An ancient Torah scroll has recently been gifted to SEU from Ken and Barbara Larson, founders of God’s Ancient Library. Two members of the Barnett College of Ministry and Theology, Dr. Daniel McNaughton and Rev. Anthony Roberts, made a trip to Minneapolis, Minn., to receive this special donation. Dr. McNaughton is a professor of practical ministry and the Old Testament, and Rev. Roberts is the associate dean of the Barnett College.
The Torah scroll was written in Germany in the early 19th century and is a complete Ashkenazi of Eastern European Jewish tradition. Handwritten on calf skin, it contains the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. The scroll is 84.35 feet in length and around 12 inches in height.
The scroll is considered pasul — not fit for liturgical use. Due to this factor, it had most likely been hidden away, which ultimately led to its preservation. After the holocaust, survivors and displaced refugees were known to return to ruined synagogues to gather pasul scrolls and religious writings. They then sold these items to the government, synagogues and collectors in order to start their new lives.
The scroll donated to SEU had previously been a part of the Ben David Collection in Israel in 2010, where it was then purchased by the Larsons.
Dr. McNaughton will be utilizing the scroll in his beginning, intermediate and advanced Hebrew classes and his Old Testament courses. The location of the scroll and where it will be displayed is still to be determined.