Tag Archives: special collections

Torah from Yemen housed in Special Collections

by Don Gantz, Head of Archives & Special Collections

The Ten Commandments, copied with special formatting, in the Torah donated to Regent

The Ten Commandments, copied with special formatting, in the Torah donated to Regent

Regent University recently received an 18th century Torah scroll from Ken and Barbara Larson, a couple whose mission is to gift Torah scrolls to academic institutions for study and inspiration.1

The Torah is the first five books of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures and is foundational to the faith of both. It is hand-written in Hebrew consonants by scribes observing traditions passed down for thousands of years. Dr. Scott Carroll, the scholar working with the Larsons, observed that the rules of the writing process have fixed the text of the Torah.

Our scroll has been dated at about 1750 and originated in Yemen. The history of the Jewish community in Yemen is long and fascinating and is still unfolding. Some forty thousand Yemenite Jews were airlifted to the newly formed nation of Israel in 1949, and just last month, Israel airlifted 19 of the remaining Jews out of the country. A Jewish man and Muslim airport worker have been arrested for helping to smuggle out a 500-year-old Torah.2

The Torah scroll donated by the Larsons consists of 50 calf skins that were made into parchment and sewn together. If unrolled entirely it would be 80 feet long. Most of the skins have five columns of text, but not all the skins are the same width. Some of the skins have holes and other minor defects outside the writing area. Some holes are covered with sewn patches. Some loose seams have been re-sewn by a conservator.

The text has about 860 noted corrections, most being corrections to the form of letters. Special formats of spacing in the text are evident which indicate important passages, such as the Ten Commandments, the song of Moses, and the priestly blessing. Each of the books ends exactly four lines short of the full 51 lines of the previous full columns, an amazing feat of scribal planning.

Now Regent faculty and students, especially those studying Biblical Hebrew, can study and read from a unique and inspiring primary source with a rich history.

The scroll is being stored in the Library Special Collections temperature and humidity controlled vault room. Persons desiring to see it should contact the Special Collections Supervisor, Donald Gantz (donagan@regent.edu) or Library Administration at 757-352-4185.

_____________________________________

1 Brett W. Tubbs, “Regent University Presented with Gift of 18th Century Torah,” Regent University News, March 17, 2016, http://www.regent.edu/news_events/?article_id=2177&view=full_article.

2 Adam E. Berkowitz, “Yemen Arrests Jew for Smuggling Ancient Torah to Israel,” Breaking Israel News, March 25, 2016, http://www.breakingisraelnews.com/64353/yemen-arrests-jew-for-smuggling-ancient-torah-to-israel-jewish-world/#9TWhrEZwVjcP40Mo.97.

What is Special Collections?

What is Special Collections? (And why is it locked up?)

by Jason Stuart, Reference Librarian

In 2013, Special Collections hosted the Living Word exhibition of ancient Biblical manuscripts.

In 2013, Special Collections hosted the Living Word exhibition of ancient Biblical manuscripts.

The University Library’s Special Collections & Archives are a treasure trove of unique primary source materials and artifacts. Researchers have travelled from all over the United States and Great Britain to unlock the secrets of our vault.

Although the Library’s Special Collections is becoming an important destination for 20th Century Christian history research, the 2014 Customer Satisfaction Survey suggests that most students are unaware of Special Collections. Here are two of the comments we received:

  • “I have not used this service.”
  • “What is Special Collections? Isn’t that the area that’s always closed off and unavailable?”
The Greek amphora in Special Collections has been dated approximately to the time of Christ.

The Greek amphora in Special Collections has been dated approximately to the time of Christ.

So what exactly is in there? Just a few of the highlights include the John Wimber Collection, the Rev. Dennis J. Bennett Papers, and the William Standish Reed, M.D., Collection. All three of these men were important leaders in the Charismatic / Renewal Movements of the mid-to-late 20th Century. The archives contain memorabilia and documents chronicling the history of CBN and Regent University. Some of the other notable artifacts include a collection of early English printed Bibles and a 2,000-year-old Greek amphora.

Items from Special Collections & Archives show up in search results from the Library’s catalog and One Search. Since these materials are rare, unique, and often priceless, they are locked away to protect them from thieves (sticky-fingered scholars included), as well as the damaging effects of light, humidity, and other environmental hazards.

If you would like to conduct research in Special Collections or simply want to view some of the treasures housed there, contact a member of the Special Collections staff. For more information about this service, including an introductory video, policies, and contact information, see our Special Collections webpages.

Visiting scholar from UK visits Library Special Collections

Dr. Maiden examining the Dennis Bennett papers in Special Collections.

Dr. Maiden examining the Dennis Bennett papers in Special Collections.

From July 28 through August 4, the Library hosted a visiting scholar from Britain. John Maiden, Lecturer in Religious Studies at the Open University in Milton Keynes, came to Regent to examine documents in the Rev. Dennis J. Bennett archive, housed in the Library’s Special Collections. Dr. Maiden is working on a book on the Charismatic and Renewal movements during the 1960s and 1970s within the historic/mainline denominations in the United Kingdom, North America, Australia, and New Zealand.

The Bennett archive in the Library occupies a crucial part of this history, since the beginning of the Charismatic movement is often marked by the date April 3, 1960, when Reverend Bennett announced from his pulpit at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Van Nuys, California that he had received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and had spoken in tongues.

At the end of his visit to the Library, Dr. Maiden thanked Special Collections assistants Donald Gantz and Yabbeju (Jabez) Rapaka for all their help in making his stay a success. The Library is pleased to have been able to assist Dr. Maiden in his research.

Library receives donation of The Remnant Newspaper Collection

by Rev. Yabbeju (Jabez) Rapaka, Ph.D., Special Collections Assistant

Library Archivist Don Gantz receives The Remnant Newspaper Collection from Jerrell Miller.

Library Archivist Don Gantz receives The Remnant Newspaper Collection from Rev. Jerrell H. Miller.

Regent University Library recently received a donation of primary source materials chronicling an American revival in the 1990s. Rev. Jerrell H. Miller, editor of The Remnant, a monthly revival newspaper, presented copies of twelve years of his publication to the Library’s Special Collections. The newspaper reflects a prophetic stream of the Pentecostal movement, and features many articles on the Brownsville Revival that began in June 1995 at Brownsville Assemblies of God Church near Pensacola, Florida.

The Brownsville Revival lasted for nearly 10 years, touched the lives of thousands of individuals, and had a global impact, spreading revival flames to many churches throughout the world. During the peak of the revival more than 4 million people attended the meetings. In addition to the United States, they came from more than 34 countries, including Japan, England, India, South Africa, France, Canada, Australia, and the Philippines. According to Rev. Miller, many Methodists, Pentecostals, Anglicans, Presbyterians, and even Mormons came to Brownsville to encounter God. Several luminaries in modern Pentecostal/Charismatic circles, including Paul Yongi Cho, Reinhard Bonke, and Thomas Trask (then General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God) graced the pulpit at Brownsville and addressed worshipers hungry for the touch of God.

In addition to having a detailed chronicle of the Brownsville Revival, The Remnant newspaper covers other revivals occurring during the same period that will be of interest to those doing research in the history of the Pentecostal, Charismatic, and other renewal movements. These include Hardeeville, Ramona, and Mobile in the United States, as well as revivals in England, Japan, and Nigeria.

Regent University has a strong collection of resources related to global renewal movements, including the Pentecostal Research Collection. The Remnant Newspaper Collection has ties to other collections in the Library, such as the John Wimber Collection and the North American Renewal Service Committee Papers (NARSC). Once the newspapers are processed, a research guide with more information will be available on the Library website.

Archives Dedication: Celebrating two leaders in the Charismatic movement

Written by Sara Baron, Ed.D., Dean of the University Library

Rev. Dr. Dennis J. Bennett
Rev. Dr. Dennis J. Bennett

You may have read about the Charismatic movement in your classes or heard about it in your church. Perhaps you have even been blessed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. But there was a time in America when people did not celebrate these gifts or talk about them. The Charismatic movement in mainstream Christian churches began in the late 1950s and consisted of people manifesting the gifts of the Holy Spirit out in the open. Two great leaders of the movement are being honored by Regent University on October 24, 2013.

Dr. William Standish Reed
Dr. William Standish Reed
Rev. Dr. Dennis J. Bennett is considered by many the “first Charismatic.” His brother-in-law, Dr. William Standish Reed, is considered by many the “first medical evangelist.” The archives of both men reside at the Regent University Library. The Rev. Dennis J. Bennett Papers and the William Standish Reed, M.D. Collection will be dedicated and celebrated on this day with a number of speakers, video tributes, remarks from their spouses, Dr. Rita Bennett and Mrs. Jo Ann “Coppi” Reed, and an exhibit of artifacts from their archives. Speakers include Dr. Vinson Synan, Visiting professor of Church History, who will discuss the history of the Charismatic movement and the importance of Rev. Bennett in its earliest days. Dr. Kimberly Alexander, Associate Professor of the History of Christianity, will discuss the Charismatic movement’s emphasis on healing and the Holy Spirit and how Dr. William Standish Reed was instrumental in spreading the Word as a prominent medical doctor. Video clips of both men during the heights of their ministries will be shared along with video tributes from Stephen Strang, founder and editor of Charisma magazine; John and Elizabeth “Tib” Sherrill, writers and historians from the Charismatic movement; and Kenneth Copeland, Pentecostal leader and friend of both men.

Regent University Founder and Chancellor Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson will offer remarks and formally dedicate the archival collections. As the Charismatic movement receives more and more attention from historians of Christianity, this event is a wonderful opportunity to hear about and from people who lived during the origins of the movement, people who shaped the movement, and people who, above all, shared the Good News of Christ with others. We hope you can join us for this wonderful event!

Event Details:

Thursday, October 24, 2013 from 5:00 to 6:30 pm
Regent University Library Gallery
RSVP Stephanie Lowell, 757-352-4185 or steplow@regent.edu
For more information, visit the Archives Dedication webpage.