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Liberty News

School of Divinity receives Torah scroll donation

September 28, 2015 : Liberty University News Service

A copy of a 111-foot-long 16th century Jewish Torah scroll was donated to Liberty University's School of Divinity during an alternative Convocation on Monday, Sept. 28

Students in Liberty University's School of Divinity had the opportunity to hold an authentic 16th century Jewish Torah scroll during Monday's alternative Convocation. 

 A copy of a 111-foot-long 16th century Jewish Torah scroll was donated to Liberty University's School of Divinity during an alternative Convocation on Monday, Sept. 28.
Ken and Barbara Larson spoke to students in Liberty University's School of Divinity about their mission to see all seminary students have access to a Torah scroll.

An authentic 16th century Jewish Torah scroll, stretching 111 feet, was donated to Liberty University’s School of Divinity during an alternative Convocation on Monday, Sept. 28, in the Towns-Alumni Lecture Hall.

Ken and Barbara Larson donated the scroll — which is comprised of over 60 animal skins — to Liberty as part of their efforts to ensure that universities across the U.S. have scrolls for seminary students to study and handle.

The Larsons, who are from St. Paul, Minnesota, own Slumberland Furniture, which has 128 stores in 12 states. Ken Larson said that he and his wife desired to help seminary students have access to these scrolls after visiting various universities and learning that most students were never able to handle a Torah while in school.

“Our goal is that these Torahs will be used by students and will reinforce in their hearts and minds that God’s word is alive and that it has been protected,” he said.

The Larsons worked with Dr. Scott Carroll to collect Torah scrolls. Carroll has built the two largest collections of Bibles and biblically related materials in the world: The Van Kampen Collection and The Green Collection. Together these collections contain nearly 80,000 items with a total value of $70 million.

Carroll explained to students the importance of the Torah scroll.

“The Torah is foundational for understanding the Bible,” he said. “Now that you have it in your possession as a students at Liberty, you will be able to become better protectors of the Bible and engage actively in understanding Scriptures.”

A copy of a 111-foot-long 16th century Jewish Torah scroll was donated to Liberty University's School of Divinity during an alternative Convocation on Monday, Sept. 28, in the Towns-Alumni Lecture Hall.
Dr. Scott Carroll explained to students the importance of the Torah scroll.

Dr. Ed Hindson, dean of the School of Divinity, said that this scroll was created during the time of the Protestant Reformation when Jewish communities in Europe were copying Genesis through Deuteronomy by hand.

“There is nothing more important than reading the Word of God and letting it soak into your heart, your soul, and your life,” he said. “This Torah scroll will allow you as students to have more active engagement with the Spirit of God as it speaks to you through the word of God.”

The scroll will be temporarily housed in Liberty’s Biblical Museum and used frequently by School of Divinity professors and students. It will be moved to the school’s new home in Freedom Tower once construction is complete. The museum is housed in the Center for Judaic Studies and provides faculty, staff, students, and the public a window into the world of the Bible. Special exhibits include an exact copy of some of the Dead Sea Scrolls and historically accurate recreation of the Upper Room, where the Last Supper was held. Artifacts include bricks from the walls of Jericho and a Geneva Bible printed in 1601. The Liberty Biblical Museum is a unique educational collection of artifacts that illustrate the historical and cultural background of the Jewish people over a 4,000-year period. 

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