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.



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 . . .”

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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
Images of Salvation in the New Testament by Brenda Colijn
Letters and Homilies for Jewish Christians by Ben Witherington III
The Community of the King by Howard Snyder
The God Conversation by J. P. Moreland and Tim Muehlhoff
Why Good Arguments Often Fail by James W. Sire

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
translating into English from the original Italian. With the landmark publication of that unparalleled reference work due to be published in March 2014, Jim will be ready to lay down his editorial pen.

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.

Author: Andy Le Peau

I've been an editor and writer for over forty years. I am passionate about ideas and how we can express them clearly, beautifully, and persuasively. I love reading good books, talking about them, and recommending them. I thoroughly enjoy my family who help me continue on the path of a lifelong learner.

11 thoughts on “Farewell, Jim Hoover”

  1. Wonderful tribute to a fine editor, colleague and teacher. I am glad you went on that sabbatical 26 years ago so that Jim could hire me!

  2. Yes, I remember coming back from sabbatical and talking to someone who said, “Oh, Cindy will do that,” to which I responded, “Who’s Cindy?”

  3. So thankful for Jim and his seemingly limitless knowledge and wisdom! I’m glad our time at IVP overlapped, Jim, and I can’t wait to hear all about the new, exciting things you fill your time with.

  4. Kudos, Jim!! A legacy greatly to be admired and from which we can learn for years to come! Happy retirement!

  5. In 1982 Jim Sire added me to his editorial team, tossed me a ms, and told me to edit it.


    Fortunately, Jim Hoover was just down the hall. “Help!” I said, and Jim H. did, with patience and good cheer. More than 30 years later, I’m still grateful.

  6. Jim Hoover and LaVonne Neff got me started as a published author in 1982, and I will always be grateful to both of them. Well done, Jim (and Andy!). All the best in retirement, and may IV Press find more like you!

  7. God bless Jim Hoover! During my tenure as an academic editor at IVP, Jim was a wise mentor, an exacting senior editor, a marvelous colleague, and a great friend. I can’t imagine IVP without him.

  8. In a business that could lead to an approach marked by depersonalization and utilitarian relationships, Jim Hoover was always glad to see you, even if he didn’t “need” you. To me, Jim is the standard and the personification of godliness in publishing. Congratulations, Jim, on a well-deserved retirement. May God’s richest blessings be on you and yours. I will miss seeing you around.

  9. I have known Jim since we went to high school together, and have always admired his prodigious intellectual capacity, and his kind and gentle heart. Congratulations, Jim; you have labored long and with distinction. I think I hear someone saying, “well done. good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Master.”

  10. Jim was such an affirming, empowering, gracious boss when I was manuscript editor at IVP. His work was always so polished and reasoned. Thank you, Jim, for giving IVP these 35 years of service.

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