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Dead Sea scrolls scholar gives public lecture

One of the few scholars in the world to have worked on the original Dead Sea Scroll documents delivered a public lecture Oct. 17

One of the few scholars in the world to have worked on the original Dead Sea Scroll documents delivered a public lecture Oct. 17 on the prayers contained within the scrolls and their role in the formation of traditions of prayer in Judaism and Christianity.

Internationally renowned scholar Daniel Falk of the University of Oregon’s Religious Studies Department did his PhD studies on the then-unpublished prayers contained in the scrolls, says Dr. Tinu Ruparell, head of the University of Calgary’s Religious Studies Department. His work earned him a place as a member of an international team of editors of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Ruparell says, “Daniel Falk’s work is truly foundational for our understanding of how both the Jews and early Christians of the time understood what it means to pray in communal contexts. The rationale behind the prayers of many present-day church and synagogue goers can be traced to the Dead Sea Scroll communities, and we have Falk to thank for bringing this to light.”

The Dead Sea Scrolls, dating from between the second century BC and the first century AD, were discovered in caves near the Dead Sea at Khirbet Qumran in Israel. They are important to western civilization because some of the texts are the earliest known manuscripts to be included in the Hebrew Bible while others demonstrate diversity in religious thinking at that time. The Dead Sea Scrolls also contain the earliest known collections of Jewish liturgical prayers.

Falk delivered his free public lecture Oct. 17 in the University of Calgary’s Rozsa Centre. The event marked the 25th anniversary of the Peter Craigie Memorial Lecture series established in 1988 to honour Dr. Peter Craigie, one of the founders of the University of Calgary's Department of Religious Studies who was a distinguished scholar of Biblical studies, ancient Near Eastern languages, and ethics.

“The Craigie lectures provide an opportunity for the U of C to bring some of the best and most important scholars of Religion in the world to Calgary. The Religious Studies department, the University and the City continue to benefit greatly from Peter Craigie’s legacy,” says Dr. Ruparell.

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