Grand Rapids, Mich. (August 30, 2013)—Scholars now have a new tool for the early modern religious and philosophical history in its academic context. From the beginning of the Reformation at the University of Wittenberg to the establishment of the Academy of Geneva, schools were integral to movements of reform as they arose in the sixteenth century and perpetuated themselves into the seventeenth century. PRDL Scholastica, a new project of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research of Calvin Theological Seminary, will facilitate the understanding of this history by allowing the scholar to survey faculties and academic disputations over large stretches of time.
For almost two years, editors of PRDL culled names and dates of appointment for faculty from a variety of sources—online university faculty records, secondary sources on universities, biographical encyclopedias, title pages of primary source disputations, and the personal research of members of the PRDL editorial and advisory boards—resulting in a growing database of over 200 schools and 2,300 faculty appointments.
Senior fellow Richard A. Muller, one of the contributing editors of the project, believes PRDL Scholastica provides a significant insight into the institutional context in which the theology and philosophy of the early modern era were debated and formulated. “It offers a tool for the identification of the development of schools of thought and of the changes that took places within those schools as one generation of faculty succeeded another,” he said. “As such, it should serve as a major resource for categorizing and analyzing the increasingly massive body of early modern documents that are becoming available through the digitalization of rarities in a wide array of major research libraries.”
PRDL Scholastica presently includes large faculty lists, with appointment dates, for major Protestant schools, including Basel, Cambridge, Geneva, Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Helmstedt, Jena, Leiden, Leipzig, Marburg, Rostock, Tübingen, Utrecht, Wittenberg, and Zürich. Faculty at Roman Catholic universities are also represented, although only select universities, including Dillingen, Ingolstadt, and Leuven, have large faculty lists at this time. With these faculty lists, scholars of early modern institutional and theological traditions can now easily discover available digital books for overlooked minor figures.
In addition to the study of faculty, PRDL Scholastica facilitates the study of academic disputation (disputatio), a dialectical mode of education and an understudied genre, but one with great potential for scholarship (see, e.g., the work of Ignacio Angelelli and Keith Stanglin). For each school, scholars can browse printed disputations from universities and academies in chronological order. Among the largest lists of faculty and disputations, Wittenberg includes 112 faculty appointments and about 700 disputations, while Heidelberg includes 102 faculty appointments and 170 disputations. The disputations listed under Swiss schools—Basel, Bern, Geneva, Lausanne, and Zürich—now collectively total over 900.
As with the larger PRDL project, PRDL Scholastica is a collaborative endeavor and a continual work in progress. The Junius Institute welcomes and encourages visitors to report additions and corrections to this growing database.
For more information:
David S. Sytsma
Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research of Calvin Theological Seminary
About the Junius Institute
The Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research of Calvin Theological Seminary seeks to further the advancement of studies in early modern (ca. 16th to 18th century) theology and interconnected disciplines through the use of digital research tools, skills, and sources; to foster the presentation, preservation, and public use of primary and secondary sources within the public domain; and to encourage via educational and curricular means the study of the documents themselves, their content, as well as the technical skills required to interpret and analyze these materials.
About Calvin Theological Seminary
Founded in 1876, Calvin Theological Seminary is the oldest denominational ministry and the sole theological seminary of the Christian Reformed Church in North America, which is comprised of approximately 250,000 members in over 1,000 congregations across the US and Canada.