Zeman, Jarold Knox (1926-2000)

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Jarold (Jaroslav) Knox Zeman: scholar of the Anabaptists and Bohemian Brethren, and a Canadian Baptist minister and leader, was born on 27 February 1926 and raised in Semonice near Jaroměř, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic). After World War II he enrolled in Charles University in Prague, first in philosophy and then in theology. In 1948 he received a scholarship to continue his studies at Knox College, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He earned degrees at Charles University and Knox College, and a ThD at the University of Zurich. Zeman married a Canadian wife, Lila (Lillian) Koncicky (27 April 1933-July 2002); they raised a family of one son and three daughters--Tim, Janice, Miriam and Dagmar. Jarold Zeman died in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada on 18 September 2000.

Jarold Zeman was active both in his church and in academia. He served as a Baptist minister in Toronto to his fellow Czech-speaking compatriots for six years as well as in a rural church where he continued his contacts with Czech immigrants. He also provided leadership to the Department of Canadian Missions of the Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec. After receiving his doctorate he assumed the chair of Church History at Acadia Divinity College, Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, where he taught for 23 years.

His doctoral dissertation The Anabaptists and the Czech Brethren in Moravia, 1526-1628: A Study of Origins and Contacts (Hague/Paris, 1968) and his book entitled The Hussite Movement and the Reformation in Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia (1350-1650), a Bibliographical Study Guide (Ann Arbor, 1977) were definitive in their fields. He also published a number of studies concerning the history of Waldensians and the Bohemian Brethren, spearheaded new interest in archival history in the Baptist church, and initiated the publication series Atlantic Baptist Heritage.

In addition to his doctoral dissertation, Zeman's most significant publication for Anabaptist studies included “The Rise of Religious Liberty in the Czech Republic," Central European History 6 (1973), 128-47 and a significant survey of sixteenth-century Anabaptist communities in eastern Europe, "Historical Topography of Moravian Anabaptism," Mennonite Quarterly Review 40 (Oct. 1966), 266-78; 41 (Jan. 1967), 40-78; and 41 (April 1967), 116-60.

His students remember him for his listening ear and caring heart as much as for his gift of teaching and academic expertise. Zeman served as advisor and mentor to many younger scholars who were interested in Czech history. He was awarded honorary degrees by McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario) and Acadia University and received the Comenious medal from his alma mater in Prague.


"Dr. Jarold Zeman, Hon. 1994." Acadia Bulletin 85 (Fall 2000): 16. Web. 30 June 2016. http://openarchive.acadiau.ca/cdm/compoundobject/collection/AAB/id/1886/rec/3.

Klassen, John Martin. "In Memoriam: Jarold K. Zeman, 1926-2000." Mennonite Quarterly Review 76 (July 2000): 259. This GAMEO article is derived, with permission, from the MQR memorial article.

Murray, Taylor. "Preacher, Professor, Prophet: the Life, Ministry, and Thought of Jarold K. Zeman." McMaster Journal of Theology and Ministry 19 (2017/2018): 3-30.

Books by Jarold Knox Zeman

Zeman, Jarold Knox. Historical topography of Moravian baptism. Goshen, Ind. : Mennonite Historical society, [ca.1967].

Zeman, Jarold Knox. The Anabaptists and the Czech Brethren in Moravia 1526-1628. A study of origins and contacts. The Hague, Paris, Mouton, 1969.

Zeman, Jarold Knox. The Hussite movement and the reformation in Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia (1350-1650) : a bibliographical study guide (with particular reference to resources in North America). Ann Arbor : Michigan Slavic Publications, 1977.

Zeman, Jarold Know. Baptist roots and identity. Ontario, Canada : Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec, 1978.

Zeman, Jarold Knox and Walter Klaassen, eds. The Believers' Church in Canada : addresses and papers from the study conference in Winnipeg, May 15-18, 1978. Brantford, Ont. : Baptist Federation of Canada ; Winnipeg : Mennonite Central Committee (Canada), 1979.

Zeman, Jarold Knox, ed. Baptists in Canada : search for identity amidst diversity. Burlington, Ont. : G.R. Welch 1980.

Zeman, Jarold Knox, ed. Costly vision : the Baptist pilgrimage in Canada. Burlington, Ont. : Welch Publishing 1988.

Griffin-Allwood, Philip G.A, George A. Rawlyk and Jarold K. Zeman. Baptists in Canada, 1760-1990 : a bibliography of selected printed resources in English. Hantsport, N.S. : Lancelot Press for Acadia Divinity College and the Baptist Historical Committee of United Baptist Convention of the Atlantic Provinces 1989.

Knox, Jarold Knox. Open doors : Canadian baptists 1950-1990 : popular addresses and articles. Hantsport, N.S. : Published by Lancelot Press for Acadia Divinity College and The Baptist Historical Committee of the United Baptist Convention of the Atlantic Provinces 1992.

Author(s) John Martin Klassen
Date Published June 2016

Cite This Article

MLA style

Klassen, John Martin. "Zeman, Jarold Knox (1926-2000)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 2016. Web. 25 Sep 2020. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Zeman,_Jarold_Knox_(1926-2000)&oldid=161371.

APA style

Klassen, John Martin. (June 2016). Zeman, Jarold Knox (1926-2000). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 September 2020, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Zeman,_Jarold_Knox_(1926-2000)&oldid=161371.

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