Department ofReligion


Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 7:30 PM

Lagerquist Concert Hall in the Mary Baker Russell Building


On Wednesday, October 30, Dr. John J. Collins will deliver the eighth annual David and Marilyn Knutson Lecture entitled “What Have We Learned from the Dead Sea Scrolls?” This lecture is based upon his recent bookThe Dead Sea Scrolls: A Biography (Princeton University Press, 2012).

Dr. Collins is an internationally recognized expert on the Hebrew Bible and Second Temple literature including the Dead Sea Scrolls. He has published twenty-three other books and numerous articles on the subjects of apocalypticism, wisdom, Hellenistic Judaism, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Books include; Early Judaism: A Comprehensive Overview, co-editor (Eerdmans, 2012); Beyond the Qumran Community. The Sectarian Movement of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Eerdmans, 2010); A Short Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (Fortress, 2007); and The Bible after Babel. Historical Criticism in a Postmodern Age (Eerdmans, 2005).

The speaker holds baccalaureate and master’s degrees from University College Dublin, the Ph.D. from Harvard University, and an honorary doctorate from University College Dublin. He has taught at the University of Notre Dame, the University of Chicago, and since 2000 at Yale Divinity School. He has served as president of both the Catholic Biblical Association and The Society of Biblical Literature. More information about Dr. Collins and his scholarly work can be found at He was recently interviewed by Terry Gross for National Public Radio; that interview can be found here:

When Dr. Collins received the honorary doctorate from University College Dublin, he was recognized as “the leading expert in the scholarly field of Near Eastern apocalyptic writings” and “a true world-leader.” Collins has said regarding the use of the Bible in a modern context: “I’d say my biblical theology is this: reading the Bible is a dialogical enterprise. It doesn’t give answers. It raises the great questions of life and gives material for dealing with them. It contains the stories of our people in the broadest sense, stories people have told that define human identity. They define the ballpark we play in.”

The David and Marilyn Knutson Lectureship of the Department of Religion was established in memory of David Knutson and in honor of Marilyn Knutson. David was an alumnus of Pacific Lutheran University and a long-time member of the Religion Department. Marilyn, also a PLU alumna, taught in the Tacoma public schools for many years. This lectureship aims to bring to campus recognized scholars who creatively work within the historical, scriptural, and theological sources of a living faith tradition, bringing those sources into dialogue with contemporary questions and challenges. As an annual event sponsored by the Department of Religion, the lectureship serves as a lasting testimony to the intellectual gifts and generosity of spirit so admirably expressed in the lives and teaching of David and Marilyn Knutson.

The lecture is free and open to the public.