The Brethren Digital Archive, a joint effort to digitally preserve the publications of the major Brethren groups, is the topic of a recent article on the Brethren Life and Thought blog. It is written by Eric Bradley, a Grace College graduate who has served as the Project Coordinator for the Archives. He is a reference and instruction librarian at Goshen College, Goshen, Ind. A portion of his post appears below. Click here to read the complete article. (The Brethren Missionary Herald, the parent organization for GraceConnect.us, and the Morgan Library at Grace College are participants in the Digital Archive project on behalf of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches.)
The Faith once Digitally Delivered Unto the Saints
As for us, our duty is clear. We should not only obey the complete Gospel, but we should teach it to others. We must accept the faith once delivered to the saints, and keep the ordinances as they have come down to us through the New Testament. While we dare not forbid those who teach and obey but half of the Gospel, we may do well to commend them for the good they do. But it is one thing to commend them for the good they do and quite another to encourage them in the neglect of many of the plain commandments. (“Our Relation to Others Engaged in Good Works,” The Gospel Messenger, January 7, 1905, 9.)
Suppose you wanted to see how Brethren used the beloved phrase of Jude 3 in its booklets, tracts, and papers. As late as 2010, this would have involved having to physically travel to a Brethren library or archive, look through catalogs and finding aids, and then thumb through issue after issue of material. If you were lucky, you could perhaps have microfilm of a Brethren publication sent to your local library, to which you would have to scroll page after page in a similar fashion. However, thanks to the work of the Brethren Digital Archives, many of these publications are now freely accessible and searchable on the internet.
Begun in September 2007, the mission of the Brethren Digital Archives is to digitize some or all of the periodicals produced from the beginning of publication to the year 2000 by each of the Brethren bodies who trace their origin to the baptism near Schwarzenau, Germany in 1708. It consists of twenty partners: archivists, librarians and publishers from every Brethren branch. To date, Brethren Digital Archives has digitized over seven hundred items, including full runs of major publications such as Messenger (beginning Henry Kurtz’s Gospel-Visiter and its variations), The Brethren Evangelist,Brethren Missionary Herald, and Bible Monitor.
Click here to read the complete article.