Tarbets Loan Rare Works by Erasmus to University

Campus Life // November 9, 2018

Long-time minister David Tarbet and his wife Paula have placed on loan to FHU a 1522 Erasmus New Testament, third edition, and two Paraphrases (commentaries) by Erasmus. The Tarbets were recognized for their generosity during the Graduate Theology Research Symposium Nov. 2, 2018.

Dutch Catholic scholar Erasmus published the first of his five editions of the Greek-Latin New Testament in 1516. The third edition of Erasmus’ Greek New Testament (1522) was used by William Tyndale in his English translation and influenced other English translations, including the King James Version of 1611. Along with his influence on the history of the English, Greek and Latin New Testaments, Erasmus wrote on a number of other topics related specifically to Christian discipleship or human advancement in general. In addition to his five editions of the Greek New Testament (1516-1535), the symposium highlighted Erasmus’ Handbook of the Christian Soldier (1501) and Paraphrases on the New Testament (1517-1524). In part, the availability of the Erasmus materials determined the subject of this year’s symposium.

Previously, the Tarbets had donated their collection of rare Bibles and other manuscripts dating from the 1500s and 1600’s to the university. Because of their generosity, Bibles typically seen only in museums are available in Freed-Hardeman University’s Hope Barber Shull Academic Resource Center. Much of the David and Paula Tarbet Collection is on public display; some items, however, are kept in the university’s archives.

Tarbet said he began gathering rare Bibles because it occurred to him that many universities had such a collection, but none of the universities associated with churches of Christ had a significant number of rare Bibles.  “I decided to see if I could put such together with a view toward donating it to a Christian university,” he said. The couple chose to give the collection to Freed-Hardeman because three of their four children attended FHU.

Individuals may view or purchase photos of the Tarbet Bible Unveiling at