19th Century Torah Scroll Donated to UM Center for Christian Calling

Kathy DeanAdvancement, Christian Studies, News

MOBILE, Ala. – A 19th century Hebrew Torah scroll that survived the Holocaust has been donated to the University of Mobile Center for Christian Calling.

The scroll is one of four donated to Christian institutions in 2021 by Ken and Barbara Larson, founders of the nonprofit God’s Ancient Library. The couple has donated 94 scrolls in the last eight years to seminaries, museums and other organizations for teaching, research and public engagement.

Their “giftings” remind observers of the preciousness of God’s Word, the painstaking process of copying each Torah, and the benefits of studying the biblical languages, said Dr. Doug Wilson, dean of the Center for Christian Calling and professor of biblical studies.

Wilson said the Torah scroll will be used for Old Testament and Hebrew courses and graduate research projects in the Center for Christian Calling, the ministry training center for the Baptist-affiliated university.

Scheduled lectures and displays on the University of Mobile campus will be held for teaching institutions, churches and synagogues, homeschool groups, senior citizen groups and others interested in learning more about Judeo-Christian heritage and the Scriptural foundation for Christian faith.

For information about available campus visits and lecture topics, contact Wilson at 251.442.2267 or dwilson@umobile.edu.

The parchment scroll contains the biblical books of Genesis through Deuteronomy and was handwritten by a scribe according to the Ashkenazi Jewish tradition. The scroll is an un-pointed consonantal text, meaning it is written with consonants only – no vowels.

“This Torah scroll, like others donated by the Larsons, has been deemed to be ‘pasul’ – no longer kosher – and was no longer in use by the synagogue that commissioned it,” Wilson said. The scroll was likely stored in a genizah, a temporary repository in a synagogue for worn-out Hebrew language books and papers on religious topics.

“We are grateful to the Larsons for their generous donation and the worldwide Jewish community for the careful preservation of the inspired Torah through their scribal tradition,” Wilson said.

For information on the Center for Christian Calling at the University of Mobile, visit umobile.edu/christiancalling.

About the University of Mobile

The University of Mobile is a Christ-centered liberal arts and sciences institution with a vision of higher education for a higher purpose, founded to honor God by equipping students for their future professions through rigorous academic preparation and spiritual transformation. Core values are: Christ-Centered, Academically-Focused, Student-Devoted and Distinctively-Driven. The university offers on-campus and online bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in over 75 academic programs. Founded in 1961, the University of Mobile is affiliated with the Alabama Baptist State Convention and is located 10 miles north of Mobile, Alabama on a campus of over 880 acres.

For information about the University of Mobile, areas of study, admissions, and more, visit umobile.edu, connect with UM on social media @univofmobile, or call Enrollment Services at 1.800.WIN.RAMS or 251.442.2222.