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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.
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Curating the Dead Sea Scrolls
Shubha Bala, associate producer

"Scroll" Jar and Lid
An exhibit showcases one of the clay “scroll” jars discovered in the Qumran caves that dates back to 100 BCE–70 CE. (photo: Craig Thiesen/Science Museum of Minnesota)

In late May, a listener from Mississippi, Emily Haire, was walking through the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport and noticed an advertisement for the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota. A few days earlier, she had listened to our show podcast about manuscript preservation in "Preserving Words and Worlds" and submitted this interesting observation:

"Walking through the MSP airport this morning, I noticed advertisements for the Dead Sea Scroll exhibit at the Science Museum. I had just listened to the SOF a few days ago. I’m wondering how museum curators of religious artifacts interpret, or navigate, the distance between very academic topics and the knowledge base of the general public."

So, we decided to contact one of the curators and ask her question, along with some questions of our own. In the audio above, Mike Day, a senior vice president at the Science Museum of Minnesota, sheds some light on the decision-making made by their team about how they present these unique artifacts.

Also, in the unedited version of my interview (download mp3), he expands on how the exhibit touches people, and he even discusses the inclusion of the Saint John’s Bible. When the tape stopped rolling, he told me that the shape of the cave entrance in the photo above is an exact replica of one of the scroll fragments.

Cave 4 above Qumran
Excavations of the caves above the ancient settlement of Qumran yielded thousands of Dead Sea Scroll fragments. This particular cave, Cave 4, held approximately 500 manuscripts that were discovered by Bedouin shepherds in 1952. The scrolls stored here were placed on the floor or on wooden shelves, and the complete fragmentation of these fragile documents made it difficult to reassemble all the pieces. (Ed Fleming/Science Museum of Minnesota)

Comments
Wired BenedictineTrent Gilliss, Online Editor
Each month I look forward to ripping off the plastic wrap of the latest issue of some of the smartest, wittiest, snarkiest writing in magazine format — that’s right, in the tech rag Wired. But, it isn’t the paid contributors that I turn to first. Oh no, the real sass and verve come from its readers — the ones who fire the opening salvo showcased in its Rants section.
And, who should be one of the headliners but Father Columba Stewart, whom Krista recently interviewed at home base of St. John’s University in upstate Minnesota. We tentatively have this upcoming program scheduled for broadcast some week after the glitterball drops. Father Columba’s letter to the editor, cleverly titled “Geek Orthodox,” gives you an idea of this man’s savviness and how dialed in he and his brothers at the Abbey are. They’re progressive agenda in preserving and digitizing ancient manuscripts (watch our video) from India, Ethiopia, and Georgia (not the state) for a centralized repository is exciting and, dare I say, sustainable. And it’s hard not to admire Columba Stewart’s humorous approach to all his pursuits, including reading pop culture periodicals:

In "When Tech Attacks!" (Start, issue 16.09), you say “Christian theologians denounced the printing press as the work of the devil.” Whoa! It wasn’t so simple. Remember, the monks of the Dark Ages preserved classical civilization by copying its texts, making possible the technological discoveries of later centuries. And monks welcomed the printing press. Gutenberg’s most famous project was a Latin Catholic Bible, and you can almost hear the relief in the cloister: “You mean we don’t have to write it out by hand anymore?” As a Benedictine monk working with the world’s largest archive of digital and microfilm images of old manuscripts, I have strong feelings about both the preservation of ancient culture and the benefits of modern technology. Whatever you might say about other neighborhoods in the Church, we Benedictines have always been in the technological vanguard.

(photo: Colleen Scheck)
Wired BenedictineTrent Gilliss, Online Editor
Each month I look forward to ripping off the plastic wrap of the latest issue of some of the smartest, wittiest, snarkiest writing in magazine format — that’s right, in the tech rag Wired. But, it isn’t the paid contributors that I turn to first. Oh no, the real sass and verve come from its readers — the ones who fire the opening salvo showcased in its Rants section.
And, who should be one of the headliners but Father Columba Stewart, whom Krista recently interviewed at home base of St. John’s University in upstate Minnesota. We tentatively have this upcoming program scheduled for broadcast some week after the glitterball drops. Father Columba’s letter to the editor, cleverly titled “Geek Orthodox,” gives you an idea of this man’s savviness and how dialed in he and his brothers at the Abbey are. They’re progressive agenda in preserving and digitizing ancient manuscripts (watch our video) from India, Ethiopia, and Georgia (not the state) for a centralized repository is exciting and, dare I say, sustainable. And it’s hard not to admire Columba Stewart’s humorous approach to all his pursuits, including reading pop culture periodicals:

In "When Tech Attacks!" (Start, issue 16.09), you say “Christian theologians denounced the printing press as the work of the devil.” Whoa! It wasn’t so simple. Remember, the monks of the Dark Ages preserved classical civilization by copying its texts, making possible the technological discoveries of later centuries. And monks welcomed the printing press. Gutenberg’s most famous project was a Latin Catholic Bible, and you can almost hear the relief in the cloister: “You mean we don’t have to write it out by hand anymore?” As a Benedictine monk working with the world’s largest archive of digital and microfilm images of old manuscripts, I have strong feelings about both the preservation of ancient culture and the benefits of modern technology. Whatever you might say about other neighborhoods in the Church, we Benedictines have always been in the technological vanguard.

(photo: Colleen Scheck)

Wired Benedictine
Trent Gilliss, Online Editor

Each month I look forward to ripping off the plastic wrap of the latest issue of some of the smartest, wittiest, snarkiest writing in magazine format — that’s right, in the tech rag Wired. But, it isn’t the paid contributors that I turn to first. Oh no, the real sass and verve come from its readers — the ones who fire the opening salvo showcased in its Rants section.

And, who should be one of the headliners but Father Columba Stewart, whom Krista recently interviewed at home base of St. John’s University in upstate Minnesota. We tentatively have this upcoming program scheduled for broadcast some week after the glitterball drops. Father Columba’s letter to the editor, cleverly titled “Geek Orthodox,” gives you an idea of this man’s savviness and how dialed in he and his brothers at the Abbey are. They’re progressive agenda in preserving and digitizing ancient manuscripts (watch our video) from India, Ethiopia, and Georgia (not the state) for a centralized repository is exciting and, dare I say, sustainable. And it’s hard not to admire Columba Stewart’s humorous approach to all his pursuits, including reading pop culture periodicals:

In "When Tech Attacks!" (Start, issue 16.09), you say “Christian theologians denounced the printing press as the work of the devil.” Whoa! It wasn’t so simple. Remember, the monks of the Dark Ages preserved classical civilization by copying its texts, making possible the technological discoveries of later centuries. And monks welcomed the printing press. Gutenberg’s most famous project was a Latin Catholic Bible, and you can almost hear the relief in the cloister: “You mean we don’t have to write it out by hand anymore?” As a Benedictine monk working with the world’s largest archive of digital and microfilm images of old manuscripts, I have strong feelings about both the preservation of ancient culture and the benefits of modern technology. Whatever you might say about other neighborhoods in the Church, we Benedictines have always been in the technological vanguard.

(photo: Colleen Scheck)

Comments

SoundSeen: Prepping (Smelling) Manuscripts with Columba
Trent Gilliss, Online Editor

Yesterday, a few producers (Colleen, Mitch, and I) drove about an hour northwest of Minneapolis to the town of Collegeville to scout locations for Krista’s interview with Father Columba Stewart. This small Minnesota town is home to the Benedictine monks of St. John’s Abbey and University, and the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML, or “himmel” as I’ve heard it pronounced).

If you’ve heard of their work, it’s most probably for the St. John’s Bible, a project commissioning the first handwritten, illuminated Bible since the printing press made its appearance in the 15th century. But, these archivists also preserve and digitize an incredibly large number of manuscripts from places all over the globe, including the world’s largest collection of Ethiopian manuscripts and continuing projects in Syria, Lebanon, Malta, Ukraine, India, and many countries in Europe.

For this morning’s interview, Mitch asked Columba to bring a few examples. So, he and Wayne Torborg pulled out a few and gave us a preview. If only you could smell them. Ooh la la!

Comments
Scouting Locations for Tomorrow’s Interview Trent Gilliss, Online Editor
Father Columba Stewart, executive director of the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library at St. John’s University, and Wayne Torborg, its director of digital collections and imaging, give Colleen, Mitch, and me a preliminary tour of the bowels of the room where they digitize ancient manuscripts. I’m excited for Krista’s interview with Fr. Stewart tomorrow. I’ll post video in a few hours when I offload from my phone.
(photo: Trent Gilliss)
Scouting Locations for Tomorrow’s Interview Trent Gilliss, Online Editor
Father Columba Stewart, executive director of the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library at St. John’s University, and Wayne Torborg, its director of digital collections and imaging, give Colleen, Mitch, and me a preliminary tour of the bowels of the room where they digitize ancient manuscripts. I’m excited for Krista’s interview with Fr. Stewart tomorrow. I’ll post video in a few hours when I offload from my phone.
(photo: Trent Gilliss)

Scouting Locations for Tomorrow’s Interview
Trent Gilliss, Online Editor

Father Columba Stewart, executive director of the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library at St. John’s University, and Wayne Torborg, its director of digital collections and imaging, give Colleen, Mitch, and me a preliminary tour of the bowels of the room where they digitize ancient manuscripts. I’m excited for Krista’s interview with Fr. Stewart tomorrow. I’ll post video in a few hours when I offload from my phone.

(photo: Trent Gilliss)

Comments