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Information about The Digital Library of Classic Protestant Texts
  Final Release:   February, 2007.
1. About the Database - a description of the contents of the database and its purpose.
2. Editorial Policy - detailed criteria used in selecting materials.
3. Editorial Board - individuals who have helped in the construction of the database.
4. Errata - known typographical and software errors to be fixed next release.
5. Release Notes - notes on this version.
6. Software Requirements - notes on which browsers are supported.
7. Technical Support - whom to contact for technical support.
8. Subscription and Free Trial Information - how to get a subscription or a trial.
9. License Agreement - licensing terms and conditions.
10. Acknowledgements - charter customers and individuals who contributed.
11. Copyright Statement - copyright terms and conditions.
12. Archiving - how this material is preserved for the future.
13. Cataloging Records - what kind of MARC records will be available for this collection.

1.    An Introduction to The Digital Library of Classic Protestant Texts

The Digital Library of Classic Protestant Texts debuted in the autumn of 2001. An ambitious undertaking, this robust electronic collection includes not only the principal works of the most eminent writers of the Reformation and post-Reformation eras, but also those of lesser-known authors of the period. Developed in consultation with an editorial board of the most eminent Reformation-period scholars in both North America and Europe, its comprehensive bibliography of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Protestant writings has been revised and refined under expert guidance. Many of the books on it can only be found in the rare book rooms of the world's oldest libraries, such as the University of Oxford's Bodleian Library.

These invaluable biblical commentaries, catechisms, treatises, pastoral writings, sermons, church histories, disputations, and personal letters by Protestant writers, representing diverse theological perspectives, provide a sweeping view of the birth of early-modern Western Europe. No other collection offers such breadth of coverage—works by authors such as Robert Barclay, Johann Buxtorf, Pierre Du Moulin, Melchior Leydekker, Stephen Nye, Michael Servetus, John Whitgift, Pietro Martire Vermigli, and Daniel Zwicker can be found alongside the opera of the most famous names: Jacob Arminius, Richard Baxter, Theodore Beza, John Calvin, Thomas Cramner, Thomas Goodwin, Martin Luther, Faustus Socinus, and Ulrich Zwingli. The challenge levelled by Renaissance and Reformation scholars, "ad fontes," has been renewed and redefined to mean a return to the foundational sources of the Protestant Reformation.

Motivated to go beyond mere keyword searching, we have aimed to assist scholars in locating sustained treatments of subject-matter germane to their particular area of research. Every document has been hand-keyed, topically indexed, and carefully marked-up according to the highest-quality digital standards. Comprising more than 150 topics, our indexing thesaurus includes such terms as Church Authority, Free Will, Justification, Prayer and Meditation, Purgatory, The Arts, Attitudes towards Jews, Education & Learning, Religious Freedom, and the Religious and Social Role of Women. Researchers are able to quickly and efficiently navigate thousands of electronic pages, obtaining specifically targeted content in just a few seconds. Historians, theologians, political scientists, and sociologists researching the religious and social upheavals of the 16th and 17th centuries will benefit from studying and comparing old content in ways that will open new avenues of research for the next generation of scholars.

Almost all works in The Digital Library of Classic Protestant Texts are period editions which have been presented in their original languages of Latin, English, French, and German. As the project evolved, we were determined to further enhance searchability by regularizing and modernizing the variations in early-modern orthography. Moreover we recently doubled the number of theological traditions, allowing scholars to retrieve more precise results by expanding their search options. To further enhance the value of our collections, scholars have access not only to the fully-searchable text file, but also to a digital facsimile of each historically important edition chosen by our editors.

My involvement with this project has led me to appreciate how a constant immersion in primary sources provides a deeper comprehension of a historical period. By steadily indexing these religious works over the last few years, I have acquired a much more nuanced appreciation of the distinctive characteristics of the various Protestant groups as well as a more profound understanding of their theologies.

It has been intriguing to see how two antagonistic religious groups could appeal to the same Bible as their final authority, but selectively underscore different passages and come to quite contrary conclusions. For instance, I found that orthodox Protestants would quote John 1:1-18 to underscore Christ's divine nature, whereas Socinians would cite John 14:28, denying that Christ was God. Our meticulous tagging of biblical citations allows researchers to compare how members of various Protestant groups utilized particular biblical citations in sustained treatments of topics such as "Christ's divinity."

Another consequence of in-depth contact with these writers is the discovery of all types of interesting anecdotal information. While indexing Bishop Bale's Chronicle and Examination of the Death of Lord Cobham, I became intrigued with the identity of John Oldcastle, Lord Cobham. It became clear that he was a companion of the young Prince Hal, but one who later imbibed the Lollard heresy and was subsequently brought to the gallows and executed. In short, he had fomented rebellion against his erstwhile friend, Henry V. Evidence suggests that Oldcastle was the historical figure upon whom Shakespeare's character, Falstaff, was based.

At about the same time, a fellow indexer brought to my attention a very interesting, but not well-known, fact about Thomas Cramner. In his Examination in Oxford before [Bishop] Brokes, the archbishop was called on to defend the principle that a monarch was the supreme head of the Church in his own realm. As the examination concluded, Cramner made an astounding claim. At the time of St. Peter, he said, "Nero was head of the Church." It is the detection of fascinating details like these which has made working on this project such an immense pleasure.

First of all, I would like to express gratitude to all the members of our senior editorial board for their constant aid and assistance throughout the last few years. Second, I would like to thank all of our past and current editors who, with their linguistic, theological, and technical expertise, have crafted this into one of the most formidable theological databases in the world. This has truly been a collegial effort and I am grateful for the contributions of all of the members of our team mentioned below.

Joseph F.X. Sladky
Religion Indexing Editor for The Digital Library of Classic Protestant Texts

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2.   Editorial Policy

The material for The Digital Library of Classic Protestant Texts has been selected by our editorial board according to the criteria below.

  • Works are generally published between 1500-1700.
  • Authors are all residents of Western Europe.
  • Documents are of a theological or religious nature.
  • Works display a broad representation of various theological traditions.
  • Works include a wide array of document types.
  • Period editions are preferred.
  • First edition works have been selected unless scholars determined that a later edition is more noteworthy.

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3. Editorial Board

Alexander Street Press is committed to the highest values and goals of academic research. For this reason, we have established two editorial boards—an advisory board and a senior editorial board—and have taken pains to fill the roster of each with a team of internationally-respected scholars. The result is a group of world-class theologians and church historians who collectively represent 17 of the world's most highly-regarded institutions, including Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, Tübingen, and Geneva. The expert guidance of these outstanding scholars has enabled Alexander Street Press to develop a line of products that we believe will set a new standard for academic research in the field of religious studies.

Members of our Advisory Board

Irena Backus, University of Geneva
Emidio Campi, University of Zurich
Patrick Collinson, Cambridge University
John Patrick Donnelly, Marquette University
Richard Gamble, Reformed Theological Seminary
Timothy George, Beeson Divinity School
David Hall, Harvard University
Thomas M. McCoog, British Province of the Society of Jesus
Elsie McKee, Princeton Theological Seminary
Jurgen Moltmann, University of Tübingen
Mark Noll, Wheaton College
Oliver O'Donovan, Oxford University
James I. Packer, Regent College
Wolfhart Pannenberg, University of Munich
David Steinmetz, Duke University
Harry Stout, Yale University
David Wells, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Members of our Senior Editorial Board

To take full advantage of the input we receive from our advisory board members, Alexander Street Press has identified three senior editors, who work in close collaboration with our staff to ensure the high quality of our products and services. Alexander Street Press is thrilled to be associated with these three outstanding scholars:

Senior Editor Frank James is president of Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Since receiving his two doctorates—one from Westminster Theological Seminary and another from Oxford University—Professor James has become one of the world's leading experts on the life and works of Italian reformer Peter Martyr Vermigli. Besides being the general editor of the Peter Martyr Library, Dr. James has authored/edited six books and published more than 25 articles in the field of Reformation studies. He has also received numerous academic grants, including one from the Lilly Foundation, and is a regular visiting professor at Oxford University's Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

Senior Editor Alister McGrath is Principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, and is Professor of Historical Theology at Oxford University. He has authored more than 40 books, including several best-selling theological textbooks and numerous definitive theological monographs, with leading academic publishers in the U.S. and Europe. His works on Reformation history and theology have gained a wide audience among scholars and popular readers alike. He has also published more than 50 scholarly articles in major American, British, German, and Scandinavian theological journals. Over the past decade, five of his works have won Christianity Today book awards. Professor McGrath's writings have been translated into 15 languages, including all the major Asian languages.

Senior Editor Herman Selderhuis is Professor of Church History and Church Polity at the Theologische Universiteit Apeldoorn in the Netherlands. The author of several articles on Luther, Zwingli, and Melanchthon, he has also written on the theology and spirituality of the Reformation in general, and on Dutch church history in particular. His book-length works include Marriage and Divorce in the Thought of Martin Bucer and God at the Center: Calvin's Theology of the Psalms. Prior to joining the university faculty, Professor Selderhuis was a full-time minister and he continues to combine his scholarly work with ongoing ministerial and preaching activities. He also serves as director of the Institute for Reformation Research (Apeldoorn) and as general secretary of the International Calvin Congress.

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4.   Errata

Our goal is to have no errors in this database.   Please report any errors by sending an e-mail to

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5.   Release Notes

The Digital Library of Classic Protestant Texts includes 1,279 titles by 274 authors.

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6.   Software Requirements

The Digital Library of Classic Protestant Texts is optimized to operate with Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 or higher, and Firefox 3.0. (We are aware that the "select terms" feature of our Find and Search is not performing well in Firefox 3.5.2. Upgrading to the latest version of Firefox will resolve this issue.)

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7.   Technical Support

You can contact us by:

When reporting a problem please include your customer name, e-mail address, phone number, domain name or IP address and that of your web proxy server, if used.

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8.   Subscription and Free Trial Information

The Digital Library of Classic Protestant Texts is available for one-time purchase of perpetual access or as an annual subscription. Please contact us at if you wish to begin a subscription or to request a free 30-day trial.

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9.   License Agreement

Terms of Use

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10.   Acknowledgements

Our thanks to:


Don Fuller

Founder, Ad Fontes

Peter Cooper

Director of Religious Publishing, Alexander Street Press

Joseph F. X. Sladky

Indexing Editor, Alexander Street Press

Andrew Sulavik

Indexer, Alexander Street Press

Ann Sneesby-Koch

Indexer-Editor, Ad Fontes

Albert Gunn

Indexer-Editor, Ad Fontes

Daniel Robinson

Indexer-Editor, Ad Fontes

George Nursey

Indexer-Editor, Ad Fontes

Christine Sowder

Indexer-Editor, Ad Fontes

Ryan Moore

Indexer-Editor, Ad Fontes

Dave Albertson

Indexer-Editor, Ad Fontes

Peter White

Indexer-Editor, Ad Fontes

Ted Jackson

Indexer-Editor, Ad Fontes

Paul Burnett

Indexer-Editor, Ad Fontes

Faith Bonvenizer

Indexer-Editor, Ad Fontes

Brandon Jones

Indexer-Editor, Ad Fontes

John Shanabrook

Indexer-Editor, Ad Fontes

Brian Lee

Indexer-Editor, Ad Fontes

Jonathan Loopstra

Indexer-Editor, Ad Fontes

Kenneth Draper

Indexer-Editor, Ad Fontes

John Holland Software Development, Ad Fontes

Anthony Lewandowski

Software Development, Ad Fontes

David Burton Software Development, Ad Fontes
Graham Carter-Dimmock Software Development, Alexander Street Press

John Cicero

Software Development, Alexander Street Press

Ning Zhu

Software Development, Alexander Street Press

Charles Cooney

University of Chicago

Mark Olsen University of Chicago

Catherine Mardikes

University of Chicago

Sarah Schlagter Editor, Alexander Street Press
Georgianna Lee Dandy Production, Ad Fontes
Emily Scott Production, Ad Fontes
Katrine Lvovskaya Production, Ad Fontes
Pat Carlson Production, Alexander Street Press
Alyssa Theodore Production, Alexander Street Press
Hilary Ayers Production, Alexander Street Press
Danielle Hatfield Production, Alexander Street Press
Zoshia Minto Production, Alexander Street Press

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11.   Copyright Statement

All materials in The Digital Library of Classic Protestant Texts are protected under U.S. and International Copyright Law. Fair use under the law permits reproduction of single copies for personal research and private use. Further transmission, reproduction, or presentation of protected items requires the written permission of the copyright owners.

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12.   Archiving

Texts produced for The Digital Library of Classic Protestant Texts are considered research materials and receive the same level of stewardship as books, paper documents, and photographs. Once complete, copies of the database will be given to all purchasing institutions, so ensuring that the materials are available to subsequent generations.

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13.   Cataloging Records

Alexander Street will notify customers when MARC records are available for this collection. Records will point to each book, series, or manuscript. This will enable patrons to link directly from a public access catalog to all documents pertaining to that publication.

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