From the President



  Books, Film, & Music



  My Response

  Letters to the Editor

  From the Editor

  Contact Response

  Submit Footnote

  Submit Letter to Editor

  Address Change

  Back Issues

  Response Home

  SPU Home

Autumn 2006 | Volume 29, Number 4 | Features

Excerpts From the Experts

IN OCTOBER, AN INTERNATIONAL TEAM of scholars gathered at Seattle Pacific University to converse about their common academic passion — the Dead Sea Scrolls — and visit the Pacific Science Center’s scrolls exhibit. Five members of the team also spoke at a public event on the SPU campus, which drew nearly 1,200 people. The following is a sampling of the experts’ comments on the scrolls:

“How many of us have 900 books in our library? How many would have 25 percent of our library represented by Bibles? That shows you the nature of the Qumran community: The Bible was at the center of everything they did. In fact, as we walk through the other 700-some nonbiblical scrolls, every one is in some way, shape, or form focused on the Bible. This is a rabbi’s library, as it were.”

Martin Abegg Jr., Co-director of the Dead Sea Scrolls Institute and Chair of the Religious Studies Department at Trinity Western University

“Communities produce Bibles that embody, in their physical forms [textual affiliation, language, para-canonical material, format, etc.], the groups’ values, identities, stories. We can identify at least four very different kinds of Bibles at Qumran, representing not just Qumran, but other communities as well. Dead Sea Scrolls scholarship may help us to understand the relationship between communities of faith and their Bibles, and perhaps even to have some greater self-awareness about our own Bibles and the messages we fashion them to carry.”

Stephen Delamarter ’75, Professor of Old Testament at George Fox Evangelical Seminary

“With the help of the Qumran hymns, we can see that salvation by God’s grace alone is not a uniquely Christian idea. What is unique in Christianity is the manner of God’s gracious work: in and through Jesus. We also find a contrast in the Qumran hymns between living under God’s power and living under the power of darkness. What is different is the possibility of complete change. The Qumran hymns express joy that one has been elect to the kingdom of light. Colossians 1:13 expresses joy that God has rescued his people from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of his beloved Son. For the Qumran community, this was impossible.”

Daniel Falk, Assistant Professor of Ancient Judaism and Biblical Studies at the University of Oregon

“At Qumran we find religionists who were intolerant of any deviation from what they understood to be orthodoxy. As their sense of being threatened grew, their intolerance intensified. They pushed their religious imagination further and further toward — and then beyond — the margins of their fellow Jews’ acceptable range of ethnic and religious self-definition, eventually to the point of cutting themselves off and calling their contrary co-religionists ‘Sons of Darkness.’”

Robert Kugler, Paul S. Wright Professor of Christian Studies at Lewis and Clark College

“We know that the Qumran community was fascinated with ritual purity. For them, ritual purity had to do with life and death issues — clean and unclean animals, dead bodies, bodily discharges. And who is responsible, ultimately, for life and death? God. So, to successfully account for these rules and regulations, they built a ‘high fence’ — it’s called ‘building a fence around the Torah’ — to protect God, but also to protect themselves from accidentally breaking certain rules and regulations in the Torah.”

Ian Werrett, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at St. Martin’s University

Editor's note: For the complete transcript of the panel discussion, click here.

Send This Page Send-to-Printer

Back to the top
Back to Home


Beyond Intellectual Mastery
President Philip Eaton offers a more complete view of education: Learning is “a bigger story than our own little pieces of intellectual mastery.”

Advising Future Physicians
In 2006, SPU achieved a 100 percent medical school acceptance rate through its unique, longtime approach to “shepherding” premed students.

A “Determined Quiet”
Alumna of the Year Lora Jones ’43 proves one person can change the world. Her life exemplifies ardent faith through war, life on a prison farm, and faithfully preaching the gospel.

Fiction on a Small Canvas
A new volume celebrates the best in Christian short stories — and leads off with a creation of SPU Adjunct Professor Mary Kenagy.

Goodwill Goalkeeping
Star soccer player Marcus Hahnemann ’93 wins fans in Europe, and represents America in the 2006 World Cup.

My Response
Principal and SPU doctoral student Karol Pulliam considers the classroom implications of John Medina’s 12 brain rules.

Copyright © 2006 Seattle Pacific University. General Information: 206-281-2000