How the Ancient Scrolls Shaped Religion
The ancient scrolls discovered near the western shore of the Dead Sea led scholars to rethink much of what they knew about Jewish history and the birth of Christianity. Dr. Ariel Feldman will discuss what these Dead Sea Scrolls are, who wrote and hid them, and their significance today in a special event at Austin College on April 5 at 5 p.m. in Wright Campus Center, Room 231, with a 4:30 reception preceding in the adjacent Johnson Gallery. Following the formal lecture, Feldman will hold a brief open discussion with David Schones, adjunct instructor of religious studies at Austin College and a Ph.D. candidate in Hebrew Bible at Southern Methodist University, followed by a question-and-answer period with Feldman at 6 p.m. All events are free and open to the public.
“The Dead Sea Scrolls are ancient religious and sectarian manuscripts that represent the oldest known fragments of almost every book in the Hebrew Bible,” said Schones. “This lecture by Dr. Feldman highlights the importance of these texts in the examination of Jewish history and the birth of Christianity. His talk discusses how these 2,000-year-old artifacts and texts shape our understanding of the beliefs and practices of Jews and early Christians.”
Feldman teaches Jewish literature and history at Brite Divinity School and Texas Christian University. Born in Moscow, Russia, he and his family moved to Israel after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He completed a Ph.D. at Haifa University, specializing in the Dead Sea Scrolls; then continued his work on the topic as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom.
“It is a privilege and a rare event to have a renowned scholar speak at Austin College about the discoveries of ancient texts that have made a major impact on key developments in Judaism and early Christianity,” said Ivette Vargas-O’Bryan, associate professor of religious studies and Religious Studies Department chair.
The event is sponsored by the Austin College Religious Studies Department with support provided by The Gould H. and Marie Cloud Professorship in Religion and the Jesse Howard Boyd, Mary Pearl Boyd, and Eleanor Boyd Memorial Endowment. Contact David Schones, or Ivette Vargas-O’Bryan for additional information.
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 40 percent of students representing ethnic minorities. A residential student body of approximately 1,275 students and a faculty of more than 100 allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. The College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.