A time of sabbatical study is rarely available for a working bishop. I had such a time for four months at the end of 2009 and used the Princeton Seminary libraries while I was a scholar at the Center of Theological Inquiry. The library at Princeton is one of the very best I have used in terms of depth, range, and accessibility. It is truly a resource for the church in the world and I wholeheartedly support the project to extend it and make it even more accessible.
— The Right Reverend N.T. Wright, Bishop of Durham, England
I am constantly amazed to discover what we have at the Seminary library—even books that we cannot find elsewhere and books outside the field of Christian theology. Our collection is certainly as broad and deep as any theological library that I have used in the United States and Europe.
— Choon-Leong Seow, Henry Snyder Gehman Professor of Old Testament Language and Literature, Princeton Theological Seminary
The astonishing breadth and depth of the Seminary’s library collection amazed me when I arrived on campus as a new teacher some forty years ago, and I continue to marvel at the privilege of working with these ever expanding resources and our gifted library staff. As Director of the Seminary’s Ph.D. program for over two decades, I heard again and again from prospective doctoral students in all fields that the excellence of our library was second only to the excellence of our faculty in their reasons for wanting to study here. Not just prospective students, but scholars from across the globe are drawn to our collection, and we all are enriched by their presence among us. Our new building will provide an even more welcoming space for learning, and its flexible preparedness for future technologies will enable the Seminary to expand its historic service to the global church. I hope you will join me as you are able in generous support of the Bicentennial Campaign.
— Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, William Albright Eisenberger Professor of Old Testament Literature and Exegesis, Princeton Theological Seminary
Rare books can hold remarkable discoveries. In the 1990s, I was preparing a facsimile reprint of the first printing of the Gloss ordinaria, the standard Bible commentary used from the twelfth through the sixteenth century. I’d seen copies of this precious work in European libraries when I discovered that Special Collections at the Seminary had a copy formerly owned by Vitus Priefer (1560–1632) of Eichstätt in Bavaria, and Princeton University’s library held another. One feature of the Seminary’s copy struck me immediately: The lower margin of the unusually long first sheet had a finely executed coat-of-arms and was folded over. I’ve
not seen that before. Comparing the Seminary’s copy with the one in Princeton University’s library alerted me to a remarkable fact never before noted: the printer had repeated the (manual) typesetting of the entire first volume at least once—probably when the first run had been sold out and there was still demand for more copies
—Karlfried Froehlich, B.B. Warfield Professor of Ecclesiastical History Emeritus, Princeton Theological Seminar
One of the things I cherish about the library’s collection for both teaching and for research is the access it provides to a wealth of resources for interpreting scripture. In my teaching, I love to expose students to the variety of biblical interpretation, both historical and contemporary, so they can see how context, including their own, affects interpretation. Moreover, they can also see how profound readings of scripture come from diverse contexts—whether it is the 11th-century Jewish scholar Rashi’s exquisite reading of the Tower of Babel, or a group of low-income women in Botswana who are empowered to cooperative action by the story of the women in Exodus 2. The library is an unparalleled treasure for anyone who considers herself a student of scripture.
— Jacqueline Lapsley, associate professor of Old Testament, Princeton Theological Seminary
PTS library Special Collections has been extremely helpful for my research on Latin American Christianities. Since the presidency of John Alexander Mackay, it has been a repository of a splendid diversity of Latin American ecclesiastical and theological materials. In this specific academic area, it is unique in the entire community of American theological libraries, an exceptional source for scholarly explorations in a field that has been a preferential object of study at Princeton Theological Seminary.
— Luis Rivera-Pagán, Henry Winters Luce Professor of Ecumenics and Mission Emeritus, Princeton Theological Seminary
Speer Library is one of the best libraries in the world for theology and adjacent fields. The resources of books, journals, and other tools available seem to be unlimited. Friendly librarians of high expertise are around if you need help. Whenever I stay in Princeton a visit at Speer Library is a must. If I were to choose where to spend the rest of my life I would go with Speer library. Beyond Eden a truly existing paradise for scholars.
— Professor Dr. h.c. Hermann Spieckermann, Old Testament, Georg-August-University, Goettingen, Germany
One reason we attract superior students and visiting scholars from around the globe is our library. It is a magnet. One can settle in here as a scholar or a serious student of Christianity. I particularly revel in the electronic resources that we have. I go to the library almost daily, even though I may not be physically in its buildings. It is essential that our resources remain world class to support the quality of research and teaching that we require. Although electronic access to information will remain salient in the future, we also need the printed page. Holding a book in one’s hand brings the power of the written word to fruition in a way that the screen cannot. Our resources deserve and require accommodation that invites the intellectually aroused to enter the presence of the great minds who have created history and who shape our present world. Each time I walk the shelves I sigh at how little of their riches I will be able to taste. I am indeed fortunate to live but one block from the library so that I can fetch books at a moment’s notice for my research. They need to be physically protected and graciously accessible. I have pledged what I can to the Bicentennial campaign. I do hope that you will also.
—Ellen T. Charry , Margaret W. Harmon Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary
Two anecdotes prove my long-held suspicion that the PTS’ libraries are exceptional. From 1962 to 1984 I was at Duke University and repeatedly found that a book I needed to study before completing a publication on Christian origins was housed at PTS. The book was sent to me within one week. In January of 2006, I was studying and lecturing in Jerusalem but had previously arranged for a leading scholar in the Hebrew University (Jerusalem’s elite university) to study some publications only available here in our libraries. He left me a note: “Jim, you need not work so hard in Jerusalem. I found incredible riches here in your library.”
— James H. Charlesworth, George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature, and Director and Editor of the PTS Dead Sea Scrolls Project, Princeton Theological Seminary
As a pastor, your tools are your books, not just those you own, but those to which you have access. With the visionary new project, amazing seminary tools will be made available to a missionary in the field, a partner congregation half-way around the world, a pastor in Alaska, a local church member wanting to go deeper, a professor looking for a rare find, a seeker of the living God, and you and me.
— The Reverend Alf Halvorson, PTS Class of 1990, Pastor and Head of Staff of the First Presbyterian Church in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
“From pamphlets and printed materials from some of the most remote areas where Ameridian and Afro-based languages are spoken to the most recent academic and church publications in the colonial languages of Spanish and Portuguese, the PTS library gives the user a window into the history, life, and character of religions, and particularly Latin American and Caribbean Christianities. A unique treasure to be explored and used!”
— Carlos Cardoza-Orlandi, PTS Class of 1990, professor of global Christianities and mission studies, Perkins School of Theology