Collection Development for Theological Education

Collection Development for Theological Education

Geoffrey Little (Concordia University Libraries, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1897-8.ch007
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Students in graduate theological programs working toward ordination and a career in ministry in the Christian church require library collections that support their study of scripture, doctrine, ancient languages, and Biblical history and interpretation, as well as the practice of pastoral ministry, leadership, and administration. This chapter will discuss how to build collections at theological libraries measured against standards set by the Association of Theological Schools, the accrediting organization for theological schools in Canada and the United States; the importance of print and online reference works such as language dictionaries, atlases, and encyclopedias in theological library collections; indexes and databases for theological studies; important journals; the different categories of theological monographs; collection development policies; special collections in theological libraries; dealing with gifts and donors; and professional development resources for theological librarians.
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The word “theology” is derived from the Latin theologia, which itself is derived from two Greek words: theos, the word for God, and logos, noting reason (Theology, 2011a). Plantinga, Thompson, and Lundberg (2010) describe theology, as it is studied and taught in colleges and universities, as “reasoned discourse about God” (p. 6). There are also several branches of theology: biblical theology, the study of the Bible as a way to understand and comprehend God and His revelations through the prophets and the evangelists; historical theology, which applies historical methods to questions about belief, doctrine, and practice; and philosophical theology, which attempts to bring theology into dialogue with other branches of thought and study. Together, these branches may be grouped under the heading of systematic theology, which seeks to present a unified and coherent body of Christian beliefs and practices (Plantinga, et al., p. 17). Pastoral theology is the “study of the care of souls” (Drum, 1912) or the study of active religious ministry.

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