Northeastern Seminary (Rochester, New York)

Barry W. Hamilton, Ph.D.



Mission of the Theological Collections


                The theological collections support the curricula of Northeastern Seminary and the Division of Religion and Humanities of Roberts Wesleyan College.  The collections support the normal assignments of undergraduate and graduate students, and serve as a foundation for masters-level thesis research in conjunction with other academic libraries in Western New York. 


Principal Constituents


                The students, faculty, administration and staff of Northeastern Seminary and the Division of Religion and Humanities are the principal constituents served by the theological collections. 


Funding for Collection Development


                A $25,000 budget line (FY 2000-2001) from Northeastern Seminary and a $2,000 budget line from Roberts Wesleyan College support the theological collections.



Goals of Collection Development for NES


(1)     The theological collections will provide timely access, through ownership or through the Greater Rochester Library Council, to more than 90% of the resources listed in NES course bibliographies.  Special consideration will be given to NES commuter students.

(2)     The theological collections will represent a broad spectrum of perspectives, including feminist and Third World approaches, in each major field of study, while providing substantial collections in the institution’s historical interests, such as evangelicalism and Wesley Studies.  The collection will have representative works in African American theological/pastoral resources, and womanist theology.  Each subject division will collect works related to women (i.e., body theology, Paul’s teachings on the role of women in the church, ordination of women).

(3)     The theological collections will support the educational goals and objectives of NES courses, and will not develop strength in fiction, devotional resources, popular works and highly specialized monographs.

(4)     The theological collections will concentrate on new publications and selected older works of enduring value, rather than collecting historical materials in strength.  The collection will concentrate on resources published after 1990.

(5)     The theological collections will consist almost entirely of English-language materials, and will acquire foreign-language resources typically by special request of faculty.

(6)     The theological collections will represent a wide spectrum of Protestant and Catholic traditions, including works written from Wesleyan, Baptist, Peace Tradition (e.g., Mennonite), Reformed (including Lutheran), Catholic and Episcopal perspectives.

(7)     While hardback editions should be preferred where heavy use is anticipated, quality paperback editions are acceptable when significant price differences exist between the paperback and the hardback editions.   Consideration will also be given to the anticipated length of currency of the publications.  The expected length of currency will be taken into account when deciding between cloth or paper binding.  Reference works will usually be purchased in cloth binding.

(8)     The theological collections will provide increasing access to relevant electronic databases through commercial vendors, including OCLC’s FirstSearch and Ebsco Host.  Preference will be given to online resources rather than CD-ROM, for these reasons:  (1) Readiness and reliability of access and (2) currency of online databases.

(9)     Collection development will favor significant discounts over timeliness, except in special circumstances (e.g., request of faculty).



Target collection strengths by area


Biblical Archaeology—the collection will not strive for comprehensiveness, but adequacy, and contain works specifically listed in course bibliographies or otherwise directly supportive of NES course work. 


Biblical Languages—the collection will contain tools for exegetical work in Hebrew and Greek, including concordances, lexicons, and parsing guides.  The collection will strive for adequacy rather than comprehensiveness.


Biblical Studies—collection will contain texts and secondary resources on the Dead Sea Scrolls; the Nag Hammadi texts and authoritative secondary resources; and texts and secondary resources on the Pseudopigrapha and Apocrypha; the collection will concentrate on important secondary resources in Old Testament Theology, Ancient Near Eastern background, feminist and socio-rhetorical criticism, Christological exegesis of the OT, NT Theology, Christology, Paul and His Thought, NT Background, rhetoric as an NT literary genre, significant works (including commentaries) on individual books, divisions and literary forms (e.g., wisdom, parables).  Major themes such as sacrifice, war, wealth and resurrection will be considered.  The collection will avoid highly specialized works, fiction or highly controversial works that are not based on thorough research.  The collection will also avoid works that interpret texts from a purely subjective viewpoint (e.g., an imaginative approach to reading the Lukan passion narrative).  The collection will include highly recommended commentaries, especially those that deal with the Hebrew or Greek text, and avoid commentaries aimed solely at the popular market.  The collection will consist almost entirely of English-language materials.


Christian Ethics—the collection will emphasize significant scholarly resources published after 1990, including reference works, especially those that address contemporary issues.  The collection will collect textbooks and readings only by faculty request. 


Patristics—collection will contain more than 90% of primary texts and secondary literature published and in-print, on course bibliographies, including major works of the Apostolic Fathers, Tertullian, Clement, Origen, the Cappadocian Fathers, Athanasius and Augustine.  Special emphasis will be placed on doctrinal development in the Early Church.  The collection will include full sets of collected texts in print, such as the Ancient Christian Writers.  Emphasis will be on the development of the Catholic and Orthodox traditions; the collection will contain less than 25% of the works in print on ‘heretical’ perspectives, including Gnosticism and Montanism.  The collection will contain major studies on the origin(s) of Christianity. 


Medieval Studies—the collection will emphasize major figures (e.g., Justinian, Gregory the Great, Innocent III, Duns Scotus, Aquinas, Joachim, Bonaventure), councils, doctrinal issues, the medieval papacy, doctrinal issues, and religious orders.  The collection will include major theological works such as the Summa Theologica.  The collection will also include important works related to the history, liturgy and theology of the Eastern churches, including the Coptic Church, such as The Coptic Encyclopedia. 


Reformation Studies—the collection will include collected works of Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and the Radical Reformers, and reference works such as the Encyclopedia of the Reformation.  The collection will also include critical biographies of major figures and critical studies of the theology of the reformers, as well as events that led to the Reformation.  Collection development in this area will include attention to major studies of the English Reformation, Puritan and Dissenting movements. 


Modern Period/Historical Studies—collection will contain more than 90% of published, in-print resources on course bibliographies, and will emphasize major figures, movements and teachings of this period.  Resources will contain works on the rise of liberal Catholic and Protestant theology, biblical criticism, the Ecumenical Movement, the Social Gospel, evangelicalism, and the Holiness-Pentecostal tradition.  Special attention will be given to the interaction of the church with postmodernism. 


Homiletics—collection will contain more than 90% of published, in-print resources on course bibliographies, and in most cases avoid collected works of sermons, textbooks, sermon outlines and illustrations.  The collection will focus on theory and practice of sermons, including expository sermons and story sermons, and will include works by Barbara Brown Taylor, Eugene Peterson, Fred Craddock and other major authors


Christian Education—The collection will contain more than 90% of published, in-print resources on course bibliographies, with special reference to the course MIN 628, Teaching Doctrine.  The collection will emphasize CE as catechesis, and also contain works related to theological education and Christian higher education.


Church Administration—collection will contain more than 90% of published, in-print resources on course bibliographies, including those written by nationally-recognized authorities such as Aubrey Malphurs, Stan Toler, Kennon Callahan, Lyle Schaller, William Easum, Thomas Bandy and Dale Galloway.  The collection will contain most of the works published by the Alban Institute, the “Creative Leadership Series” from Abingdon, as well as important resources from nationally prominent churches, such as the Community of Joy, Ginghamsburg Church, and Willow Creek Community Church. The collection will also contain important works on nonprint media, such as videotapes, audiocassettes and CDs. 


Hermeneutics—collection will contain more than 90% of published, in-print resources on course bibliographies, including perspectives from historical criticism, narrative criticism, feminist criticism, reader-response criticism, and postcolonial biblical criticism.  The collection will emphasize works whose principles can be translated into the professional practice of ministry.


Missions—collection will emphasize church growth, urban missions, missions theory, the Great Commission, and 2000/Beyond.  The collection will also contain materials published by World Vision/ MARC. 


Pastoral Theology—collection will contain more than 90% of published, in-print resources on course bibliographies, including resources for pastoral care and counseling, crisis ministries (including suicide prevention), death and dying, and development of the Christian community.  General works on pastoral theology will include resources published by nonwhite/female perspectives. 


Philosophy of Religion—collection will include selections that address major issues in the field, such as the problem of good and evil, and the existence of God, and will aim for adequate support of the NES curriculum rather than comprehensiveness. 


Religion and Science—The collection will contain resources that emphasize interdisciplinary studies in this field, including recent works on neuroscience and cosmology, as well as on the nature of the human person. The collection will include works from well-known authors as John Polkinghorne and Arthur Peacocke. 


Spirituality—The collection will contain resources on spiritual direction, spiritual formation and pastoral formation from several Catholic and Protestant traditions, including Wesleyan, Anglican, Orthodox, Reformed, Pentecostal and Charismatic.  The collection will have resources on Centering Prayer, intercessory prayer and spiritual warfare (including ‘mapping’).  The collection will contain resources for training spiritual directors as well as resources for directees.  The collection will give special emphasis to works that integrate spiritual direction/formation with pastoral theology.  In most cases, the collection will not contain works of poetry or meditations. 


Systematic Theology—the collection will contain significant works from selected theologians that should be included in support of the NES curriculum, including Barth, Bonhoeffer, Moltmann, Pannenberg, John B. Cobb, Jr., Thomas Oden, Schubert Ogden, Rosemary Radford Ruether, James Cone, David Tracy, Hans Kung, and Reinhold Niebuhr.  At least 20% of new books in this subject area will be authored by women and people of color, and include Third World perspectives.  Priority will be given to theologians/authors whose works appear on NES course bibliographies. 


Wesleyan Studies—collection will contain more than 90% of published, in-print resources on course bibliographies, including a full set of the ‘Bicentennial Edition’ of the works of John Wesley, and the publications of Kingswood Press.  The collection will contain critical editions of the works of Charles Wesley, and the works of John Fletcher.  Major representative Methodist theologians will be represented, including Richard Watson, Adam Clarke, John Miley, William Burt Pope, Borden Parker Bowne, and Olin Curtis.  Contemporary theologians will be included as well, such as Schubert Ogden, John B. Cobb, Jr., Thomas Oden and Geoffrey Wainwright.  The collection will include materials supporting the Course of Study in the United Methodist Church (U.S.).  Major studies on the holiness movement will be collected, such as those by John L. Peters, Timothy Smith and Melvin Dieter.  The collection will also include important works on major figures such as Phoebe Palmer, Benjamin T. Roberts, and A. B. Simpson.  The collection will avoid most popular works and denominational studies.  


World Religions—the collection will contain scholarly resources and quality surveys on the world’s major religions (Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism) and traditional religions, and emphasize historical/doctrinal studies.                                                                                                             


Worship—the collection will contain more than 90% of published, in-print resources on course bibliographies, but will avoid works of a confessional nature (e.g. studies of denominational worship for membership training).  The collection will contain works on public worship and liturgy, including studies of worship in historical periods (e.g., early church).   The collection will include works on contemporary worship, African American worship, worship and evangelism, and history of worship.  The collection will contain resources from several Christian traditions, including Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, and Charismatic/Pentecostal.  The collection will include resources on the role of women in worship. 



Budget Allocation


BIBLICAL STUDIES:          15%

                Biblical Languages


                Biblical History/Historical Backgrounds (incl. Biblical Archaeology)

                Exegesis (incl. Commentaries)

                Biblical Theology

                Specialized Studies


CHURCH HISTORY:           15%


                Medieval Studies

                Reformation Studies

                Modern Period/Historical Studies


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY:              15%


PASTORAL THEOLOGY:                  15%

                Pastoral Formation




                Church Administration


                Christian Education



                World Religions

                Christian Missions

                Philosophy of Religion

                Religion and Science


SPECIAL COLLECTIONS:                  20%

                Spirituality (10%)

                Wesleyana (10%)



These allocations represent 95% of the budget, and allow 5% discretionary spending.





Northeastern Seminary

2301 Westside Drive

Rochester, New York 14624

(585) 594-6800





Page last modified 12-18-2002