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HUD 3211

Harvard Biblical Club. Records of the Harvard Biblical Club : an inventory

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Descriptive Summary

Call No.: HUD 3211
Repository: Harvard University Archives
Creator: Harvard Biblical Club.
Title: Records of the Harvard Biblical Club, 1881-1919.
Date(s): 1881-1919.
Quantity: 0.6 cubic feet (2 document boxes, 3 volumes in 1 flat box)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: The Harvard Biblical Club (known as the Harvard Semitic Club until December 3, 1881) was founded on January 22, 1881 by Crawford Howell Toy, Harvard University Hancock Professor of Hebrew and other Oriental Languages and Dexter Lecturer, as a Protestant biblical study group whose object was the study of the Old and New Testaments. The records are organized in three series: General Information about the Harvard Biblical Club, Meeting Minutes, and Papers presented to the Harvard Biblical Club.

Acquisition Information:

The Records of the Harvard Biblical Club were acquired through donation. Whenever possible the archivist noted the terms of acquisition in the descriptions and item lists.
The acquisitions are as follows:
  • 1908 George Henry Whittemore
  • 1920 Harvard Biblical Club
  • 1950 Andover-Harvard Theological Library
  • Processing Information:

    The Records were first classified and described in the Harvard University Archives shelflist prior to 1990. In August 2008, Dominic P. Grandinetti re-processed the collection. Re-processing included integrating and reorganizing the collection, re-housing materials in the appropriate containers, placing documents into acid-free folders, establishing series arrangement, and preparing this inventory. Call numbers were simplified and reassigned. A list of obsolete call numbers is included in this finding aid.

    Conditions on Use and Access:

    The Records of the Harvard Biblical Club are open for research.

    Related Material

    Historical Essay

    The Harvard Biblical Club (known as the Harvard Semitic Club until December 3, 1881) was founded on January 22, 1881 by Crawford Howell Toy, Harvard University Hancock Professor of Hebrew and other Oriental Languages and Dexter Lecturer, as a Protestantbiblical study group whose object was the study of the Old and New Testaments. The Club was established during the revival of biblical scholarship that took place in the latter half of the nineteenth century in both Europe and the United States. During this period, the study of biblical languages, the texts of the Old and New Testaments, various biblical versions, and biblical archaeology,geography, theology, and history, assumed new importance.
    The initial founders of the Club, in addition to Toy, were George H. Whittemore, a Cambridge minister,John Orne, Curator of Arabic manuscripts at the Harvard Semitic Museum,Peter Henry Steenstra,instructor of Hebrew and the Old and New Testament at the Episcopal Theological School of Cambridge, Ezra Abbot,Bussey Professor of New Testament Criticism and Interpretation at the Harvard Divinity School, Charles Mead,Professor of Hebrew at the Andover Theological Seminary,Timothy Otis Paine,teacher of Hebrew in the theological school of the General Convention of the New Jerusalem Church in Boston, and Oakman Sprague Stearns,Professor of Biblical Interpretations of the Old Testament at the Newton Theological Institution.
    Toy was the Club's first and only president. George H. Whittemore served as the Club's secretary. The early meetings of the Club were held in the homes of its members, meeting twice a month. In later years, the Club met monthly at the New Church Seminary (1881-1889), the Unitarian Building (1889-1914), and the building of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1914-1919); all of them in Boston. Each member was assigned to read a paper about the Old or New Testament, followed by a discussion and lunch. Usually, each member presented a paper by a member every three years.
    During its existence the Club's membership included many prominent religious scholars from Harvard University and other Boston area theological schools. In its heyday, the Club had nearly 20 members, but by 1919 the death of Toy and an aging membership, caused the Club to dissolve.
    References

    References

    Scope of the Collection

    The Records of the Harvard Biblical Club document its founding, organization, and administrative activities. The bulk of the records consist of meeting minutes and abstracts of papers that provide descriptions of the talks that took place at the Club's meetings on the Old and New Testament by leading and prominent members of the Harvard University faculty and other Boston area Protestant theological schools. Researchers should note that there is only one complete paper presented to the Club by William Wallace Fenn in this collection.

    Inventory update

    This document last updated 2016 October 14.

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