Browse Exhibits (2 total)

Documents from the First Decade of Southern Methodist University


Originally exhibited May 15–August 28, 2013
Entry Hall


To honor the centennial of Southern Methodist University, Bridwell Library presents from its archival holdings eighteen documents produced between 1911 and 1920 which offer insights into the development of the university and its School of Theology.

The training of ministers and other church leaders was an important part of SMU’s founding vision. In 1915–1916, the university’s opening year, thirteen students enrolled in the Bachelor of Divinity degree program, twelve students enrolled in the theology certificate program, forty-seven undergraduates took courses at the school of theology, and eighteen Dallas-area pastors took continuing education extension courses.

To learn more about the history of Perkins School of Theology, please consult these works:

Allen, Joseph L. Perkins School of Theology: A Centennial History. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 2011.

Grimes, Lewis Howard, and Roger Loyd. A History of the Perkins School of Theology. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1993.

Patterson, Stanley, and Ruth Patterson Maddox. Building SMU, 1915-1957: A Warm and Personal Look at the People Who Started Southern Methodist University. [Lewisville, Texas]: Odenwald Press, 1995.

Thomas, Mary Martha Hosford. Southern Methodist University: Founding and Early Years. Dallas: SMU Press, 1974.

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Jean Calvin (1509–1564): A Quincentenary Exhibition


July 14–December 8, 2009
Entry Hall


The sixteenth-century theologian and reformer Jean Calvin exerted immense influence on the character and practice of Western Christianity. Born in Noyon, a small town in the Picardy region of France, Calvin was educated at the Collège de Montaigu in Paris and completed his law studies at Orléans in the early 1530s.  His Institutio Religionis Christianae (“The Institutes of the Christian Religion”), the first published systematic statement of Reformed theology, appeared in 1536 and was followed by four revised and expanded editions issued during his lifetime. Settling in Geneva, Calvin promoted the Reformation both locally, through ecclesiastical discipline and the introduction of vernacular catechisms and liturgy, and internationally by means of his numerous publications.  The influence of Calvinism was particularly strong in Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, and among the Puritans in England, Scotland, and colonial North America.

Central to Calvin’s reforms was the primacy of scripture in faith and practice, the doctrine of God’s sovereignty and benevolence in Christ, and the necessity of discipline within the Church. His theological knowledge, exegetical skills, and clear and precise writing style contributed to his success promoting the transformation of the Church and to his status, along with Luther, as the most significant author of the Protestant Reformation. He produced a large and important body of writing including the Institutio Religionis Christianae; translations of the Old and the New Testaments; commentaries, sermons, and lectures on the Bible; polemical works; and an immense body of correspondence. This exhibition commemorating the quincentennary of Calvin’s birth provides a brief introduction to the man and his work through his translation of the Bible and commentaries on the Old and New Testaments, English editions of the Institutio Religionis Christianae, and images of the author.

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