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Luce Foundation Awards Princeton Theological Seminary $1.5 Million for `Digital Commons’ Project

The Luce Library at Princeton Theological Seminary.
The Luce Library at Princeton Theological Seminary.

The Henry Luce Foundation has awarded Princeton Theological Seminary a grant of $1.5 million to expand the seminary’s Theological Commons, a project to develop a digitally connected global library of theological resources.

Princeton Seminary created the Theological Commons in 2012. The Commons is a free public digital library of more than 75,000 books on theology and religion.

The project, designed from the ground up with students, pastors, and theologians in mind, will establish partner relationships with theological libraries and communities in North America, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The goal is to provide resources to enable study for a theological degree in countries where such resources are too costly to acquire.

Although it is powered by advanced technology, the purpose of the Commons is simple and straightforward: to make religious resources in multiple media easily accessible to researchers worldwide.

The Luce Foundation, established in 1936, has supported Princeton Theological Seminary in various endeavors, including providing the seminary with an endowed professorship, collaborating in the development of the now independent Center of Theological Inquiry, supporting numerous fellowships, and helping launch the seminary’s Asian American Theology Program.

“We are deeply grateful for the Luce Foundation’s generous support of our mission,”  Princeton Seminary president M. Craig Barnes said. “Together we are committed to providing excellent theological education and service to scholars and religious leaders here and around the world.”

The grant for the Theological Commons  is one of the Luce Foundation’s 75th anniversary awards.

“In awarding the seminary one of our few 75th anniversary grants, the foundation’s board of directors noted that the Theological Commons represents a convergence of this historic relationship with 21st-century innovation, bringing the best of traditional scholarly resources to new audiences through current technology,” said Michael Gilligan, president of the Henry Luce Foundation. “With a major grant to support the development of the Theological Commons, the Henry Luce Foundation is honored to support Princeton Theological Seminary’s pioneering efforts in scholarship and service.”

Princeton Theological Seminary, founded in 1812, is the first seminary established by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church. The seminary enrolls more than 500 students a year and its 11,000 alumni are from all fifty states and many nations around the world.