Entries for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Power of Faith – 450 Years of the Heidelberg Catechism

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013


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.

Refo500 & RefoRC

Monday, November 7th, 2011

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

Friday, November 4th, 2011

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!

Google Books: The New Rare e-Book Seller?

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

For those of us in the humanities, theology, philosophy, and other such fields heavily reliant on rare books, I have to say I just read this in the Wall Street Journal (and this, this, and this) regarding Google Books new business plan and swallowed hard. Dare I dream that this will affect only copyrighted books? I am a little skeptical, but here’s hoping judiciaries internationally allow public domain content to remain public domain even online. Google does have to settle the copyright/public domain/institutional/international patrimony issues surrounding the rare books they have scanned to date before they could sell them I suppose. Of course, technically they are Google’s images, but I hope that for educational purposes they will remain open. I was comforted just a little to read from this blog, “For now, Google Editions will only allow users to read in-print books, since Google can’t yet distribute out-of-print books.” I also have to wonder where the DOJ will take this issue given their Feb 5 stance against Google.

… for some reason, I have a sudden urge to download like mad …

ADDENDUM: It appears it may be that as usual we are dependent on Google’s generosity, as the issue of selling out of print books is out of print copyrighted books. However, one of Google’s product manager posted this 9 months ago. Hmm. … still downloading.


Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

This Swiss digitization project has made quite a splash in the last week or so. If you are interested in rare 16th century works published in Switzerland, you really must check out www.e-rara.ch. This represents a digitization project among the following Swiss institutions at the moment: the Bibliothèque de Genève, ETH-Library Zürich, Basel University Library, University of Bern, and the Zürich Central Library. The images of rare works are publicly available for free, in high quality, for download in PDF, and the site is multi-lingual. At the moment there are well over 800 works ranging from16th – 19th c. works, but the project leader at ETH-Bibliothek Zürich, Dr. Franziska Geisser, states that more than 10k works should be available by the end of 2011. That’s about 2.5 million pages of rare Swiss books! The original announcements were posted on the E-lib.ch blog  in French and German, for a news article from a Zürich news outlet (NZZ) try here.

In addition to the normal search options, it is possible to search by publisher. This is quite a helpful feature when tracking down rare editions in a certain time frame. Overall, the site is exceptionally well done and easy to use. Enjoy! I have found such treasures as Sadoleto’s 1540 letter to the council of Geneva, Calvin’s 1547 comments on the Council of Trent, Calvin’s 1550 Institutio, Bullinger’s 1532 commentary on Hebrews, Daneau’s Ethices Christianae (1582), and Zwingli’s 1530 De Vera et Falsa Religione.

I must say I would not have known of this site without the reference from a good friend in Geneva and fellow doctoral student. Thanks Albert!

Editions of Petrus van Mastricht’s Theoretico-Practica Theologia

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

This post is just a glimpse into part of the work of a translator of old books, namely finding the relevant editions. So as you can imagine, having finished my coursework in the doctoral program a little over two weeks ago, I now have two things on my plate – studying for comprehensive exams in the Fall and long, uninterrupted stretches of translating Mastricht’s Theoretico-Practica Theologia (hereafter ThPT)For those of you wondering how far along volume one is, I have almost completed the first editing through 100 single-spaced 8.5 x 11 pages of the translation. Having just returned from a research trip to Pittsburgh Theological Seminary’s Barbour Library, I am happy to report that


De Moor and Marckius

Friday, May 15th, 2009

By the way, for those of you interested in theologians propounding such points of Reformed orthodoxy as the covenant of works and the covenant of grace among other things in the 17th and 18th century, these seminary textbooks which were used primarily at Leiden are available on Google Books: 

Johannes Marckius, Christianae theologiae medulla didactico-elenctica (Philadelphia: J. Anderson, 1824) 

Marckius’ work was popular throughout the late 17th century, the copy that I have access to at Calvin Library actually has one page of printed text followed by a page (recto & verso) which is blank for student notes. Marckius points out that he is merely following in the footsteps of Triglandius Sr. and Friedrich Spanheim. Triglandius Sr. succeeded Andre Rivet (of Synopsis Purioris fame) to the chair of theology at Leiden, lecturing on theology, Old Testament exegesis, and cases of conscience, serving in that capacity from 1639-1650. Spanheim was trained at Heidelberg and Geneva from roughtly 1614 thorugh 1621. After a stint as a private tutor he returned to Geneva, served as a professor of philosophy in the university and eventually served in the academy of Geneva (the theology faculty) as its regent. In 1642 he became a professor of theology at Leiden and is noted for his written treatises and disputes with Moise Amyraut. Marckius work then can be seen as a synopsis of a Leiden flavor of Reformed theology. This work was later the subject of a commentary by Bernardinus De Moor that spans 7 volumes, of which a few are available on Google Books as well:

Bernardinus De Moor, Commentarius Perpetuus in Johannes Marckii Compendium Theologiae Christianae Didactico-Elenchticum (Lugduni-Batavorum: Johannes Hasebroek & Joannes Henricus van Damme, 1761- 1772).


Columbia Univ Bibliography for Ancient & Medieval Studies

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Ran across this helpful list today at Columbia University while browsing for online reference tools. While I have access/have copies of many of the more significant of these dictionaries and encyclopedias there were quite a few tools that were new for me at least. By the way, those that are older than a hundred years are quite possibly on Google Books, several are at least.

In Print: A Sketch of the Christian’s Catechism

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

As many of you have noted, I have been away from my blog for a few weeks. What you may not know is why. We are currently facing a life-threatening disease in our extended family which has necessitated about 7200 miles of driving in the last month or so in two trips. Your prayers are needed and appreciated. But now that we have settled into a more “normal” routine again, I did want to take a moment to acknowledge the efforts of so many in bringing one volume of a larger project to print. I have been working on that volume since August of 2007 and it has now been made available for purchase as of two and a half weeks ago. 

After quite a bit of work from quite a few hard-working and wonderful people, the first volume of the Classic Reformed Theology Series is out. For help with procuring original source material, I would like to thank Paul Fields, Lugene Schemper, and the generous staff for the use of the rare book collections at the Meeter Center and the Hekman Library at Calvin Seminary & College. I am also indebted to Dr. Sprunger for generously affording Jay Collier and I the use of his personal microfilm for this project. I am also indebted to the University of Michigan rare book collection for the use of the 1607 Tremellius-Junius-Beza edition of the Bible. For advice on the period as well as suggestions on the finer points of Reformed, scholastic methodology and exegesis, Dr. R. A. Muller has been a voluminous teacher, guide, and friend.  I would like to thank the series editor, Dr. R. Scott Clark, and the copy editor, Martha Fisher, for their invaluable suggestions and advice in bringing this translation to print. I would also like to thank Jay Collier, the director of publishing at Reformation Heritage Books, for his dream of translating and printing this work in the first place, a keen eye, and faithful encouragement throughout this work. It was also a distinct joy to collaborate truly on the introduction with Dr. Joel Beeke. There are also a host of others – most importantly my wife especially, but also family, friends, and colleagues – that steadily and consistently encouraged me in this endeavor. This project has been a rich experience for me both academically and personally. It is a different kind of work than I have ever engaged in – most of one’s days as a translator on a project like this are spent in an academic cloister of sorts in order to bring this about – long days (and nights!) in a windowless office in a library in deep intellectual conversation with the past. The fruits of the labor though are a close examination of not only an author’s thought but also his quirks of expression and, as it were, riches of his theological dialect.

It is my hope that this work would prove useful for not only the academic world of 17th century Puritan studies but also for the Church. In the “learned William Ames” we see all the rigors of his own academic training and scriptural erudition focused on the life well lived before God. It is no wonder then that we find in his exposition of the very first Lord’s Day a unified discussion of the summum bonum and the only sure comfort and consolation in life and death. Just one piece of many evidences that the goal of Ames’ theology is a seamless integration of the life of the mind and of the will, of theory and practice. And after continued exposure to Ames’ thought, writings, and sources, I must say I am the better for it. My hope is that this little work will be studied for its historical significance as a test case of a clear union of learned, Reformed exegesis, Ramist/modified-Aristotelian scholastic method, and a vibrant confessionalism. Beyond the academic studying of it, I hope that it will be reflected upon personally regarding one’s own faith and life.  

FYI: The best (and least expensive) place to purchase this volume is from Reformation Heritage Books here.

The EU version of Google Books

Friday, December 19th, 2008

If you thought Google Books was great for rare book, you should really check out Europeana – the EU consortium of libraries. And yes it supports multi-lingual support. Have fun!

ADDENDUM 12/31/2008: FYI here are the supporters and contributing institutions. The significance is this includes primarily European libraries that Google Books has not approached. And as usual for a database, this is a work in progress, but because of its language support, it does, for example, allow you to search the Bibliotheque Nationale de France in English, as well as other libraries such as Sweden and German institutions.