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Tom Harpur

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Tom Harpur is a Canadian author, broadcaster, columnist and theologian.

Born in Toronto, Ontario in 1929, Harpur earned an Honours B.A. in 1951 at the University College, University of Toronto, where he won the Jarvis Scholarship in Greek and Latin, the Maurice Hutton Scholarship in Classics, the Sir William Mulock Scholarship in Classics, and the Gold Medal in Classics. He went on and studied Lit.Hum. ("Greats" or Classics) at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar from 1951 to 1954. He graduated in 1954 with the B.A and received the M.A. (Oxon.) two years later. Between 1954 and 1956 he studied theology at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, where he was a tutor in Greek. At Wycliffe he won prizes in homiletics and Greek and was the Senior Student and Valedictorian in his graduating year.

Harpur was ordained a priest in the Anglican Church of Canada in 1956. He served as Curate at St. John's York Mills, Toronto in 1956-1957. From 1957 until 1964 he served the parish of St.-Margaret's-in-the-Pines in the Scarborough, Ontario. During this time he lectured on ancient philosophy part time at Wycliffe College. In 1962-1963 he spent a further year at Oriel College, Oxford, doing postgraduate research in Patristics and New Testament.

From 1964 to 1971, Harpur was Assistant Professor and then full Professor of New Testament and New Testament Greek at Wycliffe and from 1984 to 1987 he was part-time lecturer on the Theology and Praxis of Mass Media at the Toronto School of Theology.

Harpur is best known for his work with the Toronto Star where he worked as a journalist for thirty years, twelve of which were as the newspaper's religion editor. Since leaving that position in 1984 he has continued to contribute a regular column on religious and ethical issues. Harpur has also written a number of books on religion and theology, ten of which became Canadian bestsellers and two of which were made into TV series for Vision TV. For a time he had his own TV show, "Harpur's Heaven and Hell," and has hosted a variety of radio and television programs on the topic of religion, particularly on Vision TV. He has over the years been a frequent commentator on religious news events for most of the Canadian networks, especially CBC. In 1996 his bestseller "Life After Death" about NDEs turned in a 10 episodes TV series hosted by the own Harpur. His 2004 book, The Pagan Christ, was named the Canadian non-fiction bestseller of the year by The Toronto Star.

Harpur is a Fellow of the American Religious Public Relations Council, and in 1976 won a State of Israel Silver Medal for Outstanding Journalism. His biography is included in the American Who's Who in Religion, Canadian Who's Who, and Men of Achievement. He belongs to the Canadian Association of Rhodes Scholars and The Writers' Union.


  • Harpur’s Heaven and Hell. Oxford, 1983. ISBN 0-7710-3941-7
  • For Christ’s Sake. Oxford, 1986. ISBN 0-19-540533-1
  • Always on Sunday. Oxford, OUP. 1988 0195406508
  • Prayer Journal Kelowna. B.C. Northstone.
  • Prayer - The Hidden Fire Kelowna, B. C. Northstone.1997 ISBN: 1896836321
  • Would You Believe McClelland and Stewart. (U.S. title: The Thinking Person’s Guide to God, Prima, 1996
  • Harpur vs. Hancock Hantsport, N. S. Lancelot, 1994. ISBN 0889995842
  • The Divine Lover (Lancelot)
  • The God Question (Lancelot)
  • Life After Death McClelland and Stewart. 1991. ISBN: 0771039417
  • God help us Toronto : McClelland & Stewart, 1992 ISBN: 0771039433
  • Communicating the Good News Today (Lancelot)
  • The uncommon touch : an investigation of spiritual healing. Toronto : McClelland & Stewart, c1994. ISBN: 0771039441
  • Harpur vs. Hancock (Tom Harpur, Maxine Hancock). Hantsport, N.S. Lancelot Press, 1994. ISBN: 0889995842
  • The thinking person's guide to God : overcoming the obstacles to belief. Rocklin, Calif. : Prima Pub., 1996. ISBN: 0761507078
  • The Spirituality of Wine (Northstone)2004
  • The Pagan Christ: Recovering the Lost Light. Toronto.Thomas Allen, 2004. ISBN 0-88762-145-7
  • Finding the Still Point - A Spiritual Response to Stress Kelowna. B.C. Northstone, 2005 1896836712
  • Living Waters (Thomas Allen, 2006) ISBN 0-88762-225-9 2006
  • Water Into Wine: An Empowering Vision of the Gospels Thomas Allen, 2007 ISBN 0-88762-277-1

Children's books

  • The Terrible Finn MacCoul Oxford, OUP, 1990. 0195407164.
  • The Mouse that Couldn't Squeak (Oxford)

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