Liberty’s Freedom Tower holds the home to a large collection of bibles
The Freedom Tower’s latest addition, the Scriptorium — home to a one-million-dollar collection of rare books and Bibles donated by the Rawlings family — opened April 30 on the first floor of the tower.
According to Ed Hindson, the dean of the School of Divinity, the collection includes rare first edition copies of the 1560 Geneva Bible, the 1611 King James Version Bible, the Erasmus Greek New Testament, the original edition of “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs” and more. The Scriptorium also includes a working life-size replica of the Gutenberg printing press and a 55-foot and 84-foot Microsoft Surface HUB.
“That allows us to collaborate with various experts and interact with digitized copies of this collection,” Hindson said.
Nicole Sanzo, an interdisciplinary student at Liberty, said the combination of the old books and the new technology create an immersive cultural and historical experience for students, no matter what they are studying, but the resources will be very valuable to divinity students.
“Even though theology is an overarching concept, you have to know how to go back to the basis of it,” Sanzo said.
According to Sanzo, the Scriptorium will be another way for visitors to see Liberty.
“Liberty is a big platform, and I think (the Scriptorium) is going to add on to its uniqueness and the principles we stand on,” Sanzo said.
According to Sanzo, the Scriptorium will make it easier to see the history of the Bible and how the text has evolved through the centuries.
Hindson said Harold Rawlings suggested that Liberty display the collection Rawlingshad collected over the years through the Rawlings Foundation.
According to Hindson, the Scriptorium’s opening was pushed back because the university wanted to expand the Scriptorium from its original size.
According to Hindson, the Scriptorium gives faculty, students and the public the opportunity to become acquainted with the history of various Bible versions and translations.
“Students can do hands-on research with many of the original sources of the Bible as we know it today,” Hindson said.
Hindson said the amount of traffic that the Freedom Tower draws, the public will be able to see and be aware of the Bible collection.
“The Freedom Tower itself is a constant reminder that the Bible has a central role in the education of Liberty students,” Hindson said.