I have tried to avoid writing too many posts of the following sort, out of concern that they would be unhelpful or uninteresting to most readers. But the problem of resource availability has been on my mind lately... instigated in its present iteration, I think, by Robert's comments on interlibrary loan services. So bear with me if the particulars of this post are irrelevant to you. You may still be interested in my introductory remarks, and may resonate with "the chase" in its narrative aspects even if your own bibliographic pursuits are taking you elsewhere.
Apart from books that are in print or otherwise widely available, a good deal of the textual material used by the deeper-digging scholar is going to be difficult to find. This may be because a text is terribly old yet not one of those lucky Digitized, or because it is an orphan secondary source from more recent decades. Scholarly journals from previous centuries (as I'll mention below) can also be a huge pain to track down unless your library has a pretty extensive collection. You'll find (some of) them in digitized form, but the (lack of) cataloging work on them is so bad that one can only make heads or tails of dates and issue numbers with some difficulty.
Big projects to make texts available should of course be supported. We need more volumes digitized, more reprints available, and more sophisticated ways of sharing amongst libraries. But it's also imperative to foster a less sophisticated network of sharing. Small libraries, the grooming of physical book collections, showcasing one's treasured acquisitions... all sound quite antiquated and are usually associated with those Luddite backwaters continuing to dismiss the digital humanities. I don't understand why that needs to be the case, though.
In "Unpacking My Library", Benjamin writes, "Even though public collections may be less objectionable socially and more useful academically than private collections, the objects get their due only in the latter." He is speaking here of the appreciation inherent in personal ownership of objects, but I would argue that books get their due from the less efficient private circumstances of hoarding and sharing in another sense as well. Such smaller-scale curating opens up knowledge of these books as much as it closes them off. The researcher grasping for clues in various library catalogues and database searches will appreciate the odd bibliographic glimpse when it comes along, and register the information in their own inner catalogue of texts to be recalled. These texts aren't a part of my private collection, but my story of pursuing them is something of a private recollection that goes beyond the vocation of a public collection.
So, following are bibliographic notes on two texts that I have run across or failed to run across in various formats: Johann August Ernesti's treatise on the threefold office of Christ, and Johann Friedrich Röhr's review of Schleiermacher's 1820/21 Glaubenslehre (as well as, by extension, the journal in which it was published).
Johann August Ernesti, de Officio Christi Triplici (1768, 1773, etc.)
Ernesti's treatise is often cited as a marker for general dissatisfaction with the doctrine of Christ's threefold office on the basis of the ambiguity introduced by metaphorical language to the doctrine of atonement. The work is easily enough found included in his Opuscula Theologica (1773) pp. 411-438. The original 1768 edition is barely extant and I haven't found it at all online. What I didn't realize until a few weeks ago was that Ernesti's treatise was also translated into German and published in 1775.
I stumbled upon a reference to a Gedanken über einige Stücke in der Lehre von Jesu Christo by Ernesti and was suspicious about the topical similarity, so I checked into it. The page length seemed wrong considering the Latin was less than thirty pages, but it turned out that the publications was actually two essays: "Ueber die Genugthuung Jesu Christi" and "Ueber das dreifache Amt Christi." These essay titles are not going to show up in any catalog. In fact, even the Gedanken by Ernesti might not show up in a catalog. A number of the (few) worldwide holdings for this title are bound with a 1790 work by Johann Friedrich Jacobi. The copy at the University of Chicago is actually bound between Jacobi's work and a German translation of Edward Gibbon. Luckily, the catalogers at the University of Chicago know what they're doing and actually have separate bibliographic records for Jacobi, Gibbon, and Ernesti that all cross-list to the same LC number. Otherwise, when I went to the catalog with the alternate Ernesti title and a mere suspicion in hand, I would have reached a dead end. Ueber das dreifache Amt would be hidden under the Gedanken, which in turn would have been hidden under the completely unrelated title by Jacobi.
Following are some pictures of the volume. I have not been able to find the German translation digitized anywhere. You can see that in a few places a reader has corrected or expanded upon Ernesti's citations. I haven't gone back to the Latin to see if it was an original mistake or one made in the 1775 version (or, for that matter, whether the redactor was the one mistaken).
Johann Friedrich Röhr,“Besprechung Schleiermachers Glaubenslehre", Kritische Prediger-Bibliothek 4 (1823), 371-394, 555-579.
This search has been less successful. Röhr was a rationalist theologian and editor of the journal Kritische Prediger-Bibliothek. It was in this venue that he published his review of the first edition of the Glaubenslehre in 1823. Schleiermacher knew and worked with Röhr in other editorial capacities, although he didn't think much of the latter's review of the Glaubenslehre.
The review is reprinted in the critical edition of Schleiermacher's works, KGA 7.3, pp. 505-523 (I've mentioned the usefulness of KGA 7.3 in a previous post). Some of the later volumes of Kritische Prediger-Bibliothek are easy enough to find in the United States, and the easiest way to do so is the link through Harvard's library to the digitized versions (as I said above, you can find these by searching through Google Books, but the metadata on these searches is so awful that it takes a good deal more sorting out). I have not had any luck finding any of the volumes from the 1820's, though. If you're studying in Continental Europe you may have more luck. The journal is listed in a number of German universities, but it's listed as a serials title and I'm not sure what individual issue holdings are available.
So in the case of Röhr's review we can benefit from the prominence of Schleiermacher's work in modern theology and the surrounding literature that it draws to the fore as a result. But everything else published in the Prediger-Bibliothek during the 1820's remains relatively inaccessible. There may not be anything groundbreaking in this collection of texts, but surely some published sermons or editorials of the period would be useful to scholars. Which is, again, why I find this sort of bibliographic note-taking worthwhile. No current readers of the blog may have any immediate need for this information, but someone who is searching for one of these texts a few years from now could stumble upon my remarks and make a connection to the material that otherwise wouldn't have happened – despite all of the hard work that libraries, Google, and publishers are doing to get the work out there.