Meeter Center Launches New Web-based Resource for Reformation and Post-Reformation Studies
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (October 31, 2009) -- A newly-available research
tool, sponsored by the H. Henry Meeter Center for Calvin Studies and
the Hekman Library at Calvin College and Seminary, promises to aid the
work of scholars from around the world. The Post-Reformation Digital
Library (PRDL) is a select bibliography of primary source documents
focusing on early modern theology and philosophy, spanning
publicly-accessible collections from major research libraries,
independent scholarly initiatives, and corporate documentation
The core of the PRDL project involves the organization of thousands of
documents available in digital form from sources including Google
Books and the Internet Archive. Also included are the offerings of
select libraries from Europe and North America, which are beginning to
make digitized forms of their holdings available to the public. The
project covers the work of hundreds of authors from a wide variety of
theological, philosophical, and ecclesiastical traditions, from
figures like John Calvin and Martin Luther to the Jesuit Robert
Bellarmine (1542-1621) and Jacob Arminius (1560-1609).
According to David Sytsma, moderator of the PRDL editorial board, the
current availability of a vast array of materials is unprecedented in
academic history. "The opportunity presented by this kind of digital
access is matched by the challenge to the individual researcher to
deal responsibly and comprehensively with a broad cross-section of
source material," observes Sytsma, a doctoral student in historical
theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. "The PRDL is one way to
help ensure that the reach of technical digitalization does not exceed
the grasp of the scholar," he says.
The first stage of the PRDL project involved the collaboration of
dozens of scholars from around the world on a privately editable
website, or wiki. Once a standard level of comprehensiveness was
achieved, the wiki was transitioned to a publicly available
bibliography hosted by the Meeter Center. The site will continue to be
updated and users will be able to suggest revisions via interactive
Dr. Richard A. Muller, P. J. Zondervan Professor of Historical
Theology at Calvin Seminary and current chair of the Meeter Center
Governing Board, notes the potential of the PRDL to advance research
in a variety of disciplines. "The Post-Reformation Digital Library
will be a boon to both students and professional researchers alike,"
he says. Muller also serves as a member of the PRDL editorial board,
as does Lugene Schemper, theological librarian at Calvin College and
Seminary, who oversaw the migration of the resource to Hekman
Library's LibGuides system.
Members of the PRDL editorial board represent institutions from across
North America and Europe. In addition to Muller and Schemper, the PRDL
editorial board includes: Jordan J. Ballor (University of
Zurich/Calvin Theological Seminary); Albert Gootjes (Calvin
Theological Seminary/Institut d'histoire de la RÃ©formation, Geneva);
Todd Rester (Calvin Theological Seminary); and moderator David Sytsma
(Princeton Theological Seminary).
Schemper led a roundtable discussion of the PRDL and other digital
research tools at the Fall meeting of the Chicago Area Theological
Library Association earlier this month. Board members Jordan J.
Ballor, David Sytsma, and Todd Rester are scheduled to present on the
PRDL at a "New Technologies" session at next year's annual meeting of
the Renaissance Society of America, to be held in Venice, Italy (April
Contact Jordan J. Ballor at (616) 617-7669 or
[email protected] for more information.
About the Meeter Center:
The H. Henry Meeter Center for Calvin Studies is a research center
specializing in John Calvin and Calvinism that opened in 1981 and is
located at Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand
Rapids, Michigan, USA.