The past couple weeks, we’ve focused on expanding your research materials by using libraries. This might take the form of using libraries that are simply near you or where you might be able to use ILL. Or, if you’re at a school, you might be able to use that school’s library better, including its ebook collection.
As critical as libraries are, however, you shouldn’t limit your research to them. Instead, there are a number of helpful online resources you can use to gain access to key materials. In this post, we’ll discuss the first two.
Internet Archive is a non-profit organization that is “building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form.”
You might be familiar with Internet Archive from its “wayback machine,” which periodically captures websites over the course of their development. It can be amusing to go back and look at early versions of sites for companies that now have a significant Internet presence (e.g., Apple, Google, Walmart).
But, Internet Archive also has an incredibly useful repository of scanned, public-domain books. Searching Internet Archive can sometimes be a bit unwieldy. The metadata can be a bit off. So, you do have to look at the scans themselves to confirm you’re getting what you’re looking for.
Even so, a few of the gems I’ve found there over the years include, in whole or in part:
– The translation of Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologica by the Fathers of the English Dominican Province
– Alban Butler’s Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints
– A Greek text for Justin Martyr’s Dialog with Trypho
– The 28th German edition of Wilhelm Gesenius’s Hebrew Grammar
– The 8th edition of Henry Liddell, Robert Scott, and Henry Jones’s Greek lexicon
– Marcus Jastrow’s Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic Literature
– Frederick Field’s edition of Origen’s Hexapla
– Pierre Sabatier’s edition of the Old Latin
– A facsimile of Codex Sarravianus
– Johannes Geffcken’s critical edition of the Sibylline Oracles
– The larger Cambridge Septuagint
– Alfred Rahlf’s volume on the Lucianic recension of Kings
True, some of these resources took some time looking to hunt up on Internet Archive. But, Internet Archive made getting access to them much simpler and faster than it would otherwise have been.
Similarly, books.logos.com has a growing collection of over 8,000 full-text resources.
Accessing these titles is free during the beta period, and you don’t need to have purchased a Logos base package to use books.logos.com.
But, users who have the desktop software installed can search books.logos.com directly from there via an “everything” search. You can then click through one of the pages shown with results to pick up there reading the full text on books.logos.com.
In a 1524 letter about the importance of Christian schools, Martin Luther pressed the importance of biblical languages. A few of his comments are no less apt for the kind of research tools we’ve begun considering here:
O how happy the dear fathers would have been if they had had our opportunity to study the languages and come thus prepared to the Holy Scriptures! What great toil and effort it cost them to gather up a few crumbs, while we with half the labor—yes, almost without any labor at all—can acquire the whole loaf!1
Sure, it might take some culling through search results to find what you need. But by comparison to how searching like this has needed to be done in the past, tools like Internet Archive and books.logos.com can both make some parts of the research process much faster and some of the materials involved available much more broadly than they might otherwise be.
Quoted in Gary Pratico and Miles Van Pelt, Basics of Biblical Hebrew, 119. ↩