A Word of Encouragement from South Africa

South African FlagI have had a great deal of positive feedback to my last post announcing the launch of a new project to produce an Open Source Commentary Survey. A number of scholars have responded offering to write a survey of commentaries on a book, or group of books of the Bible. Today I also received the following e-mail, which is reproduced here by permission:

My name is Basil Dwyer

I live in a place called Matatiele in South Africa which is a small village in amongst the Drakensberg Mountains.

I have lived in this place for about 35 years, practising as an attorney.

I have also for the same number of years been a local preacher in the Methodist Church and have lead bible studies amongst the town folk and local farmers.

Access to Theological libraries is non – existent and the purchase of Theological books is prohibitive due to the very poor state of our exchange rate.

Your website is therefore literally a Godsend.

If it would be useful to you I would be happy to be part of your survey. Let me know.

Regards

Basil Dwyer

I cannot say how encouraging it is to know that the websites are reaching their intended audience around the globe and that they are making a difference for the Gospel. It is sobering to realise the difficulties that people in South Africa have in getting access to printed academic theological material, and this is mirrored in many other countries around the globe. I would also like to express my thanks to Basil and also to those who through their support make running the websites possible.

Commentary Survey for Public Domain Commentaries

New Testament Commentary Survey by D.A. CarsonDon Carson’s excellent New Testament Commentary Survey fulfils a very specific and valuable purpose: it evaluates modern commentaries and allows readers who have access to books to choose the best ones for them.

For Bible teachers in the Majority World, such surveys may be of less value. The commentaries recommended, even if they were available in their country, would cost far more than the average person could afford. Older commentaries, that are now in the public domain, are poorly covered (though understandably so, given the book’s purpose), often being dismissed with phrases like “The key insights have been incorporated into more recent works…”.

Given that the primary purpose of Theology on the Web is to provide good biblically-based resources for the Majority World and those without access to physical books, I want to find a way around this problem – with your help.

How You Can Help

I want to upload (on BiblicalStudies.org.uk) a survey of public domain biblical commentaries. This survey would identify the strengths and weaknesses of each. It would then rank them as suitable for (a) the general reader; (b) for ministers, or (c) for scholars.  Once the survey is completed I would ensure that the best commentaries are all available via BiblicalStudies.org.uk.

I am therefore seeking a number of contributors who would agree to evaluate commentaries on a biblical book, or group of books e.g. the Pastoral Epistles or the Minor Prophets.

Please let me know if you are interested in contributing to this Project by e-mailing me at [email protected] Please feel free to make comments and suggestions below. If you are not sure which commentaries might be in the Public Domain, I can help you to narrow down your list.


This Project was initially proposed on the Theology on the Web Facebook Group. I am grateful for the Group’s feedback, which has enabled me to refine its parameters.

Open Access Digital Library launched

The following is an announcement sent to me by Dr Thomas E. Phillips, the project’s Director.


Open Access Content Available Globally

Open Access Digitial LibraryWe at the Digital Theological Library have created a separate, fully Open Access, library in religious studies (and related disciplines) for global use.

This is OCLC’s only fully OA library.  It currently has about 100,000 ebooks and 1 million articles in it.

We encourage you to use it and to encourage others to use it. The more use it gets, the easier it will be to get external funding.

Please let us if there are important OCLC catalogued OA resources that should be added to be the collections. (We can add materials with relative ease if they are already cataloged in OCLC; otherwise it is difficult to add uncataloged content.)

The url is: http://oadtl.org/

Feel free to share this information widely.


Fact Sheet

Mission:

  • Our mission is to:
    • make all open access content
      • in religious studies (and related fields)
        • discoverable
          • by everyone,
            • everywhere in the world
              • through a single search experience
                • for free
                  • forever
                  • in a non-commercial
                • Approach: Curate OA content in religious studies in the Knowledge Base of OCLC’s WMS and make that content discoverable through a search engine powered by OCLC.
                • The OADTL (Open Access Digital Theological Library) goes live on June 15, 2018.
                • The OADTL is the world’s only fully open access library powered by the search capacity of OCLC.

Current Collections:

  • As of 6/5/18, the OADTL provides access to
    • Nearly 100,000 ebooks
      • over 17,000 from the last 25 years
      • over 11,000 from the last 10 years
      • over 5,000 from the last 5 years
    • over 150 collections
    • over 2,500 journal titles
    • over 1,000,000 full-text, peer-reviewed, articles

Ownership:

The OADTL is owned and operated by the Digital Theological Library, a non-profit corporation in support of religious studies education. Its sponsoring seminaries are (as of 5/30/18):

  • Claremont School of Theology (CA)
  • Denver Seminary (CO)
  • Evangelical Seminary (PA)
  • Lexington Theological Seminary (KY)
  • Singapore Bible College
  • International Baptist Theological Study Centre (Amsterdam)
  • Hartford Seminary (beginning 2018-19 academic year)
  • Gordon-Conwell Seminary (beginning 2018-19 academic year)

Content Selection & Curation:

  • Publisher content (e.g., Brill, de Gruyter, University of Chicago, Cambridge, Oxford, Georgias, Archeopress, various university presses)
  • Institutional Repositories (e.g., Claremont School of Theology, Liberty University, University of Glasgow, Harvard, BYU, Duke, Asbury Theological Seminary, Yale)
  • Scholarly Societies (e.g., SBL, Numismatics Society)
  • Public Domain & Creative Commons Providers (e.g., Princeton Theological Commons, Hathitrust, Globethics, Oapen.org)
  • Museums (e.g., Metropolitan)
  • Denominational Archives
  • OA journals

 

How much does it cost?

          Nada, zilch, zero. Our Pledge: “Free for everyone forever!”

 

Believe in our mission?

Help us fulfill our open access mission

  • by alerting us to high quality content,
  • by encouraging people to use the OADTL; and
  • by volunteering to help curate content.