Pitts is thrilled to launch a new window to its world renowned collection of rare books and archives, the 30 Day Display! Housed on the main entry level of the library, the 30 Day Display highlights a new rare book or archival item every month, complete with a state-of-the-art, customized exhibition case and digital display. The Emory community and beyond is invited to drop by the library to view the item on display (find Visitor Policies here).
This month features our first edition of John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes upon the New Testament (Bristol, 1755). When John Wesley wrote his Explanatory Notes upon the New Testament, he had retired to Bristol in 1753 because of his deteriorating health. Facing the possibility of the end of his life (though he would live for nearly four more decades), Wesley thought the timing was right for a project of so great importance. He wrote his commentary for an “unlearned” audience who “reverence and love the word of God, and have a desire to save their souls.” To aid in this goal, Wesley made “the notes as short as possible that the comment may not obscure or swallow up the text: and as plain as possible.” His notes also drew heavily on other sources such as Johann Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti and Philip Doddridge’s Family Expositor. One of the rare features of this work was the image of Wesley in the frontispiece, which emphasizes his role as Fellow of Lincoln College. In the image, a younger Wesley wears a clerical uniform with the Geneva tabs and is shown with his original hair. A Bible sits on the table while he holds another book with his crossed hands. This engraving by John Downes (1722-1774) was an adaptation of the 1742 painting by John Williams. Later, Wesley would promote his Explanatory Notes along with his published sermons as doctrinal standards for Methodist preachers.
Check out this item on Level 2, and stay tuned for March’s 30 Day Display feature coming soon!