The History of Bibliotheca Sacra -- By: John D. Hannah

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 133:531 (Jul 1976)
Article: The History of Bibliotheca Sacra
Author: John D. Hannah


The History of Bibliotheca Sacra

John D. Hannah

[John D. Hannah, Assistant Professor of Historical Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary.]

Why should a theological journal celebrate its 133rd anniversary? One would logically recognize a centennial or sesquicentennial, but why this anniversary? The answer is found within the context of the United States bicentennial. Bibliotheca Sacra, being “the oldest theological quarterly in America,”1 was initiated in the National Era of the nation’s history and has developed with the nation, recording much of its religious history. Since the journal occupies a unique place in theological literature in America, it is appropriate to rehearse its history at this time.

The Beginnings at Union Theological Seminary (1843)

2 In 1843 Edward Robinson,3 “an eminent philologist and topographer of the Holy Lands,”4 began the publication of

Bibliotheca Sacra, or Tracts and Essays Connected with Biblical Literature and Theology.5 The journal was published in New York City where Robinson had been a professor of biblical literature at Union Theological Seminary since 1837.

In the initial issue Robinson delineated the editorial purpose of the journal in this way:

this work purports to be a collection of Tracts and Essays; and is intended to exhibit a full and thorough discussion of the various topics which may at any time be taken up, so as to be of permanent value as it work of reference. The nature of it is also such, that, articles cannot well be divided. It will, however, be a matter of effort with the Editor, to give to the work as great a variety as shall be compatible with these higher objects.6

Robinson continued to edit the journal for only three issues in 1843 and then passed it on because of pressing academic duties at Union.7 After 1843 he continued to serve as an associate and contributing editor to the journal for nearly fifteen years.

The Years at Andover Theological Seminary (1844-1883)

The Work of Bela Bates Edwards (1844-1851)

8 In 1844 after three short issues in New York the journal passed from Robinson to a trusted friend, Bela Bates Edwards,9 at Andover ...

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