Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research

PRDL now has a new home: the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research, a newly formed host institution that develops and funds digital research projects focusing on theology and philosophy in the early modern period.  JI is developing digitization projects with a variety of American and international institutions. For more info on this exciting development, check out the new website here and the press release here.

The Junius Institute seeks to further the advancement of studies in early modern (ca. 16th to 18th century) theology and interconnected disciplines through the use and development of digital research tools, skills, and sources, foster the presentation, preservation, and public use of primary and secondary sources within the public domain, and to encourage via educational and curricular means the study of the documents themselves, their content, as well as the technical skills required to interpret and analyze these materials.

A.N.S. Lane: “Justification by Works in Reformation Theology”

This promises to be a stimulating presentation  by a master in the field on one  lesser well-known strand of  Protestant thought at the Meeter Center for Calvin Studies:

“Justification by Works in Reformation Theology”

given by Dr. Anthony N.S. Lane, Professor of Historical Theology at the London School of Theology

The popular understanding is that the Roman Catholic Church taught justification by works, to which the Reformers responded with justification by faith alone. The reality is far more nuanced. Leaving aside the fact that the Council of Trent taught a sort of justification by faith, the Reformers were less negative about works than the traditional formula implies. They held to the justification of our works, they held that works are necessary for salvation and in one sense they even taught justification by works. The lecture will explore this less well known side of Reformation theology.

The lecture will take place at 3:30 PM on Thursday April 11, 2013, in the DeVos Auditorium (175S) at Calvin Theological Seminary. All are welcome and refreshments will be served.

Power of Faith – 450 Years of the Heidelberg Catechism


On March 7, 2013 a newly minted German version of this work, Macht des Glaubens was presented to Dr. Manfred Lautenschläger and Dr. Joachim Gerner at the Kurpfälzischen Museum by one of the editors, Ms. Karla Apperloo-Boersma. V&R and Refo500 were kind enough to forward a copy on to its contributors and translators; I received my copy yesterday from the Netherlands while snow-blowing a few inches off my driveway this afternoon in blustery, cold Michigan. The commemorative book is a dense cornucopia of articles on the Heidelberg Catechism, its history, and its impact. There are attractive color photos of artifacts and art on every page of the book. The work is divided into three sections: Papers (addressing  its history and theology, its role in the Palatinate, and its role in the Netherlands), the exhibition at the Kurpfälzischen Museum Macht des Glaubens, and the exhibition at Paleis Het Loo Nationaal Museum Oranje en Religie. For the amount of material in the work, it is quite reasonably priced and is available via online booksellers (amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, etc.). It was a privilege to be a part of such a broad collaborative effort for a commemorative volume.

The articles are from an interdisciplinary array of  international scholars: Herman Selderhuis, Lyle Bierma, Irene Dingel, August den Hollander, Peter Opitz, Michael Haykin and Steve Weaver, Frank Engehausen, Christoph Strohm, Johannes Ehmann, Klaus Winkler, Frieder Hepp, Eike Wolgast, Barbara Mahlmann-Bauer, Arie Baars, Wim Verboom, Johan ter Molen, and Paul Rem.

Refo500 had press releases announcing its release in German and English.

Bibliotheca Calcographia via MATEO

The University of Mannheim, Germany maintains MATEO (MAnnheimer TExte Online). MATEO has Jean-Jacques Boissard’s 9 part Bibliotheca Calcographia, which is a 17th century who’s who photo album with a brief biography. The MATEO site has also done a favor for you by alphabetizing all 9 volumes of images (the alphabet bar) as well as present them in the same order as the original 9 volumes.

The Digitaler Portraitindex is also another great portrait resource, passed along to me by David Sytsma (congrats on the successful doctoral defense!) With the DPI you do need to check with the copyright holder for image usage details, some are covered under Creative Commons licenses others are more restricted according to the holding institution.

The Band Macro Lens … for your phone

So, you happen to be in an archive and forgot your camera. Well, rather than bemoaning the low quality of a cell phone lens, this might actually provide a little help in a pinch. It’s a relatively low tech solution for under $30. Unfortunately, it is sold out until January, but this is a great idea for a quick (and literal) photo copy. Now as with all macro lenses, stability is the key, so hold your breath and give it a try.

1633 “Textus Receptus” Greek NT

If you are interested in the Greek edition of the New Testament which coined the phrase “Textus Receptus“, you will want to download this. Abraham Elzevir in the course of his brief introduction regarding this edition of the Greek NT remarked “Textum ergo habes, nunc ab omnibus receptum: in quo nihil immutatum aut corruptam damus” (Therefore you have the text, now received by all: in which we publish nothing that is altered or corrupted). This phrase Textus Receptus now refers to more than simply the 1633 edition, frequently being applied to editions by Erasmus, Stephanus, Elzevir, and others throughout the 16th and 17th centuries that provide critical recensions of the Byzantine Text type or what is known as the Majority Text. I will leave it for others to debate and decide whether Elzevir was referring to the Byzantine Text type and Majority Text tradition or simply what he had in hand either way:

You now have the text received by all as the quitessential 1633 NT “Textus Receptus” edition. Enjoy.

By the way, this particular digital edition is in reverse order for some strange reason, and also, for those of you interested in digital paleography, a handwritten letter in Greek on the flyleaves, presumably by the owner.

Refo500 & RefoRC

Dr. Herman Selderhuis and Karla Apperloo of Refo500 interviewed Dr. Jordan Ballor (designatus) and myself at the Sixteenth Century Society & Conference in Fort Worth recently. Both Jordan and I had opportunity to present at the RefoRC conference in Zurich (June 2011). You can hear our thoughts on the opportunities through Refo500 & the research consortium, RefoRC, below. Also, the next RefoRC conference will be hosted by the University of Oslo, Faculty of Theology in May 2012. Jordan and I are also slated to speak at that conference as well.

Reformed Autographa

A rare book dealer friend of mine shared a few letters with me the other day, and I thought I would pass on the signatures of Theodore Beza and Jerome Zanchi. Enjoy!

16th c. Latin Paleography

Just a notice about a two week intensive course in 16th century Latin Paleography that I will be teaching at the H. H. Meeter Center for Calvin Studies during June 2012. This is particularly for scholars who work (or want to work) with early modern Latin manuscripts. Please note that the level of Latin literacy required is moderate to advanced. Space is limited so apply early. All the relevant information can be found here.

PRDL 2.0

On Reformation Day, I am happy to announce that the second version of Post-Reformation Digital Library is now open to the public. The official press release is here. David Sytsma, Jordan Ballor, myself (Todd Rester), and Dr. Amy Burnett participated in a round table discussion moderated by Dr. Karin Maag, director of the Meeter Center for Calvin Studies at the Sixteenth Century Society & Conference this past week. This discussion marked the official debut of PRDL 2.0 to the scholarly community and general public. This site is still affiliated with the Meeter Center for Calvin Studies at Hekman Library and can be accessed through their site as well.

This second version has been under construction since the spring of 2010 and now has over 34,000 volumes (a count which includes multiple editions of a title) and approximately 23,000 titles from over 1,900 authors. Another crucial aspect of PRDL 2.0 is the addition of an advisory board composed of internationally renowned scholars and specialists in a variety of early modern religious traditions (Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed, Anabaptist, Arminian, Socinian, etc.) and philosophical specialties. The addition of a database search function also allows queries of the finding list based on author, titles, year, edition, language, topic, tradition, printer, and publication city as well as any other key word. This is a great advance to the previous html based PRDL 1.0.

We have also linked the works in PRDL to the records in the WorldCat database so that our users might have the full title. One of the challenges facing a finding list like this is that the titles in various other databases are not uniform. This is one of the points that we are constantly improving. Another important aspect is the ability for users to comment and suggest changes. We have been working hard to find a way to easily moderate suggested changes and alterations to existing records. This database is only as useful and accurate as the involvement of the scholarly community makes it. So far we have been greatly encouraged by the many scholars and friends of the project that have so graciously offered their advice and input. So please communicate your thoughts with us about a particular work or author through the comment function. If you have a more specific or even more general question please e-mail the executive board. We will try to respond in a timely fashion.

There are many more features and functions that could be described, but I encourage you to take a peek and add it to your web bookmarks. WWW.PRDL.ORG