James B. Gibbs lecture notebooks  1846
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of two volumes of lecture notes that James B. Gibbs compiled while he was a resident student at Yale Divinity School in 1846. The first volume contains approximately 520 pages of lectures on moral philosophy, natural theology, moral government, and evidences of Christianity. The second volume contains approximately 400 pages of Nathaniel W. Taylor's lectures on Revealed Theology, lectures by Professor J. Gibbs on Christianity and other world religions, lists of different kinds of materials within the Bible, and Chauncey Allen Goodrich's lectures on the duties of clergy and on religious missions.

Volume 1 (approximately 520 pages) concerns studies in both religion and philosophy. The first 262 pages are devoted to "Mental Philosophy," a series of essays or lectures on numerous topics about ethics and philosophy. Following are 25 pages on "Moral Philosophy," a brief course on philosophical principles that relate to theological studies. A discussion of moral government begins on the 26th page. The author often refers to the work of famous philosophers, including John Locke and David Hume. Further discussion of natural theology opens on page 74, with 20 lectures by Professor Taylor covering the next 100 pages. Pages 181 to 263 are devoted to "Evidences of Christianity," including answers to several anticipated objections. The volume has an index.

Volume 2 (approximately 400 pages) begins with 268 pages of lectures by Professor Nathaniel W. Taylor. The series, entitled "Revealed Theology," covers a diverse array of religious topics, including the history and intricacies of numerous Christian doctrines. These are followed by 21 lectures (43 pages) delivered by Professor J. Gibbs concerning theological study, including an outline of topics in theology and of its various branches. The first lectures concentrate on defining relevant terms, followed by several lectures on non-Christian religions, including Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Other material pertains to the practice of studying theology, and addresses topics such as the history of canonical Christian texts and the differences and similarities between the stories within the four Christian Gospels.

Following these lectures are 71 pages of supplementary lists and other material about the Bible and about non-Christian religions. Lists concern several specific topics about Christianity, such as events in the Bible, symbolism used in apocalyptic visions, and comments on outside theologians. The next 31 pages cover Professor Chauncey Allen Goodrich's lectures on Christian revivals, including the history of revivals and the philosophy behind them. The final sections, also delivered initially by Goodrich, concern the duties of "Pastoral Office," including information on some distinctions between certain Christian denominations and on running a congregation (25 pages), and discuss Christian missionary work (3 pages).

The front pages of this volume contain a brief note about Professor Nathaniel W. Taylor's death (March 15, 1858) and a portrait of Taylor. The final pages are an index to Taylor's lectures on revealed theology.

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