The Biography of Bibliotheca Sacra -- By: John H. Bennetch

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 100:397 (Jan 1943)
Article: The Biography of Bibliotheca Sacra
Author: John H. Bennetch


The Biography of Bibliotheca Sacra

John Henry Bennetch

Today a turmoil surrounds the reader. Newspapers, advertising, propaganda of the printed variety, magazines, and books vie with one another for his attention. Most of this vast amount of printing, however, can lay no claim to tradition. The time-honored publication is a rare phenomenon. Bibliotheca Sacra, then, because the oldest theological quarterly in America (it may be, in the world) will come to the fore, this year, upon attaining to one hundred years of continuous publication. And since it has become unusual for periodicals to be maintained through many years, the biographical sketch to follow may not come amiss at this time.

Editors and Staff Members

Edward Robinson was the founder of Bibliotheca Sacra. Philip Schaff relates the circumstances which led Robinson to begin a quarterly wherein the fruits of his notable research could be preserved. “In 1837 he was called to be professor of biblical literature in the (Presbyterian) Union Theological Seminary, New York City. He accepted, on condition that he be permitted first to spend some years (at his own expense) in studying the geography of the Holy Land on the spot. Permission being given, he sailed July 17, 1837, and in conjunction with Rev. Dr. Eli Smith, an accomplished Arabic scholar, and faithful missionary of the American Board in Syria, thoroughly explored all the important places in Palestine and Syria. In October, 1838, he returned to Berlin; and there for two years he worked upon his Biblical Researches in Palestine, Mount Sinai, and Arabia Petraea. This truly great work, which at once established the author’s reputation as a geographer and biblical student of the first rank, appeared simultaneously in London, Boston, and in a German translation carefully revised by Mrs. Robinson, and carried through the press in Halle by Professor Rödiger, 1841, 3 vols. In recognition of his eminent services, he received in 1842 the Patron’s Gold Medal from the Royal Geographical Society

of London and the degree of D.D. from the University of Halle, while in 1844 Yale College gave him that of LL.D.”1

Prof. Robinson edited but three numbers of Bibliotheca Sacra-the only issues to appear in 1843, when the magazine started. Further research in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and German hindered him from continuing as editor-in-chief. Rather than remain the editor and neglect his responsibility in the least, Robinson decided to hand the work over to another. Forthwith, however, the new editor named Dr. Robinson his honored associate and made it possible for the founder to serve Bibliotheca Sacr...

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