Accessing digital sources

We recently received a query about accessing digital sources internationally. Here’s a bit of my response that may be of more general interest:

First, membership in professional societies can provide some access to digital sources. For example, the AAR provides access to journals via JSTOR. For a limited time AAR membership also allows access to Bloomsbury/T&T Clark volumes. Membership in the Renaissance Society of America allows access to EEBO. Obviously the Post-Reformation Digital Library was conceived in part to address the need for digital access to primary source material. Many of these societies have reduced rates for student membership.

Second, you can register for limited access to some databases for free. For example, registering with JSTOR allows a certain number of free downloads and access to some content across the site. Similar programs are likely to be found with other databases and aggregators.

Early Modern Latin Course at PRTS


Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary has posted their Winter/Spring 2016 course schedule. Included is a graduate level, 3 credit hour Latin reading course in early modern Latin that runs from January 19, 2016 to May 6, 2016. We will meet on Monday and Thursday from 3:10 – 4:25 PM (EST). The primary focus of the course will center on Latin used in Theology and Philosophy from the early modern period, but matters of civil and canon law are addressed at several key points where relevant. We will be working through terminological and grammatical matters of scholastic Latin. As a secondary focus, we will address matters, as they occur, that intersect with research methodology and beginning paleography (early modern print and manuscripts, as well as diplomatics). Finally, we will discuss matters of transcription and preparation of a critical text. Class assignments will be selected readings in various genres as well as introductions to early modern reference materials and resources. Along the way, we will also discuss digitization of rare book sources as part of a student’s research process in conjunction with projects like PRDL and LEMPT at the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research. For ThM and PhD students, a component of the course is a dossier of translations around a core set of documents that will be determined by the student in conjunction with the professor. This dossier is intended to assist students in their ongoing research or in the development of further research interests for their degree requirements. Space is limited so start planning now. A couple of items for your information:

  • If you want to take the graduate level course for credit in an accredited program, the cost is $750 (+$50 distance/online fee, if you will not be present in Grand Rapids, MI in person). PRTS is accredited by ATS & ARTS. ATS accreditation is accepted in the U.S. and Canada. For other countries, you would need to consult the registrar at your home academic institution.
  • If you want to take the course as an audit, the cost is $180 (+$50 distance/online fee).
  • If you register as a new student at PRTS, you have from Nov. 2 until the first day of class (Jan. 19) to register, although you need to allow for time to submit an entrance exam.
  • If you are a returning student to PRTS, you have from Nov. 2 to Nov. 18 to register.
  • If you have not taken the intensive Latin course at PRTS, applicants will need to successfully complete a timed entrance exam before being admitted to the class. If this exam will be proctored for distance students, please contact the registrar to make arrangements.
  • This course will be streamed live via PRTS/Populi system with audio/video recordings of lectures available to students of the course.

For more information, please direct your inquiries to the registrar at PRTS, Jonathon Beeke, you can e-mail him or call him directly at (616)-432-3408. Stay tuned, the syllabus will be available through PRTS soon.

Colloquium: Digitized Research Methods for Solving Pseudonymity

Noster TheophilusTo close out the first academic year of the Junius Institute Colloquium series, Dr. Ted Van Raalte of the Canadian Reformed Theological Seminary gave us an inside look at the research method pursued in his discovery of the identities behind a pseudonymous publisher in the 1580s. His findings were published as “‘Noster Theophilus’: The Fictitious ‘Printer’ Whose Anti-Jesuit Volumes Issued from Various Presses in Geneva between 1580 and 1589,” Bibliothèque d’Humanisme et Renaissance 74, no. 3 (2012): 569-91.

Here is a screencast of Dr. Van Raalte’s presentation from May 9, 2013, “Digitized Research Methods for Solving Pseudonymity: A New Discovery of Ten Volumes Printed under a Fictitious Name and Place in the 1580s.”

And for those with a deeper interest in these sorts of studies, the journal Quarendo has recently published an investigation of the identity of Spinoza’s printer.

Colloquium: The Synod of Dordrecht Project

Dr. Donald Sinnema

Dr. Donald Sinnema

Last month Dr. Donald Sinnema, one of the general editors of the Synod of Dordrecht project, presented at the Junius Institute Colloquium on “The Project to Publish a Critical Edition of the Documents of the Synod of Dordt, 1618-19.”

Dr. Sinnema is a professor of theology emeritus at Trinity Christian College, Palos Heights, IL. His main field of scholarship is historical theology, with a focus on Post-Reformation studies. He wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on the Synod of Dordt, and he is currently one of three general editors working on producing a nine volume critical edition of all the documents of the Synod of Dordt (1618-19).

ReforcAs the project describes, “Alongside the Westminster Assembly (1643-1649), the Synod of Dordrecht is one of the most important church councils in the history of the reformed tradition.” Moreover, “The goal of the edition project is to produce a critical edition of all the documents of the Synod of Dordrecht in their original languages (predominantly Latin, but some in Dutch, English, German and French) by an international team of institutions and scholars, mostly partners of Refo500. This critical edition will be published by publishing house Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht as a multi-volume series, and will be made available in digital format as well.”

A screencast of Dr. Sinnema’s presentation with audio is embedded below. More information about the project is available at the Refo500 website, where interested scholars can find more details about how to get involved.

CFP for SCSC 2014

The call for papers is out for this year’s meeting of the Sixteenth Century Society & Conference to be held in New Orleans, October 16-19, 2014.

Of special note is a CFP for “Early Modern + Digital Projects and Computational Methods.” I have been pleased to see a slow development in recent years of digitally-themed presentations and panels at SCSC, and this CFP promises to help continue that positive momentum.

Be sure to check out the “Call For Papers, Panels and Posters,” and stay tuned for details on presentation plans for a session or two sponsored by the Junius Institute.