The Center and Library for the Bible and Social Justice connects biblically informed activists and justice oriented scholars through a research library and educational programs in order to develop an empowering use of the Bible for enacting social justice today.
The Center and Library currently consists of a first-class collection of books and periodicals in biblical studies and other fields germane to its mission, including exegesis, hermeneutics, history of biblical interpretation, theology, social ethics, practical theology, social sciences (sociology, anthropology, political science, economics, social history), and the history and practice of social activism. Archival and digital collections will be added to the library’s holdings in the future.
The Center and Library serves the needs and interests of those on both sides of the present divide between academic biblical study and peace and justice activities. It welcomes scholars and students engaged in the study of biblical social settings and biblical perspectives on social justice. Likewise it attracts activists, educators, community organizers, clergy and laity seeking biblical resources for their various involvements in restorative justice and peacemaking. We aim to create a synergy of theory and practice in a dynamic educational climate that makes full use of the Center and Library resources.
To foster this creative interweaving of theory and practice, we have initiated an ongoing educational program of lectures, seminars, and conferences on topics and problems central to the social critical study of the Bible and to an empowering use of the Bible for enacting social justice today. The educational programs bring scholars and activists together in dialogue and collaboration on joint projects.
The initial library holdings were donated from the libraries of three retiring faculty in Bible and related disciplines. As word of this project spreads, it is expected that other donors will emerge. As funding for the undertaking is secured, books will be purchased to supplement the donated volumes so that the collection remains up-to-date.
The Center and Library is located at Stony Point Conference Center of the Presbyterian Church USA, located approximately 40 miles north of New York City, which provides facilities for housing and maintaining the library and educational program, library space, residential facilities, and adequate quarters for carrying on the educational program attending the Library.
In addition to the central facility at Stony Point, we support satellite centers holding smaller collections accompanied by educational programs committed to peace and justice seeking. The two satellite centers presently in mind will be located at the Newark School of Theology and the People’s Seminary in Washington State. Other locations may emerge in time. Since the books donated to the Center and Library will certainly include multiple copies of some volumes, duplicates and triplicates will be routed to the satellite centers.
In launching this Center and Library, we take notice that there does not appear to be a comparable center or organization anywhere in the country. To be sure, there are many centers for spirituality and some devoted to social justice as well, but we know of none committed to the specific linkage between the Bible and social justice. We hope to provide resources to nurture biblically informed activists and justice oriented scholars. We believe that the Center and Library will connect and cross-fertilize the projects and activities of scholars, students, clergy, activists, and community organizers who currently tend to work separately and without the rich resources and insights they are capable of offering one another.