Thursday, September 14, 2017

Where are they now? New Testament text-critics’ libraries

Eb. Nestle’s library (photo credit)
Occasionally, one buys a book on Amazon or at a used book store and discovers with delight that it was owned by a famous scholar from times past. When I was at Tyndale I managed to get a copy formerly owned by F. F. Bruce, many of which float around the stacks there.

Much better than a one-off copy, however, is to discover a past scholar’s entire library. Aside from the insight this can give of a scholar’s interests and abilities (for example), there are often many hidden gems to be found either in correspondences, in the margins of the books, or simply in the books themselves if they are rare.

To further this benefit, I thought it might be worth trying to compile a list of New Testament textual critics’ libraries. Here is what I have come up with so far, with the help of a few of my fellow bloggers. I would like to add to this, so if you know of any corrections or additions, please let me know.
  • Richard Bentley – Trinity College CB (per P. M. Head)
  • J. J. Wettstein – scattered across Europe (see Jan Krans here)
  • S. P. Tregelles ­– papers and correspondence at various British libraries (see here)
  • C. von Tischendorf University of Glasgow
  • B. F. Westcott – Some at Westcott House (Cambridge), some with Bible Society in the CUL. A PDF catalogue from the British National Archives is here
  • F. J. A. Hort – Sold at auction. See here. PMH mentions Hort’s books here. Stephen Neill (Interpretation, 66 n. 1) says that Hort’s copy of Mill ended up with Archdeacon Naylor of Montreal.
  • Hermann Hoskier – some books at Duke Divinity School Library
  • Caspar René Gregory – papers at Harvard Divinity School (see here)
  • Eberhard Nestle – Sold to Cambridge after 1913, now with the Van Kampen collection at the Scriptorium; papers, letters, and other memorobilia of Eberhard and Erwin are at FTH Giessen (see here)
  • Kirsopp and Silva Lake – ?
  • J. Rendel Harris – Woodbrooke Study Center in Birmingham, UK (see PDF here) and some at University of Birmingham library
  • E. C. Colwell – Library sold by his son (per Maurice Robinson)
  • Kenneth W. Clark – Duke Divinity School Library, mixed among the main collection
  • Kurt and Barbara Aland – First part (up to 1959) of Kurt’s is held at Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg (info) and the second part (1959–1994) is at the Archive of the University of Münster available now with the family’s permission and to the public starting in 2030. Barbara’s library is still being used.
  • Neville Birdsall – University of Birmingham (info)
  • Bruce M. Metzger – Sold on the internet if my memory is right
  • Gordon Fee – New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (info)
  • Jacob Geerlings – CSNTM (see here)
  • Eldon J. Epp – Baylor University (see here)


  1. Glasgow seems right for Tischendorf:

  2. Wever's library is at Trinity Western University.

    Though some of his volumes that were library duplicates ended up on TWU library's book sale--I picked up Wever's copy of BDB for a toonie.

  3. Edgar J. Goodspeed

  4. Many of J. Rendel Harris's papers are at the Woodbrooke Study Center in Birmingham, UK.
    Also some at the University of Birmingham.

  5. Thanks, all. Jeff, the Goodspeed collection is ancient material isn't it?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. This may not be directly relevant to NT text criticism, but Duke U. bought some scholars' libraries during, more of less, the depression, when tobacco money was still flush. These included those of Christian history scholar Karl Holl (1866-1927), editor of Epiphanius etc., and Hebrew Bible scholar Wolf (W. F. von) Baudissin (1847-1927). Stretching the topic even more, Morton Smith's books and some papers are at Jewish Theological Seminary in NY; in the archive is something that paleographers who studied Smith's Greek marginalia handwriting seem to have missed: his super neat 1958 fair copy of the "Letter to Theodore," on which he wrote "manufactured in the United States." Going even further afield, if Smith wrote that letter partly to show it to Gershom Scholem--possibly the first person to whom he showed it--Scholem's library and papers are at Hebrew U. Scholem had little interest in NT, despite Smith trying to parallel Jesus with Sabbetai Sevi, and--more surprisingly--little interest in Dead Sea Scrolls (though Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifices, sadly, was not published before his death). "I do not propose to dwell on this controversy [Minim as gnostics or Jewish-Christians] which, like the voluminous literature on the subject of the Essenes, has become the happy hunting-ground of those who delight in hypotheses."

  7. Peter, this informatiom could go into the resource page. What do you think?

  8. W.D. (William David) Davies' library was, I think, bought by Wake Forest U.

  9. This is becoming more helpful, thanks.

  10. For Hort's library: Catalogue of the Valuable Library of Books Consisting of Theological, Classical, Philosophical & Liturgical Literature. To be Sold ... by John Swan & Son ... on Wednesday & Thursday, May 17 & 18, 1893 ... By Direction of the Executors of F.J.A. Hort


    1. Thanks, Pete. That's the book I have personal photos of. But, for whatever reason, I could not find the UL entry for it when I put this post together last week.

  12. I just came across the fact that the papers of A.C. Clark are in Oxford. Granted, papers ≠ personal library, but it's worth noting:

  13. Where are they now, Erasmus' books? See:
    Erasmus and his books / Egbertus van Gulik ; translated [from the Dutch] by J.C. Grayson ; edited by James K. McConica and Johannes Trapman. - Toronto ; Buffalo ; London : University of Toronto Press, 2017. - (Erasmus studies)

    ehy now