The Dr. T.Letis Collection

As promised for this Seminary library focus week, today we begin to introduce you to the Dr.Theodore (Ted) P. Letis collection of books. This is the special library the PR Seminary purchased in 2007 and which I have been working on to catalog and process since then (the books are all cataloged now and I have begun incorporating the majority into our Seminary library). Last September in connection with our Seminary’s conference commemorating the 400th anniversary of the KJV, we hosted an open house here at the Seminary and I was able to put together a special display showcasing the Letis collection. The pictures I post here are taken from that display. On the special poster board I made with information on Dr.T.Letis and the books, I also had a short history I drew up on the man and his books (see text below). I post that here too in its entirety for your benefit.

I trust this will better acquaint you with this wonderful library we were privileged to acquire. And I do hope it inspires you to come and visit the Seminary so that I can show you the books in this collection – especially the rare books (which I will begin to feature here for you tomorrow). But here’s a start! If you wish to view the pictures in larger form, simply click on them. And if you wish to pursue some more on Dr.Letis, there is a friend of his that has a website devoted to him and his materials; you may find that here.

A Word About Theodore P. Letis, Sr. and His Library

 It has been a little over six years ago (June 24, 2005) that Dr. Theodore P. Letis, Sr. was suddenly taken to glory after an academic career devoted to promoting and defending the traditional texts of the Bible, especially the Greek NT “received text” that lies behind all the major versions that sprang from the Reformation, including our beloved KJV. After his conversion to the Christian faith in the 1970’s, Letis was instructed and mentored by Dr. Edward F. Hills, himself an ardent defender of the traditional text behind the KJV, who would in many ways confirm Letis in his life work. His early academic career included receiving a B.A. in Biblical Studies and History from Evangel College and a M.A. from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. Letis became a Lutheran (Missouri Synod) Biblical scholar who earned an honors M.T.S. degree in American Church History from Emory University and his doctorate from the University of Edinburgh in Ecclesiastical History. He originated the Institute for Renaissance and Reformation Biblical Studies for the advance of his cause, and wrote and lectured widely on Biblical-textual subjects. He is the author of several books, including The Majority Text: Essays and Reviews in the Continuing Debate (1987), The Ecclesiastical Text: Text Criticism, Biblical Authority, and the Popular Mind (2000), and A New Hearing for the Authorized Version (2003).

Of special interest is the series of lectures Dr. Letis gave in Grand Rapids, MI in May of 2003. Here he spoke to over 650 people, including many Protestant Reformed members, on “The Quest for the Historical Text”. And, in connection with the Dead Sea Scroll Collection at the Van Andel Museum that weekend, lectured on “John W. Burgon: Rescued, Resuscitated, and Reconsidered” and “Edward Freer Hills: The Life and Times of a 20th Century Burgonian”. We have DVD recordings of these lectures as part of our collection.

Following his death some friends and supporters in the Grand Rapids, MI area purchased his entire library. Because these men knew Prof. David J. Engelsma, who was a personal friend and supporter of Dr.Letis, and knew that our Seminary would have an interest in the Letis collection, they offered it for sale to us. The Theological School Committee approved its purchase in 2007 and the books were moved to our Seminary shortly thereafter. Charles Terpstra was hired to work part-time sorting through and cataloging these books, and has been doing so since that time. In late August of this year (2011) he began working full-time in our Seminary library, devoting himself to finishing the incorporation of the Letis books into our main library, researching the work of Dr.Letis, and promoting the valuable resources from his collection. The display you see today belongs to that work.

Our purpose in this display is to help you see the great work of God through the Reformation in returning the Word of God to the people of God in their language. May He be praised and thanked for the glorious heritage we have received through the Reformers and their modern counterparts.

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I enjoyed your post on Dr. Letis works. Would it be possible to get his works on e-books? Thankful for your work and love of books.
    Yours in Christ,
    Mrs. Deb Poortinga


    • I didn’t see this comment until today, Deb, so I apologize for the delay. There are a few of his works available online, though not technically as e-books. Visit this site to find them:
      Thanks for your interest in books as well!


  2. […] Seminary Library is the care of the Dr.Ted Letis collection of books and resources (Start here with this post). As I continue my work of processing these materials I keep coming across new items which shed […]


  3. […] summer the focus of the library staff is on incorporating the books from the T.Letis collection into the main library. (I have done several posts highlighting this valuable collection, including […]


  4. […] months I had a few magazines to be bound and with that went a few of the rarer books from the Dr.Ted Letis collection that also needed rebinding. They have now been added to the Seminary library holdings, and that […]


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