The Library Collections

The Library is formed of a growing number of small collections:

  • The Kingdom of Heaven library of John Rogerson
  • The Caldecott Threshold Library
  • The Coleridge in Wales archive
  • Beauchief Abbey Press

The New Library is an Affiliated Centre of the University of Cambridge Centre for the Study of Platonism.

We’re currently discussing the acquisition of further collections relating to culture, theology, philosophy, interfaith and Wales.

THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN LIBRARY

The Kingdom of Heaven library is a central collection in the New Library. The books belonged to the Christian scholar and Anglican priest J W Rogerson. Since his death in 2018 John’s personal collection has been divided between Asbury Theological Seminary in the USA, Tyndale House, Cambridge and the New Library here in Wales.

The New Library collection focuses on the Kingdom of Heaven in the teaching of Jesus and its offer to society and church. This relational Christian tradition, placed at the heart of the library at Llantwit, seeks to affirm people as spiritual beings and offer good, simple information and welcoming spaces so the generous offer can be explored in many differing walks of life and across a wide range of religious traditions.

ABOUT JOHN ROGERSON

John William Rogerson was born in London in 1935 and educated at Bec School, Tooting, the Joint Services School for Linguists, Coulsdon Common, where he completed an intensive course in Russian, and the Universities of Manchester, Oxford and Jerusalem, where he studied theology and Semitic languages. He was ordained in 1964 and served as Assistant Curate at St. Oswald’s, Durham. From 1964 to 1975 he was Lecturer, and from 1975 to 1979 Senior Lecturer in Theology at Durham University before moving in 1979 to become Professor and Head of the Department of Biblical Studies at the University of Sheffield, retiring in 1996. He was made an honorary Canon of Sheffield Cathedral in 1982 and an Emeritus Canon in 1995. In addition to many essays and scholarly articles, his published books include Myth in Old Testament Interpretation (1974), Psalms (Cambridge Bible Commentary, with J. W. McKay, 1977), Anthropology and the Old Testament (1978), Old Testament Criticism in the Nineteenth Century: England and Germany (1984), The New Atlas of the Bible (1985, translated into nine languages), W. M. L. de Wette. Founder of Modern Biblical Criticism. An Intellectual Biography (1991), The Bible and Criticism in Victorian Britain. Profiles of F. D. Maurice and William Robertson Smith (1995), An Introduction to the Bible (1999, 3rd edition 2012), Theory and Practice in Old Testament Ethics (2004), According to the Scriptures? The Challenge of using the Bible in Social, Moral and Political Questions (2007), A Theology of the Old Testament. Cultural memory, communication and being human (2009), The Art of Biblical Prayer (2011), On Being a Broad Church (2013), Cultural Landscapes and The Bible. Collected Essays (2014). He was awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinity for published work by the University of Manchester in 1975, and has also been awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Divinity by the University of Aberdeen and the Honorary Degree of Dr. theol. by the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität, Jena and the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg im Breisgau.

John Rogerson’s work has reached an world-wide audience

Writing about John Rogerson in the Church Times, UK, the leading theologian and Oxford scholar Prof. John Barton* notes:

JOHN ROGERSON is an Old Testament scholar of amazing learning, versatility, and skill in exposition, notable also for his commitment to applying biblical insights to the demands of the modern world. Areas covered include social anthropology, sociology, the history of biblical interpretation (Rogerson probably knows more than anyone else in the English-speaking world about the history of German scholarship), philosophical issues relating to the Bible, and biblical translation. Everything is suffused by Rogerson’s academic rigour, philosophical sophistication, and, above all, commitment to social justice. For me, one of the most interesting points that Rogerson makes concerns the difference between German and British approaches to the Bible — arguably as evident now as it was in the 19th century, and a cause of much misunderstanding of “the Germans” in Anglo-Saxon theology and church life. Rogerson writes:

“It is personal experience of a liberating God, who can be glimpsed in the deepest feelings of the human soul, and in the processes of history, and whose reality is confirmed in the biblical record of God’s dealings with his people, which record is also a means whereby God becomes a living reality to the believer."

* John Barton, Church Times, 18 September 2015, p.18

THE CALDECOTT THRESHOLD LIBRARY

The Caldecott Threshold Library is a bequest made by Leonie Caldecott in memory of her late husband, the Catholic theologian Stratford Caldecott.

Stratford Caldecott died in 2014 leaving behind a large library of books, a substantial collection of which has now found a home at the Christian Heritage Centre at Stonyhurst College. A great many other books and resources used in the work of Stratford and Leonie Caldecott are now made available to a wider readership through the New Library in Llantwit Major alongside the Kingdom of Heaven collection.

The range of interests that Stratford and Leonie Caldecott shared over nearly four decades were quite eclectic, reflecting many phases of their common religious quest, and personal relationships that developed over the years; for example with the poet Kathleen Raine and her circle. The review Temenos, which Kathleen Raine helped to create, sought to explore the cultural wealth buried in the great religious traditions. This and other publications such as Parabola, Logos, Epiphany, and Stratford and Leonie Caldecott’s own journal of faith and culture, Second Spring, are all part of what is considered a modern awakening of the ‘wisdom’ tradition.

The Caldecott Threshold Library collection at the New Library offers a multitude of resources for the religious seeker, as well as an ntroduction to the mind and living legacy of Stratford Caldecott’s life. This legacy is not univocal or restricted to any one religious view-point, for he was interested in all paths taken by people in a sincere quest for Truth. Stratford and Leonie Caldecott found their spiritual home in the Roman Catholic Church, and both remained passionately interested in all perspectives that seek to reclaim the sacred ground which is essential to meaningful human life.

Stratford Caldecott was in dialogue with people of many faiths, and he also explored the meanings of scientific, philosophical and aesthetic connections with religion. The books and journals in the Caldecott Threshold Library reflect entry points to the journey of Stratford and Leonie Caldecott and are imbued with their common interest in all sources of wisdom: from neo-Platonism to the modern Christian writers, from medieval mystics to Perennialist thinking. The books found at the New Library serve as thresholds to the true, the good, and the beautiful: the pearl of great price in which Stratford Caldecott invested his whole life.

ABOUT STRATFORD CALDECOTT

Stratford Caldecott, MA (Oxon.), STD, FRSA, was an author, publisher, and editor. He was educated at Dulwich College and Hertford College, Oxford. He worked for many years as a Senior Editor at Routledge, HarperCollins, and T&T Clark, and served on the editorial boards of CommunioThe Chesterton ReviewOasis, and the Catholic Truth Society in London. After founding the Centre for Faith & Culture, he organised and spoke frequently at conferences, taught at a number of colleges and universities, and wrote and published widely on Christian apologetics, theology, and cultural themes. His writing was published in books, magazines, and newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic, including TouchstoneThis RockParabola, Columbia magazine, StAR, and the National Catholic Register. In his final years he was appointed G.K. Chesterton Fellow at St Benet’s Hall, Oxford, and worked with his wife Léonie as the editor of Magnificat, Second Spring journal, and Humanum, the online review of the John Paul II Institute in Washington DC, of which he was the founding editor. In 2013 the Institute awarded him an honorary doctorate in recognition of his work for the Church. Stratford passed away after a battle with cancer on 17 July 2014.

Stratford Caldecott

‘Work’ by Ford Madox Brown 

THE COLERIDGE IN WALES ARCHIVE

The Coleridge in Wales archive explores landscape, aesthetic, intellect, identity, economy and community as expressed in daily life, both historically and in contemporary Welsh culture. It consists of books, papers and art collected during the creation and delivery of the 2016 Coleridge in Wales festival. Preparations for this eighty day festival began in 2013, engaging with communities, institutions and individuals across Wales to explore how the legacy of the neglected work of the 19th century writer, poet, journalist, theologian, critic and philosopher Samuel Coleridge could be placed in dynamic relationship to landscape, community and identity in historic and contemporary Welsh culture.

The resulting travelling festival in 2016 began with an historic sailing vessel visiting the coast of South Wales as the ship of the Ancient Mariner, an exhibition and lectures at the National Museum of Wales and National Library of Wales and participation across Wales from thousands of people in villages, towns, cities and from all walks of life. It finished with a festival of new thinking at the annual National Eisteddfod.

The archive brings fresh insight and celebration into the culture of Wales.

The Beauchief Abbey Press

The New Library is the home of the Beauchief Abbey Press. The Press supports the New Library’s educational, cultural and community programmes by offering public and academic access to high quality writing and books on relational Christian traditions. Beauchief Abbey Press books are aimed at a readership interested history, spirituality, church and faith and also, importantly, for people not connected with faith traditions who seek accessible, good information about the role and offer of faith in contemporary society, or for people from non-Christian faith traditions who seek insights into the active dynamics of traditional, relational Christian faith.

Beauchief Abbey Press was founded in 2013 to create books of a scholarly and devotional nature expressing the practical offer of relational Christian theology today in culture, society and faith. It features books by the internationally renowned Old Testament scholar John Rogerson offering short, honest, open, accessible, contemporary reads.

A series of classic re-prints  makes available to modern readers books from writers of the past who also served these relational Christian themes. Their writing, and lessons learned from these texts, remain relevant for today’s society. These Beauchief Abbey Press re-prints bear witness to a strong Biblical faith culture that sought to strengthen public understanding, enlightenment and reconciliation. 

The Library Prayer:
For thy great and tender mercies, we give thee thanks