December 30, 2013
Farewell, Jim Hoover
Jim Hoover has given us the sad news (for us) but the good news (for him) that December 31, 2013, will officially be his last day at IVP. I could try to measure the contribution Jim has made in number of books edited or pages published in his more than thirty-five years with IVP, but that would be wholly inadequate. He has been a work horse, but much more. He has been our sheet anchor of wisdom as we have faced innumerable decisions and quandaries over the years.
Before joining IVP Jim earned a masters in mathematics and an M.Div. from Gordon Conwell, as well as working with InterVarsity's campus ministry for eight years. The very first book Jim worked on as an editor at IVP (Dynamics of Spiritual Life by Richard Lovelace) is still in print (which is more than I can say for the first book I edited). That is a paradigm of Jim's work with us--enduringly helpful and full of lasting insight.
When Jim began work on Dynamics, he had just had Lovelace as a professor at Gordon-Conwell, using a mimeographed version of the manuscript as the course text. So he knew the author and his work well. Hoover especially appreciated the irony of the role reversal this provided. The student was now instructing the teacher--a reversal that Lovelace graciously and gratefully accepted.
Shortly after Jim arrived at our offices in the late seventies, he also picked out from the slush pile a manuscript by an unknown Presbyterian pastor in Maryland. Later we discovered it had been turned down by twenty publishers before it arrived at IVP. Jim wasn't very far into the book before he was in the hallway, grabbing whoever might pass by, and, manuscript in hand, saying, "Listen to this . . ." and proceeded to read them a section. It was so good and so clean, he thought it was virtually ready to go straight to typesetting without any need for copyediting. A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson became the book which put Peterson on the publishing map as an author of substance.
Jim has most recently been IVP's associate editorial director and senior editor for IVP Academic. Since 1999 he has served as in-house editor in the area of patristic studies, overseeing editorial work on the 29-volume Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (ACCS), the 5-volume Ancient Christian Doctrine series and the 15-volume Ancient Christian Texts series.
Tom Oden, general editor of the ACCS and author of many books with several premier publishers recently wrote,
The most exacting and substantively helpful editor I have had over the years has been James Hoover of IVP, who shepherded through to publication not only the twenty-nine volumes of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, but also its translation into seven languages, and its derivative projects. As my editor for the three books of the African trilogy (How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind, The African Memory of Mark, and Early Libyan Christianity), Hoover worked patiently through many drafts to bring all of these to a fitting presentation.
Just a few of the hundreds of books he has shepherded through the editorial process include:
Fabricating Jesus by Criag Evans
In the last couple years Jim has focused his attention almost exclusively on the Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity--a massive three-volume work which we are
As Jim concentrated on the Encyclopedia in the last couple years, I sorely missed his perspective at publishing meetings and in navigating through new challenges. He has shaped our publishing program, both general and academic, as much as anyone.
Along with Jim's letter of resignation, he wrote me, "I still remember coming for my interview and sitting in your office, looking over your shoulder to find out just what it was that an editor did. I hope I learned!" I'm sure I've learned more from him over the years than vice versa.