Non licet esse vos. Such is the greeting which we anticipate from a
chorus of censors whose patience is exhausted by the steady growth of periodical
literature. We venture to meet them with the old retort: ideo negatis licere
quia vultis, non quia debuit non licere. While we strongly sympathize with
the refusal to tolerate an unnecessary increase of this class of publications,
we believe that in the case of our own venture we can establish a claim not
only to appear but to live.
No English journal hitherto has devoted itself exclusively to the furtherance
of theological learning. Theological contributions of great merit are scattered
through the volumes of our leading ecclesiastical newspaper, and of periodicals
which minister to the wants of the preacher and the exegete. The current literature
of Theology is discussed in more than one useful quarterly. Papers illustrating
Biblical archaeology or patristic literature have found hospitable shelter in
the Journal of Philology and the Classical Review, and the larger
pieces of scholarly work appear from time to time in Studia Biblica and
in Texts and Studies. We gratefully recognize the services which are
thus rendered to theological research. But we still desiderate a regular organ
of communication between students whose lives are spent, at the Universities
and elsewhere, in the pursuit of scientific Theology.
The Journal of Theological Studies is intended to supply this want.
It will welcome original papers on all subjects which fall within its province,
as well as shorter discussions /2/ or brief notes upon matters of detail. It
will print ancient texts which have not appeared in type, or which for any cause
may need to be printed afresh. A portion of its space will be given to summaries
and notices of recent literature, and it will review at length a few of the
more important works, in cases where a fuller examination may serve to contribute
to the knowledge of the subject.
Such a periodical will appeal in the first instance to professed students and
teachers of Theology. But its promoters will not lose sight of the requirements
of the increasing class of educated Englishmen, to be found among the laity
as well as among ministers of religion, who are profoundly interested in the
problems raised by Biblical and other theological studies. With this wider circle
of readers it will partly rest to determine whether we shall be permitted to
continue our undertaking, and both from them and from theological experts we
ask for a fair trial. We are content to be judged by the character of our work. Id non debet licere quod male fit, et utique hoc ipso praeiudicatur licere
quid bene fit.