Thursday, January 17, 2013

Theological Librarianship as a Ministry Pt.1

Herman A. Peterson, "Theological Librarianship as a Ministry," American Theological Library Association Summary of Proceedings 55 2001, p 231-250.

Peterson proposes that "the ministry of theological librarians is analogous to the function of memory in the body of Christ" (231). He thinks that the "two fundamental activities of any library or librarian is preservation and access, which, of course, presupposes collecting" (231). This would be similar to the activities of storage and retrieval of the human memory. He uses this image to show how theological librarianship is a ministry.

In the first part he describes the theological librarian as a steward. The virtue of the steward is stewardship. Memory needs care and someone needs to care for it. Paul speaks of us being the stewards of the mysteries of God. Salvation history is a ministry as theological librarians must preserve this history. Paul writes that stewards must be found faithful. Without a memory we do not know who we are. It would be a disaster to lose the memory of all the great thinkers of the Christian church. The sad part is that many members of the church are unaware of many of these thinkers. It is a hopeful sign that some Evangelicals are becoming aware of the Church Fathers and people like Thomas Aquinas.

An example of preserving the memory of the body of Christ is the work of monks in the Middle Ages copying manuscripts that would have been lost without their work of preservation. I think of these monks as the saints of librarians. They show us an important part of our work. It is interesting that they preserved not only Christian writers but pagan writers too. We are in their debt.

No comments:

Post a Comment