2014 Archives

SMU’s Chinese Torah scroll goes to Vatican


The following is from the May 13, 2014, edition of United Methodist News Service.

May 14, 2014

By Sam Hodges
United Methodist News Service

SMU’s Chinese Torah scrollTo speak of the back story of the 17th century Chinese Torah scroll at Bridwell Library seems inadequate.

Back saga is more like it.

And now there’s one more plot twist. The Torah scroll has gone on a visit to the Vatican, as part of an exhibit organized by The Green Collection/Museum of the Bible.

It will be on display at the Braccio di Carlo Magno museum, adjacent to St. Peter’s Square, through June 22.

The riches of Bridwellthe library of Perkins School of Theology, at Southern Methodist University in Dallasare well known to Bible scholars. But this apparently is the first time a Bridwell Library item has been displayed at the seat of the Roman Catholic Church.

 “It’s a great opportunity for us to be represented in this exhibit and at the Vatican,” said Daniel J. Slive, Bridwell’s head of special collections.

Exactly how Judaism came to Kaifeng, China, remains unclear. Speculation centers on the Silk Road or some other trade route.

Whatever brought it about, the existence of an active Jewish community in Kaifeng from the 12th through mid-19th centuries is well-documented.

Read the full story.

Other views of Bridwell's 17th century Chinese Torah
 SMU’s Chinese Torah scroll SMU’s Chinese Torah scroll