Browse Exhibits (2 total)
Originally exhibited September 8–December 11, 2009
The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries
This exhibition highlights Bibles from the collection of Elizabeth Perkins Prothro (1919–2009), who donated nearly five hundred volumes in more than fifty languages to Bridwell Library in 1996. One of Southern Methodist University’s great benefactors, Mrs. Prothro was the daughter of Joe and Lois Perkins, whose generosity endowed Perkins School of Theology. She graduated from SMU in 1939, one year after her marriage to Charles N. Prothro (1918–2001) of Wichita Falls. In 1962, a Bridwell Library exhibition of fifteenth-century printing inspired her to collect rare books. Her husband’s gift of six early volumes for their twenty-fifth anniversary on January 14, 1963 laid the foundation of a remarkable collection that reflects Mrs. Prothro’s life-long love of scripture and a connoisseur’s appreciation of historically significant editions.
Bridwell Library hosted the first exhibition of the Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Bible Collection in 1966. In 1990, one hundred Bibles from her collection were featured in the inaugural exhibition in The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries, given by her husband for their fiftieth anniversary in 1988. Donated to Bridwell in 1996, her Bibles have played important roles in many of the library’s exhibitions, including small exhibits marking her honorary SMU degree in 1996 and the rededication of Perkins Chapel on her birthday in 1999. Sixty of her Bibles were shown in a ten-year anniversary exhibition in 2006, for which her family donated additional early Bibles in her honor.
The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Bible Collection invites continual use at Bridwell Library. The Bibles appear in many exhibitions and are shown regularly to visiting groups, examined by students, and consulted by scholars from around the world. The collection will continue to inspire future students of the Bible, its history, and its lasting influence.
Originally exhibited December 8, 2009–April 24, 2010
Books have played a central role in the ongoing dialogue between science and religion since the beginning of written communication in the West. Scientific authors of the Classical past were relatively successful at gaining official approval of their writings, and their authority was accepted implicitly by medieval Christian scholars. However, conflicts arose both as Renaissance scientists developed new methods of empirical testing and as the printing press allowed the rapid circulation of new ideas without Church endorsement. Revolutionary theories about the nature of the universe and humanity’s place within it set many leading scientists in opposition to the conservative positions of the Church. While many scientific works were placed on the Index of Prohibited Books, science was not necessarily anti-religious. During the Enlightenment, many important works of science were inspired by a desire to reconcile the tenets of the Christian religion and the new scientific explanations of earthly and heavenly phenomena.
The books in this exhibition fall into four categories: works that show the cooperative sharing of scientific texts between religious groups; scientific treatises by leading medieval church officials; writings in which scientists and the clergy came into direct conflict; and publications intended to reconcile biblical teaching and scientific method.