Skip to main content
SERIES Identifier: UAI 15.866

Expositions of Scripture, 1708-1724, 1708-1724

Scope and Content

John Leverett's biblical expositions present his intellectual, religious, and moral thoughts and beliefs. Moreover, they are a reflection of the intellectual issues that confronted Harvard students at the end of the seventeenth century and the beginning of the eighteenth century. They are replete with biblical rhetoric and quotations, parables and metaphors, citations of ancient Greek and Roman poets and philosophers, logical techniques of argument, and discussions of the meanings of Hebrew, Greek, and Latin terms. Leverett published nothing during his twelve years as tutor and sixteen years as president of Harvard College. Consequently, researchers will find that these expositions are the only source of Leverett's reflections on various subjects.

Leverett's expositions consist of 106 sewn booklets. Most of them are 4 1/2 by 7 inches and consist of between 4 and 12 sheets. An index describing the contents of the volumes was created in the nineteenth or early twentieth century. This index assigned each booklet a number by which the booklets are referenced below; however, the booklets and sheets themselves are not numbered. The booklets are arranged numerically, rather than in chronological order. Some of the lectures are dated; however, it is difficult to determine whether the dates indicate the date of composition or of delivery.


  • 1708-1724

Conditions Governing Access

Fragile. Not available for research use. Use digital copies.


0.7 cubic feet (2 document boxes)

Historical Note

The presidential exposition of scripture was an important part of the training of seventeenth-and early eighteenth-century Harvard students. All undergraduates were required to assemble every Saturday morning in Harvard Hall to hear a lecture on a scriptural text chosen by the president of the College.

Processing Information

According to Samuel Eliot Morison, (Harvard College in the Seventeenth Century, Part II, p. 676) Leverett's expositions were originally contained in five bound volumes. The original bound volumes were arranged as follows: Volume 1, Expositions 1-21; Volume 2, Expositions 22-43; Volume 3, Expositions 44-68; Volume 4, Expositions 69-93; and Volume 5, Expositions 94-106.

At some point prior to the 2004 reprocessing, these expositions were disbound and placed in numerical order in acid-free folders.


Repository Details

Part of the Harvard University Archives Repository

Holding nearly four centuries of materials, the Harvard University Archives is the principal repository for the institutional records of Harvard University and the personal archives of Harvard faculty, as well as collections related to students, alumni, Harvard-affiliates and other associated topics. The collections document the intellectual, cultural, administrative and social life of Harvard and the influence of the University as it emerged across the globe.

Pusey Library
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
(617) 495-2461