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Divinity Hosts Princeton Scholar for Lecture Series

By Sarah H. Dolan | October 20, 2009

Princeton Theological Seminary Professor Loren Stuckenbruck

Finding the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) in jars throughout 11 caves took nearly a decade (1947-1956) and revolutionized the cultural and religious understanding of ancient Palestine. On October 16, Loren Stuckenbruck, the Richard J. Dearborn professor of New Testament studies at Princeton Theological Seminary, presented his paper on the Dead Sea Scrolls to an audience of Regent University students, faculty and staff.

Regent's School of Divinity hosted Stuckenbruck as part of the Charles Holman Honorary Lecture Series, which honors the late Charles Holman, one of Regent's founding divinity professors. Stuckenbruck's paper, "The Demonology of the Dead Sea Scrolls," was one of three presentations during his two-day stay at Regent.

Stuckenbruck's paper distinguishes between five different groups of documents among the DSS that later came to be called "biblical." These documents worked to shape Jewish ideas and reflected the readings of sacred traditions.

"My paper offers observations of a topic that covers a wide range of issues and texts," said Stuckenbruck. "I am convinced that certain developments can be upheld in the understanding of the literature."

Through a detailed and complex, yet engaging, discussion of the text, Stuckenbruck discussed the presence of demonic beings in the DSS. His paper explored the different voices behind the documents, the origin of evil and variations of meanings associated with terms such as angels, devils and spirits. Finally, Stuckenbruck explained how the DSS interrelated to today's biblical cannon.

Stuckenbruck concluded by noting the different classes of evil beings and their functions and characteristics found in the DSS. He emphasized the importance of studying the whole scope of literature, especially paying close attention to text details such as the use of proper nouns and adjectives. He closed by paralleling his findings with the treatment of the gospel tradition.

Following the presentation, Divinity Assistant Professor Dr. Archie Wright gave a response to the paper. For more information on the Charles Holman Honorary Lecture Series, visit this website.

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