MTSU Honors lecture students receive ‘rare’ opportunity with Remnant Trust books on loan

Jan 28, 2022 at 06:32 am by Voice Wire

Honors College Coordinator Tatum Hochstetler and Associate Dean Philip Phillips scan one of more than 20 rare books on loan from The Remnant Trust at Texas Tech University
Honors College Coordinator Tatum Hochstetler and Associate Dean Philip Phillips scan one of more than 20 rare books on loan from The Remnant Trust at Texas Tech University

Thanks to a personal connection MTSU Political Economy Research Institute Director Dan Smith has with Lubbock, Texas-based The Remnant Trust, MTSU is the recipient of rare books and manuscripts on loan for University Honors College students to utilize with the annual Spring Lecture Series.

 The valuable books and papers include “The Consolation of Philosophy” (Boethius), “Machiavelli the Prince,” bibles, Sir Isaac Newton’s “The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy,” Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” and more for a lecture series called “Exegesis” — “a term more usually found in religious studies, but in our case, though, it refers more broadly to ‘the critical explanation or interpretation of texts,’” said Philip Phillips, Honors College associate dean.

 Beginning Monday, Jan. 31, the lectures will take place at 3 p.m. every Monday except March 7 (spring break) through April 4 in Honors Room 106. They have been a staple each fall and spring for more than two decades, featuring topics and presenters from multiple disciplines on and off campus. To view a schedule — with dates, presenters and topics — go here.

 “We are using ‘Exegesis’ as a way of pulling together the diverse books from the disciplines of philosophy, economicsbiblical/religious studiesphysics/astronomy/history of scienceearly European literature/poetrypolitical sciencewomen’s studies and history that will be critically discussed by some of our honors residential and Buchanan faculty,” Phillips said.

 “As an MT Engage class, our Honors Lecture Series on ‘Exegesis’ will give students the opportunity to see, touch and even hold most of the rare books that are on loan to us for this purpose by Remnant Trust,” Phillips added. “As a researcher who frequently visits rare books’ libraries and archives, I highly value this sort of first-hand engagement with historical texts.”

 The Remnant Trust, housed at Texas Tech University, is a public educational foundation sharing an actively growing collection of manuscripts, first edition and early works dealing with the topics of individual liberty and human dignity, with some pieces dating as early as 2500 B.C.

 The Remnant Trust makes this collection available to colleges, universities and other organizations for use by students, faculty, scholars and the general public. People are encouraged to touch, feel and read the originals, including first English translations.

 In addition to the Smith and Phillips, other presenting faculty include Honors Dean John VileRebekka King (philosophy and religious studies), Eric Klumpe (physics and astronomy), Ennio Piano (economics and finance), Joan McRae (world languages, literatures and cultures), Mary Evins (history) and Ken Paulson (Free Speech Center). Evins is credited with naming the series “Exegesis.”

 Mainly a class for students, the lectures are also free and open to the public. Seating is limited, and Phillips “urges caution and strongly encourages people to wear masks (because of Covid), wash hands and be careful when touching the books.”

 An MTSU parking map is available at Off-campus donors can get a one-day permit at or park free in the university’s Rutherford Boulevard Lot and ride the Raider Xpress shuttle to the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building, 1737 Blue Raider Drive.

The manuscripts will be displayed in the Honors College Dean’s Suite (Honors Room 205) for public viewing, said Tatum Hochstetler, Honors coordinator, adding the texts will be rotated weekly depending on the lecture series topic. 

 For more information, contact Hochstetler by calling 615-494-7767 or email

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