Ancillary to the numerous vocational hats he dons, Terry Pruett has amassed a collection of antique Bibles and artifacts. An ordained minister, he serves as administrator of a mission board encompassing several Southern Oregon counties. He also oversees ten churches, and maintains a faculty position at Pacific Bible College.
Two years ago almost unexpectedly, Pruett launched his hobby -gathering Bibles and "leaves"-pages salvaged from ancient books. "I went on line one day and Googled something about antique Bibles," he said. "Up popped a leaf from the Geneva Bible." He started his collection with that leaf dating back to 1611. "I paid $17 for it," he said. "Most leaves I’ve bought cost around $25."
Pruett explained that the Geneva Bible was the one the Pilgrims brought
from England to the New World. At odds with English Royalty, they held
little regard for King James. He also mentioned that the Tyndale New
Testament produced in 1552 preceded the King James translation
published in 1611.
As for the number of antique items he
owns, Pruett says he has kept approximately one-hundred. "I don’t
always keep everything I buy," he said. " Some I’ve given away to
friends." He also obtained two leather-bound editions of both
testaments printed in 1632 and 1682. Ironically, pages in some of his
oldest books remain in better condition today than others printed
centuries later. "Back then, publishers used acid-free paper in
printing," he says. "But around the 18th century, they started using
acidic paper that falls apart when you turn pages."
also owns Hebrew Torah scrolls, and leaves printed in Hebrew. He
showed sections of a Cherokee language Bible, and a so-called "blind
Bible" that pre-dated Braille.
"(Hymn writer) Fanny Crosby probably used this Bible," he said. "She became blind at age three."
He plans to include many of his acquisitions in a display to begin December 3 at Eagle Point Library.
former resident of Alaska, Pruett relocated to the Rogue Valley in
2001. He incorporates his antique artifacts into a power-point
presentation that explains how we got our Bible.
request, the Reverend takes that program to churches, schools,
community clubs, youth groups, camps, and libraries. More information
can be found at www.thepruetts.embarqspace.com.
By F. C. Blake
of the Independent