Friday, January 18, 2013

The Kean Room Mural: An interpretation

The Kean Room in the library was once simply the room below the Pilling Room (where the Ph.D dissertations reside).  It held government documents back then.  Much further back, when the Rose Library first opened in 1939, and decades thereafter, until the Learning Center was added on in 1982, it was the library lobby, the grand space first encountered on entering the building.  With the transformation of that space into the Kean Room, some of that old grandeur has returned.

In fact, the Kean Room would take us back further than 1939, to before there even was a library at Drew, or Drew at all, to 1836, the year recalled by the expansive mural painted on the south wall by New Jersey artist, Daniel Mulligan. The painting shows at either end of the wall Mead Hall and the New Jersey State House as they might have looked in 1836 (around the time Mead Hall was built), in tribute to the career of Governor and President (of Drew) Tom Kean, who presided at different times at both places.  In between the buildings is painted a continuous expanse of natural beauty: trees, fields, deer, mountains in the distance.

The room is effectively a time machine.  The realistic appearance of the two buildings--and of the humans and horses that activate the setting, the grazing deer and the trees and clouds that quieten it--is an illusion.  For the mural suggests that Mead Hall and the New Jersey State House occupy a shared landscape within a brief walk (or gallop) of each other.  In fact, it is just a few steps from the eastern side of the wall, where Mead Hall is painted, to the western side, where the State House sits.  This unrealistic juxtaposition supports a non-literalistic read of the picture, or at least suggests multiple levels at which it might impress the viewer, much like a Bible passage interpreted, as the medievals would have, at three or four levels: the literal, the moral, the allegorical, and/or the mystical.

For anyone attuned to the early allegorical readings of Genesis rendered by Philo of Alexandria, numbers are allusive.  The painting read allegorically invites enumeration.  For instance, in the State House setting there are six horses, and in the Mead Hall setting seven humans.  Within a biblical economy of time, six connotes work and seven, redemptive rest.  And so we have, not the four horses of the apocalypse, but the six horses of productive labor fueling the energies of the governmental State House; and the seven humans of Mead Hall engaged in the solitary or paired reflection, let us suppose, on themes of redemption, as several years hence (from 1836) the seminarians sojourning in Mead Hall (when it had become Drew Theological Seminary, in 1867) would indeed be doing.  A visual pun helps make the point about the reflective activity of the seven humans: just in front of Mead Hall, a small pond quietly reflects its image. (No such pond reflects the State House.) Such a read is what we might well hear from Philo, if he could be transported forward to our time.

But there is also the moral (non-allegorical) reading.  The juxtaposition of Mead Hall and the State House provokes reflection on the relation between college and community, education and state, learning and governance.  Some of the objects on display around the room, from the career of Tom Kean, nurture those thoughts.  But for me, the artist leads thought elsewhere.  For by a switch of perspective, much like what happens in an optical illusion, such as the Necker Cube, the two buildings recede into the background of a pastoral scene that highlights trees, clouds, and prospects onto a far, horizon-trending distance--away from education and state, from Drew, from "the world" entirely.  (What encourages this reading are the colors of nature in the mural (as opposed to those of the buildings)--blue and green, the official colors of Drew University.)  Perhaps this is the mystical read of the picture.  We should not forget the dual and inter-related secular and religious meanings of: "pastoral" or that 1836, the year the painting evokes, was also when Ralph Waldo Emerson published his ground-breaking (for American transcendentalism) mystical allegory, NatureMore paint is expended on the clouds in this mural, wending their way along the whole top of the wall and nestling between the intervening doors, than on either of the buildings.  And clouds for their part do enjoy a painterly tradition of attention to their varying forms.  Daniel Mulligan's clouds can take their place with Constable's.  Whatever the weather outside, the Kean Room clouds communicate their hope in and perhaps even witness to another and better world.

For excellent photos of the Kean Room and its mural, see the Fall 2012 issue of the Library's newsletter, Visions.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Sabbatical Summer

A Sabbatical Summer

Sabbaticals are partly a misnomer, since they are not for absolute rest, but merely for rest from the accustomed rounds.  This past summer I enjoyed a 14-week sabbatical from my library work that allowed me to finish writing a book long in process, and to begin another that will also likely take a long time.  In these days of the Instantaneous, increasingly an ideal even in what for so long has been the painstaking labor of research, long-term projects do seem to belong to another world—the world of the sabbatical or perhaps more simply of the Sabbath rest, however we are open to experience that.  Long-term projects move only very slowly to their conclusions, so as to seem almost motionless, at rest.  My inspiration for these projects is a rosary bead in the Cloisters museum of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is only a 15-minute walk from my home.  A wooden bead on display there holds inside its tiny space a fully realized carving of the Crucifixion.  It is not that motionless long-term projects are crucifying; it is that each sentence or footnote added to the project, if it is indeed a book, feels like the barely visible pinky finger on one of those tiny figures in the minute complexity of that rosary bead scene.

The finished book is entitled: Philosophical Spirituality: From Ecclesiastes to Simone Weil.  It is a study of how some of the standard philosophers encountered in introductions to western philosophy classes, such as Descartes, Spinoza, Kant and Hegel can be read for guidance they provide to the spiritual life.   But not all those included are really standard philosophers—certainly the two of the title are not, but hopefully they serve to skew expectations away from standard readings of all these thinkers, towards the sense of the sacred they may all have carried, but which is not often the focus of interpretations of them. 

The other book, only just started, carries a tentative title: A Liminal Space: Between Judaism and Christianity.  The aim of this book is to imagine what western religion would have been like if Judaism and Christianity had not separated in antiquity; for it is generally agreed that they did.  What is increasingly argued, though, is that they need not have.  It was less theological or spiritual pressures that caused what is sometimes called “the parting of the ways” than pressures of self-definition, of identity, that were only resolved by the parting.  Suppose the identity had been allowed to languish or even suffer in tension, in suspension?  Might it have never split?  I like to think philosophical currents from the ancient world, especially Alexandria, might have worked in binding ways across what later became the two religions, whose names, after all (Judaism and Christianity) are in some ways quite artificial.  If only wise old Adam could be invoked to name the religion that might have existed if Judaism and Christianity had not parted—he after all was really the master of nomenclature.  Did he not name things into their full being, only begun by the divine?

If Ecclesiastes, that great philosopher, was right to imply that there are too many books, then perhaps it will be a grace for the first of these books not to be published and the second not ever to be finished.  Time will tell.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Welcome DMin Students (Summer 2011)

The Library joins the Seminary in welcoming DMin students to campus. Your work fills a very important role in the literature of theology: you connect theoretical concepts and models to the practical challenges of ministry. You apply critical intellect to what the Hebrew language calls: tikkun olam.

Our first advice to all Drew students: Enjoy the beauty of the setting here. The trees at Drew, which dominate the campus, have personalities of their own and, as Jewish philosopher Martin Buber taught about trees generally, enter into I-Thou relations with those who stop to notice them. Walk the campus, the many paths, and especially The Path, which connects the main campus to Green Villa apartments--it is an ideal, wooded path that gently undulates and fosters walking-meditation. You may encounter friendly deer!

Our second advice: Be prepared in your studies to have long-held assumptions questioned. The Library participates in this self-questioning daily. We, as most libraries, think of ourselves as a sanctum of learning and discovery. But where do all the books we house come from? Most of them derive from those very things we venerate on our campus: trees. Books are in that sense corpses of the once-living, or, as they have been called, "Felled Trees and Toxic Ink."1 The Library nonetheless persists in hoping that this shame does not discourage use of the books. We do, however, hold it up as the kind of contradiction that besets all serious thought.

We know that many of our students come from afar and do not have ready access at home to university libraries. Thankfully, more and more reliable scholarship is available online to aid distance students in their research. Here is a brief beginning bibliography of online sources. Two key databases for DMin students will be Research in Ministry, which indexes most DMin dissertations written in the U.S. and Canada, and Dissertations and Theses (find it listed alphabetically on this list), which offers up the fulltext, online, of many D.Min theses (and most of the Drew theses). Academic theses of any kind (Ph.D, M.A, D.Min, PsyD) are excellent sources of bibliography. Of course, students will want to consult the old, reliable ATLA index--always the starting point for religious research. The Library suggests a number of other useful online resources, including several online encyclopedias. Note especially Oxford Scholarship Online,which contains the fulltext of hundreds of books in religious studies.2

We are proud of a new service our ever-active Interlibrary Loan department is offering. If you live a distance from campus, and need a journal article or book essay in the library's print collection of books and journals, let us know and we will scan it for you and email it to you. Here is the form to fill out. To make sure you qualify for this service, click here.

While on campus, visit the Baldwin Room in the Library, in the northeast corner of Level E (a flight up the steps when you enter the Library). That's where all the past D.Min theses are filed, by year, and within year by author last name. You can borrow these, if you like. But do not think to slavishly copy one! Each author's inspiration is her or his own.

Students new to recent methods in research may like to take our online tutorial. Anyone who takes time to complete the tutorial will be ready to go with their research! A brief review of the research process is also available. Here is a summary of available library services. And here is the page we'll follow in the library orientation sessions on the afternoon of Monday, July 18, which the library staff anticipates with pleasure!

1. Rachel Donadio, "Saving the Planet, One Book at a Time," New York Times, July 9, 2006, Book Review section.

2. When accessing Library databases from off campus, you'll be prompted for your Login ID and password.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

New faculty publication!: Polydoxy

The Library is pleased to announce that it has received its copy of Polydoxy: Theology of Multiplicity and Relation, co-edited by Drew professor of Constructive Theology, Catherine Keller, and Laurel Schneider, professor of Theology, Ethics and Culture at Chicago Theological Seminary. This volume comprises essays based on presentations made at the 9th Transdisciplinary Theological Colloquium (TTC), an annual event at Drew Theological School. The colloquial origin of the essays accounts in part for the spirit of community they evince, but this also owes in large measure to the appreciation the authors collectively have for the very multiplicity and relation cited in the sub-title. The authors know each other's work and cite it (which does not invariably happen in multi-author collections of essays). Among the 12 authors, Laurel Schneider cites Catherine Keller, who cites John Thatamanil, who cites Mayra Rivera, who cites Sharon Betcher, who cites Laurel Schneider...--in a circle of citings that includes many additional mutual citings (and sightings!) embracing the other authors. The authors do not simply discuss multiplicity and relationality, they realize it before our eyes.

A helpful introduction introduces a third term to what might have been a mere complementarity of multiplicity and relation: "Unknowing" (p. 4), and it is under those three headings (Multiplicity, The Unknown, and Relationality) that the twelve essays are arranged. The three terms together mark a range of value that does not so much oppose as dis-enclose (to quote Rivera quoting Jean-Luc Nancy, p. 175) orthodoxy, the counterpoint to the polydoxy of the book's title. If Orthodoxy is, as Marion Grau simply and lucidly characterizes it, the "lifting up of one particular opinion as true" (p. 218), then polydoxy is the co-existence--or better, co-habiting--of multiple opinions. As counterpoint to orthodoxy, polydoxy accompanies it with possibly and indeed hopefully harmonizing alternatives, as Roland Faber indicates when he segues from polydoxy to polyphony (p. 41). The coinage of "polydox," though not entirely new (Rabbi Alvin Reines had used this term to name the non-dogmatic and open-to-atheistic Judaism he developed and promoted in the late twentieth century), dis-encloses itself in a plurality of meanings, even without the "poly" prefix. For doxa all by itself can mean, as Rivera explains, "opinion, view, or judgment" (p. 168). But then, by a curious twist of biblical translation, whereby the Hebrew kabod became doxa in Greek, a whole new range of meanings unfolded for the term out of the Hebrew: weight, honor, beauty, power, manifestation--as in the Glory (or manifestation) of God. And Rivera's essay is indeed an exploration of how doxa in this wonder-inducing sense can alternatively energize or enervate those who receive it.

A philosophically (Platonically) inflected meaning of doxa, which demeans it, as mere opinion, in contrast with certain knowledge (p. 168), pushes the argument for polydoxy forward. For here is where the Unknowing enters in. The uncertainty that the Platonic doxa on doxa implies becomes its appeal to polydoxic sensibility. A previous TTC had explored the paradoxical affinity of apophatic teachings about the divine with the reality of multiple, related bodies. And a preference the authors show, apart from the interest some of them have in the Trinity (the editors, Lee, Thatamanil), is for that name of God that, from the Christian heritage, is most elusive, indeterminate and difficult to speak authoritatively about: Spirit. In the index, ably compiled by Beatrice Marovich, Spirit receives the longest entry (and God, none at all.) (Never underestimate the communicative value of a good index!--yes, to quote the Acknowledgments, "brava Beatrice"!).

Now to turn from the doxa to the poly--polydoxic thinking crosses boundaries of space and time. The essays here draw from geographically diverse traditions, in Africa (Yoruba), East Asia (Neo-Confucianism), South Asia (Hinduism and Buddhism, Jainism), Native North America, and Latin America, in the essays respectively by Coleman, Lee, Thatamanil, Brianne Donaldson, Schneider, and Rivera. From within the western Christian tradition, we receive here sympathetic new readings of old favorites, such as Hegel (Lee), and Augustine (Rubenstein), and an original reading of a lesser-known primed to become a favorite for some: Anne Conway (Keller), a 17th century thinker who herself polydoxically interlinked Cambridge Platonism, Quakerism, Kabbalah and Leibniz. The aim here is not plurality for its own sake, but discerned analogies, parallels, complementarities, potential dialogues across difference. Hyo-Dong Lee and John Thatamanil explore these explicitly as they appear between the Christian trinity and Asian religious thought. But the essays also interrogate each other, if only implicitly. Haloes are a theme for both Roland Faber and Mayra Rivera; Monica Coleman's reading of Tananarive Due's novel The Living Blood includes thoughts on hurricanes that speak across the intervening chapters to Colleen Hartung's reflections on tornadoes; while theft, whether as trickery or tragedy, becomes a bridge of potential conversation between Coleman and Schneider.

But if one idea impressed itself most on this reader, it is that the very notion of identity is itself an artifice that need not draw our allegiance. The essays collectively suggest an analogy between identity and orthodoxy. But if polydoxy is the counterpoint to orthodoxy, what plays that role to identity? These essays offer up a family of terms for what this might be: permeability (Schneider, p. 32); indetermination (Faber, p. 41); "the borderline where the I emerged from its matrix" (Betcher quoting Erik Erikson, p. 76); the membranous (Keller, p. 96); ecstasy, in its most literal sense (Rubenstein); emptiness (Lee, quoting Cheng Yi, p. 130); blindness (Hartung); and Jean Luc Nancy's term, already via Mayra Rivera: dis-enclosure. Life in the space marked by these terms is something Roland Faber limns for us at the close of his essay. It is not necessarily an easy place to be. It is something like the place Levinas describes before a self that is hears or beholds the approach of the Other. Sharon Betcher suggests it is just from this space that the ligatures of urban conviviality and friendship open up. But what sustains us in this space before that happens or if indeed it fails to happen? Well, in part, words of such essays as these. If, as Laurel Schneider enjoins us to do, and as Monica Coleman demonstrates in her attentions to fiction, we remember "the innate agency of stories" (p. 31), we may find that more emerges from that quarter to sustain than we imagined--and that more than meets the eye is, or can function as, story. The agency of story can even emerge in that holdout of orthodoxy: the creed. I, for my part, have always loved the sound of the Nicene Creed, which is partly story, even if, from my perch in the religious world, I do not pronounce it myself. Perhaps the authors of this volume, in a future collaboration, will share polydoxic readings of that polysemic and polyphonous string of words, whose flowing cadences may indeed reach far beyond the bounds of that orthodoxy they were originally framed to serve.

Polydoxy is cataloged with the call number BR41 .D74 2011, which places it in the old Cornell Room (Level E). Readers of this volume may be interested in the published essays of other TTC's, listed here, all of which are available in the library. Books of kindred spirit may be found cataloged under these subject headings:
Theology of Religions (Christian Theology)
Christianity and Other Religions
Process Theology
Religious Pluralism
Enter any of these terms into the catalog search box click on the Subject button, and a list of books will appear.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New book by Drew faculty!: Spiritual Formation

The Library is pleased to announce that it has received its copy of Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit, by Henri J. M. Nouwen, with the editorial and integrative help of Drew faculty Michael J. Christensen and Rebecca J. Laird. The editors have richly enhanced the bibliography of Nouwen, with this volume, as it incorporates much previously unpublished material, including sermon notes, and texts of public addresses and sound recordings. The book seamlessly integrates these with published writings not otherwise easily accessed, and frames the whole with a Preface and Appendix by the editors. Michael Christenesen studied with Nouwen at Yale Divinity School, and the bond between author and editors is itself part of the book's spiritual message: echoes of our earthly pilgrimage (Nouwen died in 1996) continue to sound in the communities of friendship we have formed. The book is the second of a planned trilogy, of which the first, published in 2006, is Spiritual Direction. The projected third volume will be entitled Spiritual Discernment.

Part of the intimacy the book models stems from the shifting reference of the personal pronoun, I, which mostly refers to Nouwen, but sometimes (in the Preface) to Michael, and sometimes, more generally, to the reader, when Nouwen projects towards our thought about ourselves. The little word, I, becomes a meeting ground for author, editors and readers, and so begins to realize the book's teachings on community. At the same time, readers who listen to the sound of that little word will begin to hear its homonym, "eye", which points to a distinctive teaching of this work, about visio divina. A complement to the ancient tradition of lectio divina, or contemplative reading, this "postmodern practice of visio divina" (p. [137]) is a prayerful seeing stimulated especially by icons or iconic paintings and sculptures. At the center of the book are several beautifully reproduced color artworks, from as far apart in time as Andrei Rublev and Vincent Van Gogh. These artworks coordinate with the seven movements of the spirit that name the chapters of the book, beginning with, "From Opaqueness to Transparency" and ending with, "From Denying to Befriending Death." Each of these movements is a practice to perform, in concert and unendingly, for we are never wholly established at the desired pole of, for instance, transparency. The book supplies both readings and visuals to help the seven processes along. It is designed to be read in community, but will also enrich the spiritual life of the solitary reader.

Nouwen was a poetic writer. In context of his teaching about the heart, as the locus of spiritual life, his open question, "What do you know by heart?" (p. xviii) connects spiritual work to memory work. And indeed, "the prayer of the heart" (p. 31) is a prayerful phrase from memory, "repeated throughout the day." Nouwen also supplies etymologies that deepen the meaning of words, for example: person, which "comes from the Old French, per-sonare, which means 'sounding through'" (p. 11). We are most personal when our soul sounds through our words and deeds.

Nouwen does not conceal from us the "ungodly spirits that haunt our souls" (p. xxi), parading under a mask of goodness. He warns that our very efforts towards goodness may conceal lingering resentments. The spiritual life is not free of ambiguity. "Real ministers are powerless servants who offer gifts of availabilty and hospitality" (p. 91). At the same time, "ministers need training so they won't become victims of the selfishness of others" (p. 90). Nouwen's nuanced reflections on this point prompt the reader towards a keener self-discernment: in any given act towards goodness, am I being more minister or victim? Perhaps it is possible to be both at once.

In any number of different ways, this wise book will find its way to the reader's heart. For this reader, stories, images and ideas from the book interweave with memories of beloved spiritual classics, in a pattern of mutual strengthening. For instance, the story of the "old priest ... [who] complained for too long that my work was constantly interrupted, until I discovered that my interruptions were my work" (p. 65) evokes George Bernanos' Diary of a Country Priest, where the young protagonist, also a priest, voices a similar complaint, but learns over time the same lesson.* Or again, Nouwen's notion of a beauty in ourselves we cannot see unless another sees it first (p. 13) recalls a character from Tolstoy's War and Peace, Princess Maria, whose own beauty shone forth only when she wasn't seeking it herself.** And anyone who has been to the movies recently, to see "Eat Pray Love", will recognize Nouwen's image of the "descent from the mind into the heart" (p. xxv), from having seen it pictured, in that movie, in a Bali work of art.

Henri Nouwen was a prolific writer. Some of his books gather in the library at the Dewey Decimal number 248.4, but, interdisciplinary as he was, no one classification number can hold the breadth of his work. Browse searches in the library catalog turn up 43 books by Nouwen and 19 about him, located at a variety of places in the library. In addition, Drew students will want to hear the 2010 Henri J. M. Nouwen Lecture in Classical Spirituality, "The Road to Peace: The Wisdom of Gospel Nonviolence from Jesus to Henri Nouwen," by Fr. John Dear, on Monday, Sept. 27, 2010, at 7:30 in Craig Chapel.

*"Yes I pray badly and not enough. Almost every day after mass I have to interrupt my thanksgiving to see some parishioner." George Bernanos, Diary of a Country Priest, tr. Pamela Morris (New York: Carroll and Graf, 1965), p. 102.

**"The Princess never saw the beautiful expression of her own eyes--the look they had when she was not thinking of herself." Tolstoy, War and Peace (Plain Label Books, 1952), p. 183.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Welcome, New Students!

The library joins the seminary in welcoming all new students in the Theo School and the GDR! The new academic year always brings together two different trajectories, a circular one and a linear one. Students are on a linear track, towards the goal of a degree, while staff, faculty and administrators are on a circular track that returns to its beginning each Fall. It's a good combination, because a (tiny) circle and a straight line together make an exclamation point, a feeling of excitement!, as this lovely little book shows.

Those of us who work for educational institutions hope we have something helpful to share: a body of knowledge, a way of thinking, a useful service, an attentive ear. But a fact in which we needn't hope, because the reality of it is sure, is that each fall the new and returning students restore hope in our work. You are the other half that makes us whole, and we like to think the reverse is also true, at least for now, while you are here, and to some extent.

Keats called Fall the "Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness." Mists are a paradoxical thing. They can be agents of deliverance, as they were in the Trojan War, according to Homer, when, sent by a god, they protected a hapless mortal from harm (see question 4 on this quiz). But they can also work towards concealing something we would rather see. A dialectic of concealment and revelation informs some aspects of learning, especially where questions of deep identity are concerned. Our hope is that from this delicate dialectic a "mellow fruitfulness" will emerge in our conversations, our studies, and perhaps even our research in the library. The library staff is available to help in whatever ways we can.

As a start, we commend to your bookmark list this page from the library website, which links to several services we offer.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Browsing versus Keywording

A lament sometimes heard in the age of electronic research is that browsing is no longer possible as it once was, say, in library card catalogs. Fingering the rows of cards in the long wooden drawers, which might be devoted in one half of the catalog to authors and titles, and to the other half to subject topics, led to unexpected surprises. Many of these wooden catalogs were sold as collector's items, and now do indeed collect a variety of small things in private homes. Decades ago, the cards in the catalog were handlettered in a distinctive library script, which was taught in library schools. How sad to have lost even a simple but clear hand-lettering such as this. (Though several staff members in the Drew Library write a beautiful script.)

But in fact, the concept of browsing still exists in online library catalogs and periodical databases. A researcher browses, in this sense, when she locates herself in an ordered list of terms or numbers, in which she can move up or down. Anything so orderable is browsable: titles of books, names of authors, call numbers, subject topics. In catalogs and databases, the ordering is alphabetic in the case of author names, book titles, and subject topics, and numeric in the case of Dewey Decimal call numbers; it is alphanumeric in the case of scripture citations. For instance, if I browse-search in the Drew catalog for the title of a book, I find myself in a very long list of all the titles the library owns. So browsing can also be a way to take the full measure of a library or database, to see all the books it owns, or all the journals it indexes, or all the authors whose works it contains.

Most catalogs and databases offer a button for browse searching. If you click on that, you are primed to scan alphabetic or numeric lists. For example, if you are in Browse mode, and search for a subject term, you will be placed in the alphabetic list of subject terms that catalog or database uses to describe items, at just the point your search term occurs in the list. Or, if your term does not occur there, you'll be placed at what would be its alphabetic neighbor. From there, a single click on the term usually takes you to citations for whatever items (books or articles) are associated with that term in the catalog or database.

Browsing is useful when you aren't sure if a database recognizes your search term; or if you're unsure of a spelling (as in the case of author names). Browse searching can also give an overview of a topic, and show how it subdivides. This is especially useful when researching a broad topic like, say, Good and Evil. A browse-search for the subject, Good and Evil, within the Drew catalog shows it subdivided by: History of Doctrines, Psychological Aspects, and Religious Aspects. A browse-search can also locate a topic in a larger context. For example, browse searching the list of scripture citations in the ATLA Religion Database will retrieve articles that discuss your verse or pericope both by themselves and in larger contexts of verses. For example, if I browse-search for Genesis 1:1 in the ATLA scripture citation index, I learn that there are 30 articles on Gen 1:1, 7 articles on Gen 1:1-2, and 3 articles on Gen 1:1-10. Browse searching the subjects in the Drew library catalog shows me the complex way the library describes books about Genesis 1:1, like this: Bible O T Genesis I:1 (that's a Roman numeral for the chapter, and an Arabic numeral for the verse). The catalog shows me that there is one book on Gen I:1-3, but many commentaries and interpretations on chapter I as a whole, and still many more on larger sections of Genesis that include the first verse.

Keyword searching follows a different logic. In this case, I am simply matching a term I feed the database to terms already in the database. Keyword searches retrieve the records in the database that contain the search term I fed it. If I limit my keyword search by Author, I retrieve records that identify my search term as an author name; if I limit my keyword search by Subject, I retrieve records that identify my term as a subject topic. If I leave my search unlimited, I retrieve records that contain my term in any way at all, as author, title, subject, or in any other way (for example, as the name of a publisher, or the title of a chapter in the book).

The Drew catalog invites both browse and keyword searching. Keyword searching is the default mode. If you want to browse-search, click the Browse button at the top of the catalog. You can Browse-search Authors, Titles, Series Titles, Periodical Titles, and Subjects. If, from Browse-searching, you want to return to Keyword-searching, click the Keyword button along the top of the catalog. Within the Keyword mode, you can limit your search by Author, Title, or Subject, or, leave it unlimited, and search throughout all the records, by clicking on the second Keyword button that appears beneath the search box. It is important to distinguish between the two Keyword buttons. The one above the search box is in distinction from browse searching. The one below the search box presumes you are performing keyword searches, and simply executes an unlimited search (in distinction from a search limited by Author, Title, or Subject).

Be on the look-out for browsing options in the databases. ATLA allows many kinds of browsing--by author, title, journal title, subject, scripture citation, for instance. Access to these is via the Indexes button that appears along the top of the screen. You'll find a browse option in America: History and Life also via the Indexes button. The social science databases (PsycInfo and SocIndex) go one better than that, and offer a thesaurus of subject terms used in those indexes. In Soc Index, the button for that is Subject Terms; and in PsycInfo, it is Thesaurus.