Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
James B. Gibbs Lecture Notebooks, 1846

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, April 2012

Summary Information
Title: James B. Gibbs lecture notebooks
Creator: Gibbs, James B. (James Burnet), 1822-1850
Inclusive dates: 1846
Extent: 2 volumes
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 lectures, delivered by Yale professors Nathaniel W. Taylor, Chauncey Allen Goodrich, and J. Gibbs, concern a range of theological and philosophical topics, including the history and practices of Christianity, information about other religions, and contemporary philosophical thought regarding ethics and government.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1979. M-1854.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

James B. Gibbs Lecture Notebooks, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


James Burnet Gibbs was born in Norwalk, Ohio, on May 21, 1822, the son of David Gibbs and Elizabeth Lockwood. He graduated from Yale College in 1843, and entered Yale Divinity School the following year. In 1845, he received his license to preach, and he remained at Yale as a resident student until after the death of his fiancée, Tirzah M. Williams, in August 1847. He then returned to Norwalk and Hudson, Ohio, but finding himself in ill health, he temporarily moved south. He later returned to Ohio, where he died on August 3, 1850.

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.

Subject Terms

    • Apologetics.
    • Bible. N.T. Gospels.
    • Bible--Theology--Study and teaching.
    • Christian education.
    • Christian sects.
    • Christianity--History.
    • Clergy.
    • Ethics--Study and teaching.
    • Lectures and lecturing.
    • Missions.
    • Philosophy--Study and teaching.
    • Political science--Philosophy.
    • Revivals.
    • Theology, Doctrinal--Study and teaching.
    • Theology, Practical--Study and teaching.
    • World religions and beliefs.
    • Yale College (1718-1887). Theological Dept.
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Taylor, Nathaniel W. (Nathaniel William), 1786-1858.
    • Goodrich, Chauncey A. (Chauncey Allen), 1790-1860.
    • Taylor, Nathaniel W. (Nathaniel William), 1786-1858.
    Genre Terms:
    • Lectures.
    • Notebooks.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volumes   1-2  
    James B. Gibbs lecture notebooks,  1846
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The William L. Clements Library holds many additional materials related to the theological careers of Nathaniel W. Taylor and Chauncey Allen Goodrich.


    Dexter, Franklin Bowditch. Biographical Notices of Graduates of Yale College: Including Those Graduated In Classes Later Than 1815... New Haven, Connecticut: 1913.

    Eighth General Catalogue of the Yale Divinity School. Centennial Issue, 1822-1922. New Haven, Connecticut: Published by the University, [1922].