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Arthur Samuel Peake Papers

Date range: 1884-1929

Medium: Archive

Papers of Arthur Samuel Peake (1865-1929), biblical scholar and Primitive Methodist layman.

Peake was the first holder of the Rylands Chair of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis in the University of Manchester from its establishment as an independent institution in 1904. He was thus the first non-Anglican to become a professor of divinity in an English university.

From 1892 Peake had served as tutor at the Primitive Methodist Theological Institute in Manchester, which was renamed Hartley College in 1906. He was largely responsible for broadening the curriculum which intending Primitive Methodist ministers were required to follow, and for raising the standards of the training.

Peake was active as a layman in wider Methodist circles, and did a great deal to further Methodist union in 1932, three years after his death.

In the wider ecumenical sphere, Peake worked for the National Council of Evangelical Free Churches, serving as president in 1928, and was a member of the Conference on Faith and Order held in Lausanne in 1927. He published and lectured extensively, but is best remembered for his one-volume commentary on the Bible (1919), which, in its revised form, is still in use.

The collection comprises:

  • extensive family, academic and church correspondence;
  • correspondence on the Methodist Church and church unity;
  • correspondence relating to his publications;
  • press cuttings containing biographical information about Peake, articles and reviews by him, reviews of his own books, and obituaries and tributes;
  • manuscripts, typescripts and offprints of articles by Peake;
  • material on Hartley College;
  • notebooks and diaries;
  • miscellaneous notes.

The Library also has a small collection of books from the library of A. S. Peake.

Further information:

  • Catalogue available via Special Collections reading rooms.
  • Leslie S. Peake, Arthur Samuel Peake: a memoir (London, 1930).
  • Timothy Larsen, ‘A. S. Peake, the Free Churches and modern biblical criticism’, Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, vol. 86, no. 3 (2004), pp. 23-53.


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