APU professors and alumni participated in groundbreaking new research on the Dead Sea Scrolls, sponsored by the Museum of the Bible. The research examines 13 never-before-published Dead Sea Scroll fragments and represents four years of study by approximately 50 scholars. The scrolls will be available to view at the museum’s grand opening in Washington D.C., scheduled for November 2017.
Robert Duke, Ph.D., dean of the School of Theology and APU Seminary, Karen Winslow, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Biblical and Religious Studies, Keith Reeves, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Biblical and Religious Studies, and Timothy Finlay, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Biblical and Religious Studies, led recent APU alumni in researching the fragments. Alumni included Daniel Holt ’13, Skyler Russell’13, Nathan McAleese ’14, and A.J. Zimmerman ’15.
The Museum of the Bible selects researchers through its Scholars Initiative, a global program which places student-scholars under academic mentors. The mentoring model is three-tiered, including students, their professors, and senior scholars. “The Scholars Initiative gives students a clear window into the world of biblical scholarship,” said Duke. “APU is privileged to participate in this one-of-a-kind program that provides an invaluable opportunity to new and experienced scholars alike.”
The APU research team partnered with renowned Dead Sea Scrolls expert Emmanuel Tov, Ph.D., of Hebrew University and biblical studies scholar-in-residence Kipp Davis, Ph.D., of Trinity Western University. Tov, Davis, and Duke co-edited the publication, Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments in the Museum Collection, which contains all 13 previously unpublished scrolls, including one nonbiblical fragment. The scrolls include the Hebrew Bible texts Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Jonah, Micah, Psalms, David, and Nehemiah.
The Museum of the Bible harbors one of the largest private collections of biblical artifacts worldwide. According to Duke, its work is already revolutionizing biblical scholarship. “From 1947-91, very few scholars had any access to Dead Sea Scroll fragments—everything was kept in private collections,” he said. “The Museum of the Bible has flipped this model on its head. They’ve decided, ‘let’s start with access.’” The 430,000-square-foot museum will open next year, promoting and catalyzing biblical scholarship around the world.