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Theology/Theology & Ministry Portal


Building the Collections

Starting Point for Theology Research

The Jesuit Tradition

Signature of St. Francis Xavier, Manuscript, Burns Library

The Burns Library has a number of resources for researching the Jesuit tradition:

Jesuitica Book Collection
Jesuitica Manuscript Collection
Books and manuscripts by and about the Jesuits, including anti-Jesuit writings, from the founding of the Society of Jesus in 1540 to the present, with a focus on the Pre-Suppression period, i.e., 1540 to 1773.  Totaling some 13,000 volumes, it is the largest, most comprehensive collection of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. 

Ratio Studiorum
The historic Ratio Studiorum, called "the Magna Carta of Jesuit education," lays out the educational method and system of the Jesuits. The Libraries created an electronic version of The Jesuit Ratio Studiorum of 1599 translated into English by Allan P. Farrell. 

O'Neill Library Theology Collection Emphases

Reflecting the history of the university and its theology program, the Theology Collection in O'Neill Library has been strongest in systematic theology, history of Christianity, and biography with strong emphasis on the Catholic and Jesuit traditions. Material on the Protestant denominations is also collected, although more selectively. During the past decade, world religions (in particular Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism), inter-religious dialogue, and ecumenism have become additional areas of collecting activity. The library also collects material suitable for supporting the many undergraduate courses offered by the Department. Selected devotional, spiritual, and popular works reflecting contemporary Catholic life are also collected.

Current E-Books

A growing percentage of newly published scholarly books are now available in both print and electronic formats. When selecting books in theology for O'Neill, e-books are preferred over print when they are essay collections and reference works because they are rarely read cover-to-cover and usage of such works is typically by individual essay or reference article which can be downloaded and printed. When selecting monographs, print is the preferred format. If a print or e-book has been added to the collection, users may always request acquisition of the title in the alternate format. Any e-book selected for the collection must meet the library’s selection criteria for e-books.

Theology and Ministry Library Collection Emphases

The collection at the Theology and Ministry Library (TML) supports the wide range of degree programs offered by the university’s School of Theology and Ministry (STM) and by St. John’s Seminary. The TML enjoys a unique relationship with New Testament Abstracts (NTA)(also available online), which surveys virtually all scholarly literature on the New Testament and related fields. Since NTA donates all reviewed copies of books and journals to the library, TML’s New Testament collection is exceptionally strong. Other areas of particular emphasis include: Hebrew Bible/Old Testament; Church history; ethics and moral theology; dogmatic/systematic theology; pastoral and practical theology; Patristics; liberation theology; Sacraments; and, spirituality, especially Ignatian spirituality. There is a very strong emphasis on the Catholic and Jesuit traditions, but Protestant scholarship is also collected selectively.

Acquisition Highlights

More on Collections

For more information about how the library collections at Boston College are being developed, go to the Collections page.

Help Us Build the Collections

Please feel free to recommend items for the Theology collections by e-mailing the Subject Librarian for Theology: Steve Dalton (Theology & Ministry Library).