Preserving the Word

June 22, 2011

Baylor University recently joined dozens of institutions from all over the world in working with the Green Scholars Initiative (GSI), an international project that provides students with the opportunity for hands-on research with ancient texts and items related to the Judeo-Christian story.

The recently assembled Green Collection is among the world's largest holdings of such items, incorporating thousands of cuneiform texts and papyri, Dead Sea Scrolls, Torah scrolls, Coptic biblical texts, medieval manuscript Scriptures and commentaries, Gutenberg, Wyclif, Tyndale and King James translations. Later items include early texts of Thomas à Kempis, Erasmus, Thomas More, Henry VIII and other important works of Reformation and post-Reformation biblical scholarship and theology.

Through the GSI, the Green Collection will provide 10 Senior Scholars and their research clusters rare hands-on original research opportunities. Already, some previously un-researched Greek papyri codices have yielded early Christian Scriptures and extremely rare texts of Greek classics in both poetry and philosophy.

Baylor and the GSI have recently entered a partnership that establishes Baylor University as the major research partner for the GSI. In this capacity, Baylor will play a leadership role in providing traditional undergraduate and graduate coursework and research. At least a dozen Baylor professors from various departments will participate.

The Scholars Initiative prioritizes the central role of the undergraduate-research experience; accordingly, the Baylor-GSI partnership will provide a mechanism for ongoing training of students as well as faculty, and will in particular develop a mentoring track for young scholars. As the academic center for the GSI, Baylor will provide a location for both student and faculty participants from other universities to gather for GSI seminars. This partnership will develop an international component with the hope of implementing an aspect of the programming for international research groups, not only in Europe and the Middle East, but also in China. One of the key aspects of this initiative is to establish projects that will yield a host of important publications in multiple fields.

As much as possible, courses will be offered that are intentionally connected to conferences highlighting materials from the Green Collection. Further, the GSI will host an annual conference related to one of the strengths of the Green Collection. These collaborations will include promoting internships and hosting senior scholars for special functions and/or sprint courses.

The unique partnership of GSI with Baylor will make possible multiple invitations to Baylor faculty and their students for special projects. It will also provide for papyrus and manuscript projects exclusively chosen for Baylor and will provide academic and logistical expertise to support the efforts of the GSI teams working on Baylor's campus.

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