Oklahoma Christian University will have the Sofer Collection, a unique collection of Jewish writings and culture, on display in the university’s Beam Library.
The permanent display is in partnership with the Museum of the Bible, which owns the collection.
The Sofer Collection includes Talmudic materials, Jewish historical objects, Jewish art and architecture.
The university has been part of the Museum’s process to intake the items, which including cleaning and cataloging the items.
“The Sofer collaboration with Oklahoma Christian is a unique example of the educational mission that we share with colleges and universities throughout the country,” said Museum of the Bible Chief Curatorial Officer Dr. Jeffrey Kloha. “It gives us an opportunity to send curators over to the university to lecture and for the college to send students to us to understand this important aspect of the Bible’s history.”
The items were originally owned by Benjamin Sofer in the late 20th century. Sofer worked to establish an auction house office in Israel and long studied Italian books, culture, Hebrew bibliographies, textiles, languages and Jewish art. In 2014, the Museum of the Bible bought the collection from Benjamin’s wife, Avi Sofer.
“By working to keep the collection intact and accessible, it is Oklahoma Christian’s and Museum of the Bible’s hope that the Sofer collection is of benefit to scholars in our community and those visiting from around the world,” said Oklahoma Christian University President John deSteiguier . “It’s also our hope that this collection will be an excellent vehicle to promote interfaith and intercultural dialogue via community outreach and use of the collection’s valuable content.”
The collection will now be available to the general public. Previously, it had only been for researchers working at the school.
“It gives people a reason to come – it gives scholars and researchers a reason to be on our campus,” Charles Rix, then-interim dean for the College of Biblical Studies said when the collection first came to the college. “It opens up the possibilities for scholars outside of our community who come and want to look at the collection to perhaps do lectures for us.”
The Museum of the Bible opened in November 2017 in Washington, D.C. The Museum of the Bible’s mission is “to invite all people to engage with the transformative power of the Bible.”