Christian ethereal classics

Christian ethereal classics DEFAULT

Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

The mission of the CCEL is to build up the church by making classic Christian writing available and promoting their use.

posted on October 26, 2011

The Christian Classics Ethereal Library is a digital library of hundreds of classic Christian books selected for edification and education. The online server reaches several million different users each year.

CCEL texts are stored in our own Theological Markup Language, which is an XML application. Texts are converted automatically into other formats such as HTML or PDF.

Suggestions are available on how to use the CCEL books. One form of meditation commonly used with these books is called Lectio Divina.

Additional information about the CCEL is available:


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Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL)

Medieval content details:

Dates: 100 - 1600

Includes texts into the modern period.

Subject: Apocalypticism, Christology, Church Fathers, Clergy, Confession, Penance, Conversion, Ecclesiology, Eschatology, Heretical, History, Mariology, Mendicants, Monasticism, Monks, Moral, Ethics, Mysticism, Nuns, Papacy, Piety, Priests, Bishops, Canons, Reform, Religion - Institutional Church, Sacramental, Saints, Scriptural Exegesis, Theology, Trinitarian, Women Religious

Type/Genre of Medieval Primary Source Material: Commentary, Gloss, Exegesis, Devotional, Doctrinal, Hagiography, Religious Texts, Rules, Scripture, Sermons, Orations, Textual Evidence, Treatises

Geopolitical Region: Africa, British Isles and Ireland, Europe, France, German Lands, Iberian Peninsula, Italy, Low Countries, Middle East

Original Language: Greek, Hebrew, Latin

Includes hundreds of medieval authors, including Augustine, Jerome, Aquinas, Anselm of Canterbury, Bonaventure, Bernard of Clairvaux, and many others, as well as theologians from the 17th-20th centuries.

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CCEL Christian Classics Ethereal Library

First Epistle of Clement to...First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians (MP3 CD)
4.15 avg rating — 230 ratings — published 90 — 23 editions
A Short and Easy Method of ...A Short and Easy Method of Prayer
3.99 avg rating — 108 ratings — published 2007 — 34 editions
CCEL Classics CD: works by ...CCEL Classics CD: works by Saint Augustine, John Calvin, John Donne, Julian of Norwich, Brother Lawrence, Martin Luther, Saint Teresa of Avila, Thomas Aquinas, Thomas a Kempis, John Wesley, and more!
it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 2 ratings — published 2006 — 2 editions
Eternal old Praise songs - 2 Hours Non Stop - Best Worship Songs All Time #GHK #JESUS
Contains the full text of hundreds of the best Christian books ever written, including Bible study tools, Early Church Fathers, and novels.


The Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL) seeks to build up the church by making classic Christian literature widely available and promoting its use for edification and study by interested Christians, seekers and scholars. The CCEL accomplishes this by selecting, collecting, distributing, and promoting valuable literature through the World Wide Web and other media.

*** Note: The CCEL is not maintained by the Hekman Library. Please visit their website to contact them or use this service.

Link to resource: Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL)

Fulltext available: Books


Classics christian ethereal

Christian Classics Ethereal Library

Digital library and website

Type of site

Digital library
OwnerCalvin College
Created byHarry Plantinga
CommercialNo (see text)
Launched1993; 28 years ago (1993)

The Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL) is a digital library that provides free electronic copies of Christianscripture and literaturetexts.


CCEL is a volunteer-based project founded and directed by Harry Plantinga, a professor of computer science at Calvin College. It was initiated at Wheaton college in 1993[1] and is currently supported by Calvin College. It includes

The purpose of the CCEL is simply "to build up Christ's church and to address fundamental questions of the faith." The documents in the library express a variety of theological views, sometimes conflicting with those of Calvin College.[2]

CCEL stores texts in Theological Markup Language (ThML) format and automatically converts them into other formats such as HTML or Portable Document Format (PDF).[3] Although they use mainly Public Domain texts, they claim copyright on all their formatting.[4] Users must log into their website to download all formatted versions of the text.

CCEL is funded by advertisements, sales of cd-roms (available since 1997), sales of some books not freely downloadable, and individual gifts. Calvin College has also provided them with space, network access, and significant financial support.[2][5]

As of 2006, the library was recording about 200,000 page views per day and providing about 2 TB of information (equivalent to over a million books) in a month.[2]

A 2002 reviewer acknowledged that while the site is "intended to be a basic online theological library," it was actually much more valuable than that: it is "a treasure of primary sources for anyone teaching Western Civilization or more specialized courses in medieval or Reformation history." They also specifically noted that the ability to search the music "for specific note patterns" was valuable to musicologists.[6]

As of 2005, the primary users of the library fell into three main categories. These are university professors and their students using texts from the library as required reading without running up the students' bill for textbooks, people preparing sermons and Bible studies, and those reading for individual edification.[7]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

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This digital repository offers primary sources in the public domain of all aspects of the history of Christianity. It is especially strong in the areas of the church fathers from Augustine through Aquinas as well as the Reformations of the 16th and 17th centuries. The site thus contains full-text versions of most of the major writings of the most significant individuals in the history of the Christian church translated into English. At present there are more than 850 different texts available (with more added virtually every week) in full-text format online. The site is constantly being revised with new titles added every month. All texts are fully searchable with an easy-to-use search tool on the home page (users can even use Boolean operators), so specific phrases, titles, names, or subjects can be instantly located, matched, and extracted from the overall library. In short, as the website itself says, this is intended to be a basic online theological library.

It is really much more than that, however, because history students not only have access to most of the principal theological texts in the history of Christianity, they also have access here to many of the major historical documents of the history of the West. For example, there are versions of the Bible and the Psalms, not to mention copious correspondence, creeds, catechisms, and liturgies; and there are also many literary classics on the site, including the full text of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Thus, this is a treasure of primary sources for anyone teaching Western Civilization or more specialized courses in medieval or Reformation history.

Because of the search engine on the site, some of the longer texts are actually more useful online than in print form. Digitized versions of Augustine’s City of God, Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologica, and John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, for just a few obvious examples, offer many possibilities that printed versions do not. Students can instantly pick out many examples of how Augustine and Calvin use terms like grace or predestination. Or they can quickly see what Augustine, Aquinas, and Calvin had to say about sex and marriage. Because these texts are so long, few instructors would ever ask their students to read these texts in their entirety. But online, students can browse and roam in them with ease, making them much more accessible to students as historical sources. At the other extreme, many of the shorter texts included in the online library are out-of-print and unavailable in any form except in major research libraries. Thus, the library makes things available to students that they would otherwise have no access to at all.

While the collection is extremely good (and still growing), it does not pretend to be complete. Students of the Reformation, for example, have many of the major writings of Martin Luther and John Calvin in the collection. But there are few writings from the secondary reformers such as Philip Melancthon, Theodore Beza, and Martin Bucer. Nevertheless, this is still quite easily the best single location of source materials in English for the Reformation period online.

Other bonuses to the site include music, audio books, and facsimile reproductions. The music collection alone is a huge library of hymns and other church music, again fully searchable not only by text but also by musical keys and themes. While not all of these are available in audio, many are, and the ability to search for specific note patterns in the music itself is a boon to musicologists. There are also a number of texts that can be listened to as well as read. Essentially “books on tape,” these texts allow students to hear how the language might have sounded. This is especially effective for some of the sermons. Finally, many texts have been reproduced as facsimile images as well as scanned texts. Students can see what a contemporary edition of a 16th-century book looked like and can learn much from title pages, typography, etc.

There are also texts in six foreign languages, with most being in Latin or Russian. There is a particularly good collection of materials on the Russian Orthodox Church.

As is indicated on the site, the Christian Classic Ethereal Library is heavily visited, with more than 20,000 users making per day from countries all over the world. It is very interactive, with a variety of ways to contact the authors, who happen to be faculty from Calvin College in the departments of Computer Science, Mathematics, and Theology. The authors have several projects currently ongoing and even ask for help from any user who wants to participate. Perhaps best of all, almost the entire library is also available on a CD-ROM, which can be purchased for only $29. It is regularly updated, like the online library itself.


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