Archived News | Return to News Center

August 28, 2009

ULM to host eminent scholar Géza Vermes September 23-24

Géza Vermes – one of the first scholars to examine the Dead Sea Scrolls after their discovery in 1947 – will be a distinguished guest of the University of Louisiana at Monroe in September.

Vermes will visit ULM Sept. 23 to meet with students of a master’s level history class focused on biblical lands.

He will give a lecture, free and open to the public, from 7 to 8 p.m. in Biedenharn Hall on Sept. 24. Seating is limited for this non-ticketed event.

Vermes authored the standard translation into English of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The scrolls were a collection of manuscripts that shed new light on the Bible story.

Perhaps his most significant contribution to the academic world was the publication of “Jesus the Jew,” the first of a trilogy that provoked many scholars and non-scholars alike to re-examine the central figure of Christianity.

“The Resurrection” is a more recent work, in which Vermes uses his trademark textual analysis to separate fact from myth.

“I wanted to explain exactly what the New Testament does tell us about the resurrection,” he said in a recent interview. “People usually rely on others to interpret the gospels for them and St Paul's assertion of the physical resurrection has become a cornerstone of Christianity for many people. If Jesus didn't rise from the dead, then faith is rubbish.”

Vermes was born a Jew, converted to Christianity, became a Catholic priest, and then 20 years later, re-affirmed himself as a Jew.

Germans passed anti-Jewish laws during Vermes’ teen years that determined that one was a Jew based not on religious choice, but ethnicity. Many years after the Holocaust, Vermes published his autobiography, “Providential Accidents,” which told of the boycott against him and other boys of Jewish descent by his non-Jewish childhood classmates.

Vermes was once quoted as having said, "It was only 50 years later that I really got over it when I returned to the school … it was something totally unjust."

PLEASE NOTE: Some links and e-mail addresses in these archived news stories may no longer work, and some content may include events which are no longer relevent, or reference individuals and/or organizations no longer associated with ULM.