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updated: 1/15/2013 1:42 PM

Wheaton College Professor to Lead Papyrus Research Project

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  • Dr. Karen Jobes

    Dr. Karen Jobes

LaTonya Taylor

Dr. Karen Jobes, the Gerald F. Hawthorne Professor of New Testament Greek and Exegesis at Wheaton College, has been selected to research a rare papyrus text owned by The Green Collection, the world's largest private collection of rare biblical texts and artifacts. The Green Scholars Initiative announced the selection this week.

Jobes will lead a team of several ancient language majors who will transcribe, translate, and identify the text, then compare it to previous editions. The project will be displayed on campus later this semester, and submitted for publication in a volume published by Brill.

Jobes joins a growing group of internationally known academics at more than 30 colleges, universities and seminaries around the world who are conducting similar research projects on items in The Green Collection through the Green Scholars Initiative.

The collection is named for the family who founded national arts and crafts retailer Hobby Lobby.

The initiative brings together young and established scholars to pioneer groundbreaking research on The Green Collection's more than 40,000 rare biblical texts and artifacts, which will be displayed at a national Bible museum in Washington, D.C. The project also includes a companion lecture series.

Jobes was selected to join the initiative because of her academic background in Septuagint and Greek-language studies and her desire to mentor Wheaton College students in the research project. She is the author of various publications on the book of Esther, having served as translator for the British Library's Codex Sinaiticus Esther. Jobes recently published Letters to the Church: A Survey of Hebrews and the General Epistles (Zondervan, 2011) and was general editor for Bringing the Bible to Life Series (Zondervan, 2008--2010).

"Few people have a career path with as much in-line and in-depth Septuagint and Greek study as Dr. Jobes," says Dr. Jerry Pattengale '81, executive director of the Green Scholars Initiative. "Dr. Jobes is very highly regarded by her peers in the academic community; in fact, she was among the first scholars I contacted when we began this program. She has been persistent in seeing this project launched now that the papyrus is ready for study."

Jobes says her students will benefit from participating in the project in several ways.

"I'm hoping that participation in the project will stimulate my students' interest in the continued study of texts from the ancient world, and will better help them understand how knowledge has been transmitted to us from the ancient world, including knowledge from biblical texts," Jobes says.

"It would be nice if one of them developed an interest in specializing in papyrology in graduate school, but I'm hoping that all of them will experience the joy of discovery," she adds. "Because we don't know exactly what this text is, working on it together and enjoying it together will be an exciting experience."

More information about the Green Scholars Initiative is available at