A Visit to London’s Evangelical Library

Last Saturday I was able to spend the best part of the day at the Evangelical Library near Baker Street Station in London. Founded in the 1930’s by Geoffrey Williams the library holds over 80,000 books, plus numerous journals and periodicals. It was this collection of journals that prompted me to renew my membership after an interval of around 15 years and make the trip into the city centre.
I have to say that I was both impressed and slightly saddened by the experience. It was wonderful to be able to search through the journal room, buried deep within the library, which contains thousands of bound journal volumes, many dating from the 1800’s. The picture to the right and below left show the journal room. What saddened me was that such a great resource seems to be greatly under-used. Many of the recent journals I looked at seemed never to have been opened before. Like many Christian institutions the library appears to run on a shoe-string and does not have the resources to replace its ailing photocopier. Indeed the copies it produced were so poor that I bought a small scanner to work on my laptop computer and took that along. I am looking forward to spending another Saturday exploring the journal room later in the year. During the day I was able to scan quite a number of articles which will be appearing on-line in due course.
If you live within travelling distance of London I would highly recommend a visit. The library also offers a useful postal service for those who live further afield. Such resources deserve our support and should not be allowed to fall into disuse.

Tiny tablet provides proof for the accuracy of the Old Testament

Personally I don’t have any doubts that the Bible provides an accurate historical record of the people and events it describes. Even so, it is nice when someone comes up with yet another piece of hard evidence for this. The evidence doesn’t get any “harder” than than the 2,500 clay tablet discovered recently in the collection of the British Museum. This tablet is a receipt from one of the temples of Babylon to Nabu-sharrussu-ukin “chief eunuch” of Nebuchadnezzar. According to a recent article in The Daily Telegraph It is almost certain that this is the same person as is mentioned in Jeremiah 32:3:

Then all the officials of the king of Babylon came and took seats in the Middle Gate: Nergal-Sharezer of Samgar, Nebo-Sarsekim a chief officer, Nergal-Sharezer a high official and all the other officials of the king of Babylon. [NIV]

The find is being hailed as the most important find in Biblical Archaology for 100 years, Prof. Irving Finkel of the British Museum is quoted as saying:

This is a fantastic discovery, a world-class find, … If Nebo-Sarsekim existed, which other lesser figures in the Old Testament existed? A throwaway detail in the Old Testament turns out to be accurate and true. I think that it means that the whole of the narrative [of Jeremiah] takes on a new kind of power.

A writer who set out to write about the fall of Jerusalem might be expected to know the name of the Babylonian king that captured the city, but such secondary details demonstrate that the book is, as it claims, a contemporary eyewitness account.

A mid-year update on site development and support

In an earlier post I shared my hope that the Theology on the Web sites would eventually generate sufficient income to allow me to spend more of my time developing them. One way that I hoped that this would happen was by selling advertising space to selected UK Bible Colleges. With this in mind I wrote to 20 colleges in mid-February offering advertising space and suggesting several other ways in which they might like to support site development. Although two colleges initially showed some interest in advertising neither has to date followed through. I have, however, received considerable help from two others, London School of Theology and All Nations. Both have provided me with numerous photocopies of articles free-of-charge – for which I am extremely grateful.

Over the last two months I have spent time developing table of contents for a number of evangelical journals, Evangelical Quarterly, European Journal of Theology, Journal of Transactions of the Victoria Institute, Faith and Thought and the Caribbean Journal of Evangelical Theology. I see this as essential preparation for my future plans to make many of the articles themselves available. None of these table of contents currently available on-line to those who have no access to academic databases.

I appreciate Matt Dabb’s words of support and the response I have received from a host of others to my requests for bibliographic data. Finally, a word of thanks to the authors and publishers of the books and articles that I have reproduced who have kindly allowed their hard work to be made available to all comers at no cost.

Coming soon, Vox Evangelica Vol. 9 – now in final proof-reading.