March 01, 2018

Press Release

Overview: Scholars Initiative

Overview: Scholars Initiative


The Scholars Initiative is the research arm of Museum of the Bible. A group of senior research scholars from academic institutions around the world are conducting primary research on items from the Museum of the Bible Collections—an aggregation of several of the world’s most prominent private collections of biblical objects and artifacts—through the Initiative. Leading experts in the fields of papyri; Aramaic, Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Egyptian and Ethiopic texts; Coptic, medieval, Middle Eastern, early Jewish and early American artifacts; illuminated manuscripts; and Christian tradition and spirituality are participating in the research.


Scholars Initiative Director Michael Holmes, Ph. D., is a leading New Testament textual scholar and editor of early Christian writings. Holmes has spent more than three decades in higher education teaching on and researching the New Testament and other early Christian texts. He coordinates the global network of academics and student-scholars who make up Museum of the Bible's research initiative.


The Scholars Initiative is addressing a two-fold need in biblical studies: equipping the next generation of scholars and researching a vast reservoir of primary sources.


Scholars from 60 participating colleges, universities and seminaries around the globe are or have been involved with some 90 research projects on items in the Museum Collection, many of which are unpublished.

The research initiative breaks the mold of traditional research paradigms by pairing students with established scholars for primary research on the collection's biblical texts and artifacts. The initiative democratizes research as it redefines excellence in teaching and scholarship.

Senior scholars oversee a research project area involving scholars from various institutions and their students.

Distinguished language scholars provide expertise in their main language or unique scholarly competency.

Scholar-mentors work under the auspices of a senior scholar to conduct research and mentor undergraduate and graduate students (junior scholars), helping to enrich their education through direct access to primary sources in the Museum of the Bible Collection.

Hundreds of students have already participated in this initiative. During the past two summers, 73 Scholars Initiative students and their mentors were selected for special intensive workshops at the University of Oxford.

The Museum of the Bible Scholars Initiative is independent of any one academic institution of higher learning or religious tradition. Its growing international presence has administrative hubs at Tyndale House, Cambridge, Baylor University, and at Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C.


The Museum sponsors a monograph series, Publications of Museum of the Bible, published by Brill Publishers. Three sub-series will cover Semitic texts, Greek texts, and Latin and Western vernacular texts. In August 2016 an international team of textual scholars released the inaugural volume, based on research sponsored by the Scholars Initiative. Edited by Emanuel Tov (Hebrew University, Jerusalem), Kipp Davis (Trinity Western University) and Robert Duke (Azusa Pacific University), the volume presents 13 previously unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls fragments, including portions from the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, Jonah, Ezekiel, Micah, Daniel and Psalms. Forthcoming volumes will present other documents in the Museum Collection, including Greek papyri (both Biblical and literary) and an illustrated Medieval Latin text.