of twenty-four biographical sketches by various authors, all seasoned scholars, on Russian Mennonite male leaders in the spiritual, intellectual and cultural spheres. The deft introduction by Harry Loewen briefly describes the historical context of a significant transformation from a more isolated, primarily agricultural, ethno-religious society led by conservative lay ministers to a complex society of higher education, industrial development, religious conflict, and vast disparities of wealth."
- David J. Rempel Smucker in the Mennonite Quarterly Review
Professor Emeritus Harry Loewen taught German studies at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, and Mennonite studies at the University of Winnipeg. He also taught at Mennonite Brethren Bible College and Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute in Winnipeg. He is the author and editor of a dozen books and numerous articles in German and Mennonite history and literature and the founding editor of the Journal of Mennonite Studies.