2.10 Distinctive Academic...

2.10 Distinctive Academic Resources

2.10.a The Westminster Theological Journal 2.10.b The Montgomery Library 2.10.c J. Alan Groves Center for Advanced Biblical Research
2.10.d Craig Center for the Study of the Westminster Standards 2.10.e Harvie M. Conn Center for the Study of hte Korean Church 2.10.f The Center for Theological Writing

2.10.a The Westminster Theological Journal

The Seminary publishes a theological review dedicated to the advancement of Christian theological scholarship under the title The Westminster Theological Journal. Original contributions of a scholarly character and reviews of current literature of importance to the church and to theological study are included. The Journal is edited for the Faculty by two of its members and is indexed or abstracted in a number of international indexes and periodicals. Publication is semi-annual. For information about subscriptions, or to read sample articles, please visit the Journal's webpages.

2.10.b The Montgomery Library

StacksThe Montgomery Library is a well-balanced and high-quality library covering all branches of biblical and theological study, as well as related disciplines, with particular strengths in Reformed theology and in biblical interpretation and exegesis. The collection contains over 150,000 volumes and regularly receives approximately 700 periodicals.

The library holds the major collected works of great theological writers including the entire Migne edition of the fathers, the Corpus Christianorum, the Weimar edition of Luther, and the Corpus Reformatorum edition of Calvin, Zwingli, and Melanchthon. In addition, the library has extensive holdings on microfilm and microfiche of early documents and books of the Reformation period, as well as many scholarly periodicals.

The library’s rare book room houses a strong collection of early works on Reformed theology and biblical exegesis. Also located in the rare book room is an extensive collection of Latin, Greek, and English Bibles. Dating from the invention of printing to the present day, this collection was the gift of Mr. L. Paul Dilg.

The library has received valuable portions of the libraries of Professors Robert Dick Wilson, J. Gresham Machen, Caspar Wistar Hodge, Geerhardus Vos, Oswald T. Allis, Edward J. Young, Ned B. Stonehouse, Robert D. Knudsen, and Harvie M. Conn. The late Principal John Macleod of Edinburgh presented 1300 Presbyterian and Reformed classics. There are special collections in memory of the Reverend Frank H. Stevenson, Miss Marguerite Montgomery, the Reverend John H. Thompson, Mrs. Catherine MacLeod Ruby, the Reverend William E. Korn, and the Reverend Professor Paul Woolley.

The library provides access to several electronic databases which supplement the print resources found in the collection. Many of these areavailable via the EBSCOHost platform. The included databases are:

  • The ATLA Religion Database with the ATLA Serials
  • Catholic Periodical Literature Index
  • Christian Periodical Index
  • New Testament Abstracts
  • Old Testament Abstracts
  • Religion and Philosophy Index
  • SocINDEX with Full Text
  • Early English Books Online, which provides access to the largest full-text collection of books published in English or in the British Isles prior to 1700. Available digitally in PDF, the collection covers a wide range of topics and is particularly useful for students of church history and theology in understanding the origins and development of Reformed theology in seventeenth-century Britain. 
  • America’s Historical Imprints, which provides access to books, pamphlets, broadsides, government documents, and ephemera printed in America between 1639 and 1819. 
  • New Testament and Old Testament Abstracts, which is an index of journal articles in the field of Biblical scholarship. 
  • Other databases include: Religion & Theological Abstracts and Brill Journals Online.

The library is an institutional member of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Theological Library Association, and the American Theological Library Association. Membership in these cooperatives provides Westminster students with access to the resources of Philadelphia area theological libraries.

2.10.c J. Alan Groves Center for Advanced Biblical Research

The J. Alan Groves Center for Advanced Biblical Research applies computing and related technology to the study and teaching of the Bible and its original languages. It was formed in 1986 as an outgrowth of ongoing research in the area of the Hebrew Bible and computing at Westminster under the executive direction of Professor
J. Alan Groves. In August, 2009, the Groves Center was incorporated as an independent non-profit company in order to more effectively pursue its vision. Currently the Groves Center is led by Dr. Kirk Lowery, President and Senior Research Fellow, who is a Hebraicist with skills in both linguistics and computing, and Research Fellow Stephen Salisbury, a software developer with skills in computer science and Hebrew. Additionally, scholars from around the world contribute to this research.

In the area of teaching, the Groves Center sponsors (bi-annually) a seminar in Hebrew Text-Linguistics. Professor Lowery also offers courses on Hebrew syntax and ancient near eastern languages. The Groves Center also serves as a resource center for the academic research needs of faculty and students in Hebrew and related study. It is noteworthy that the Groves Center participated in some of the earliest attempts at computer-aided instruction for the Hebrew language.

Concerning research in Hebrew and computing, the Groves Center authors, contributes to, or consults on these ongoing projects:

  • The electronic Westminster Leningrad Codex (WLC). This text began as an electronic transcription by Richard Whitaker (Princeton Seminary, New Jersey) and H. van Parunak (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) of the 1983 printed edition of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS). Work continued with the cooperation of Robert Kraft (University of Pennsylvania) and Emmanuel Tov (Hebrew University, Jerusalem), and was completed by Professor J. Alan Groves. The transcription was called the Michigan-Claremont-Westminster Electronic Hebrew Bible and was archived at the Oxford Text Archive (OTA) in 1987, but has been variously known as the “CCAT” or “eBHS” text. Since that time, the text has been modified in many hundreds of places to conform to the photo-facsimile of the Leningrad Codex, Firkovich B19A, which resides at the Russian National Library in St. Petersburg; hence the change of name to Westminster Leningrad Codex. The Groves Center continues to scrutinize and correct this electronic text as a part of its continuing work of building morphology and syntax databases of the Hebrew Bible, since correct linguistic analysis requires an accurate text. 
  • The Groves-Wheeler Westminster Hebrew Morphology (senior editor: Dr. Lowery; editor: Steve Salisbury). With seed funding from the Packard Humanities Institute (PHI), a team of Westminster scholars under the direction of Professor Groves began in 1987 to perfect a computerized version of the morphological analysis of the Hebrew text. We say perfect, because the basis for the text was a machine-produced analysis done by Richard Whitaker (Claremont, Princeton Seminary), who used the IBYCUS system to develop a parser that provided a trial parsing for about 95 percent of the words of the Hebrew Bible. While much editing was required, this initial analysis provided an excellent beginning database from which to build the database that exists today. The first version of the morphology was released in the summer of 1991. The combination of the machine-readable version of the text and analysis provides a significant tool for Hebrew study for students at every level of interest and ability in Hebrew. The database is now referred to as the Groves-Wheeler Westminster Hebrew Morphology.

Significant contributions have been made by Professor Todd Beall (Capital Bible Seminary), Professor Eep Talstra (the Werkgroep Informatica, the Free University, Amsterdam), and Ferdinand Poswick (the Centre Informatique et Bible, Maredsous, Belgium). Under the direction of Dr. Lowery, enhancements and corrections are ongoing.  

The Westminster Hebrew Morphology has been incorporated into many Bible software products. Among them are: Accordance by Oak Tree Software (Mac); BART by SIL/Wycliffe (Win); BibleWorks by Hermeneutika (Win); Logos by Logos Research Systems (Win); and WordSearch by iExalt Electronic Publishing (Win). Many of these products are available at a discount from Westminster Bookstore.

For information about licensing the Westminster Hebrew Morphology for use in software pages or products, contact Dr. Lowery.

  • The Groves Center is in the final stages of completing development of a new linguistic database where all the sentences of the Hebrew Bible are analyzed according to their syntax. This database was developed in conjunction with the Asia Bible Society who is using this database for automating the translation process for the Chinese Standard Bible, a fresh translation of the Bible into Mandarin Chinese. We expect this database soon to be incorporated into the standard Bible software products.
  • The Groves Center’s next major research project will be exploring the possibilities offered by advanced technologies used in data mining and 3D visualization of data.

2.10.d Craig Center for the Study of the Westminster Standards

The Craig Center for the Study of the Westminster Standards at Westminster Theological Seminary was founded in 2002. The Center is involved in identifying and indexing the thousands of names that appear in the three volumes of the minutes of the Westminster Assembly, opening a window into the Assembly’s practices in licensing and, on occasion, disciplining ministers. A major resource provided by the Center is Early English Books Online, which allows readers to access in PDF almost every book published in English between 1450 and 1700, making the Center a place for serious study of British and early American Reformed life and thought. Pending future funding, the Center intends to provide for visiting scholars to use the resources and facilities of the Center, and develop an interactive web site dealing with the Westminster Assembly and the Westminster Standards. For further information, please contact the Director of the Craig Center for the Study of the Westminster Standards or visit the Center's webpages.

2.10.e Harvie M. Conn Center for the Study of the Korean Church

The Harvie Conn Center is an outgrowth of Westminster’s relatively long history with the Korean church in training a significant number of Korean pastors, ministry leaders, and theologians. Created in 2001, the Center exists to advance research and academic discussion on the past, present, and future of the Korean church, via visiting scholars and workshops. Under the direction of Steve Park, the Center has recently digitized the Bruce Hunt Archives, a collection of thousands of photographs and Korean and English manuscripts documenting two generations of Korean missions. For further information, please contact the Director of the Harvie Conn Center.

2.10.f The Center for Theological Writing

Theological writing is an important means of learning and evaluating learning at seminary. The Center for Theological Writing (CTW) equips Westminster students with the tools to write clearly, correctly, cogently, and profoundly. It offers online writing resources, classes, workshops, and tutorials. The CTW is also a place for students with a professional interest in nonfiction, literature, or translation to meet and share their ideas. Students come to the CTW to fill in gaps in their academic preparation in rhetoric, logic, grammar, and writing style and to receive help with mastering citation. Specialized instruction is available for ESL students, returning students, and students from non-liberal arts backgrounds. In addition, the CTW offers a support program for students working on Ph.D. dissertations, Th.M. theses or D.Min. projects. Faculty members may also require students whom they identify as needing work on specific aspects of writing to receive tutoring at the CTW. Please visit the Westminster webpages for the Center for Theological Writing for details about current programs and to use our theological writing resources.