The return of Museum of the Bible brings new cultural awareness opportunity

A presentation of Jewish culture available in the Museum of the Bible. Photo from museumofthebible.org.

A presentation of Jewish culture available in the Museum of the Bible. Photo from museumofthebible.org.

Museum of the Bible returns to the Oklahoma Christian University campus for another semester with a new lecture series dedicated to spreading knowledge of Jewish culture.

This event marks Museum of the Bible’s second seminar rotation at Oklahoma Christian, this time with a series titled “Windows into Jewish Culture.” The series will focus on various experts speaking in depth on Judaism, Israel and the Old Testament.

Dr. John Harrison, Oklahoma Christian’s primary liaison for Museum of the Bible, said he believes this lecture series offers a great opportunity to look at biblical texts in a new light.

“There’s a lecture that’s going to be given at the end by a professor from OU who works in their center for Jewish studies,” Harrison said. “The lecture is going to provide a reading of the Old Testament text in a way that a lot of Christians may not have heard before. What I think is great about this series is that it’ll open up avenues for Christians to hear these documents, which mean so much to us to hear them with fresh eyes, with new insights.”

Harrison said he sees these lectures as a chance for Christians to examine the way they live out their faith in comparison to how people in the past have, pushing those in attendance to contemplate biblical practices on a deeper level.

“These are going to be very valuable experiences,” Harrison said. “I think after people sit down and hear the experts in these fields speak, some new questions are going to be raised in their minds. They’ll think about what they do with the Old Testament when they read it in light of what other people have done with it.”

According to Ashley Carter, the coordinator for the Jewish culture lecture series, the possession of Jewish texts in Oklahoma Christian’s library were the primary motivation for the series.

“We actually have a Museum of the Bible library on campus at Oklahoma Christian inside of the main library,” Carter said. “The collection was put together to collect different thoughts on Jewish texts. So we wanted to tie in the idea of the Jewish books that are there on campus with a lecture series to kind of bring it all together.”

Carter said one of the biggest goals for people behind the Museum of the Bible is that these lectures bring people together in mutual learning and understanding.

“We just really want to connect with the community,” Carter said. “We hope to see great crowds from the churches, but also from schools and just from the community in general. We want to invite all people to engage with the Bible, and this is one of the great ways we can do that — by presenting free lectures to the public to talk about the way Jewish culture has impacted the world.”

Jake Doberenz, a Bible major at Oklahoma Christian, said he is eager to attend these lectures and hopes to expand his knowledge on Jewish culture and the Bible.

“As someone who likes to look at the Bible critically, when I read a text I want to know what’s going on in the background, the culture and the world, ” Doberenz said. “With these lectures, I feel like they can help me get to know the situation of a text, the context of the different scriptures I’m reading. I am really interested in going beyond a surface-level study of the Bible”

Doberenz said he believes after learning about Jewish culture, he’ll have the opportunity share the knowledge and enthusiasm he has for the Bible with others.

“I’ve got an excitement about this stuff,” Doberenz said. “I think it’s important to read into texts and find out what the author is trying to say, and then interpret how that speaks to us today. I hope I can pass on this kind of information to people in whatever context I’m teaching in so that people can understand what the author was thinking, what was going through their head. I think it’s just kind of exciting that people can learn some fun things about the Bible, and maybe the people I am ministering to can pick up on that excitement.”

A set of four lectures will be held between January 31 and April 4. Each lecture will take place in Judd Theatre at 7 p.m. To find more information on tbe Museum of the Bible or to RSVP to any of the “Windows into Jewish Culture” lectures, visit online..

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