The Oak Centre Collections

One of the unique aspects of the Oak Centre project is our commitment to preserving the integrity of
the collections we are assembling at the Centre, while at the same time using the latest in digital
technology to curate the collection as a unified whole. In this manner, while each collection has
unique attributes that may accelerate research in particular fields, each collection also has a breadth
of subject matter that will stimulate broader reflection on the relationship between faith and culture.
We have at present three additional collections that we are planning to house at the Centre over the
next two years. We are also in discussion with several institutions in the region that may wish to
house their specialized collections at the Oak Centre. Our first primary collection is the life work of
Ted Beverley (See biographical notes). In the comments below, Ted lays out the core logic that
guided the growth of his collection.

The Logic of the Beverley Collection – by Ted Beverley

Sometimes only in retrospect does it become clear why something developed the way it did. This is the case with my collection of books, articles, and VHS and DVD collections. I started out wanting to find answers to questions I had about history, philosophy, Christianity, science and religion, literature, and the culture developing around me. Gradually it became clear there is a deep interlinkage between these broad subjects. For example, to understand Christian theology one needs to know the
biblical text and the philosophy used in a particular theology. So, for Augustine it is Plato; for Aquinas it is Aristotle; for Luther, it is Ockham’s nominalism. The overall logic of the collection can be divided into five major sections:

Within Christianity there are books in the collection dealing with history, theology, Mesopotamian thought and culture, Old Testament commentary and studies, Second Temple Judaism (about 500 BC to 70 AD), Qumran writings, and New Testament commentaries. In the New Testament era are books dealing with the historical Jesus and Christ of faith issue, Paul’s letters, theology and controversies on his work, and books on eschatology. Each period in Christian history is covered: early church (about 90 to 600 AD), Medieval (600 to 1500) Reformation (1500 to 1685), Protestantism & Catholicism from 1600 to the present. Works by major theologians from these periods along with studies on them: many church fathers of the early church, medieval theologians like Anselm, Aquinas, and reformation theologians Luther, Calvin and on down to 20 th -century theologians like Tillich, Pannenberg, Barth, Bonhoeffer, Norman Geisler, Helmut Thielicke, Thomas Oden and others.

Christian and western non-Christian philosophers’ works and studies are covered. On the Christian philosophers are Gilson, Maritain, Alvin Plantinga, Geisler, Kierkegaard, Lonergan Non-Christian philosophers are Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Spinoza, Hume, Leibniz, Reid, Locke, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Heidegger, Lowith, Hannah Arendt and Sartre to name just a few. There is also a generous collection of histories of philosophy by Gilson, Copleston, Routledge Press, Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, and Anthony Kenny. Many Western philosophers are covered; sometimes all their works are available, but the major works are certainly available in the collection. Following each philosopher’s works are studies dealing with major themes in their writings and some have biographies on them. Also, there are works covering the theological aspects or implications of these authors’ work from a variety of perspectives.

Historical studies make up a large section of the collection. All major eras of Western history are covered with a large concentration of books devoted to the 19th and 20th centuries. This is because the ideas of the 19th century were turned into the realities of the 20th century: often horrible realities like experimentation on humans, the holocaust, and the devastation wrought by two world wars. Two of the worse forms of government arose from 19th -century ideas: Nazism and Communism, both variants of socialism.

The development of the sciences: the collection covers the development of science in its main divisions with a primary focus on cosmology, physics, and biology. Attention is also given to the philosophical foundations and philosophical implications of scientism, in its many forms. A significant section of the collection covers fundamental issues on the relationship between science and religion, and the role of various philosophies of science in the development of various forms of evolutionism, creationism, and the shift to intelligent design concepts. Additional attention is also given to the use Nazism made of evolutionary theory, evolutionary ethics, eugenics (founded by Darwin’s cousin Francis Galton), and euthanasia which came to be fused with 19th-century racism and anti-Semitism to create the conditions for the Nazi holocaust, death of handicapped, and other racially so-called inferiors. Unhappily some of these movements have made a comeback under different names: eugenics is gene therapy or genetic engineering, or transhuman to use a postmodern term. Euthanasia is called merciful death, death with dignity, and compassionate release from excessive suffering. Several excellent authors in the collection on these issues are Richard Weikart in his Evolutionary Ethics: from Darwin to Hitler, Hitler’s Ethics, Hitler’s Religion (best English study), and Death of Humanity (an examination of the collapse of Western ethics in the French enlightenment down to current trends). Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, and George Mosse.

Literature makes up the last major section of the Beverley Collection. Here attention is given to ways in which literature is rooted in and expressive of key developments in the four major subjects dealt with in this collection. Representative literature from the Ancient Near East, Canaanite, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman to early Christian, medieval, and Reformation writings make up a significant part of this section. In the modern era, there are a large number of science fiction works, as well as Russian works by Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Books by H. G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke, Jules Verne, Arthur Conan Doyle, C. S. Lewis, Tolkien, Brothers Grimm, George McDonald, and Chesterton are well represented.