Posts Tagged ‘Hebrew’

Four seminary students selected for two-week internship in Oxford

If studying ancient manuscripts is a dream come true, then studying ancient manuscripts at one of the world’s best universities must be paradise.

Four seminary students from MU have been selected to attend the Logos Conference, a two-week internship at Oxford sponsored by the Green Scholars Initiative (GSI). Only students working on GSI projects were invited to apply for the summer conference, where world-renowned academic experts will teach them history, theology and textual studies.


Haley Kirkpatrick (pictured) is studying in Oxford with classmates Becca McMartin, Daniel Somboonsiri and David Tucker.

Students from more than 60 schools across North America applied, but only 30 people were selected. Five additional students who participated in the 2014 internship were chosen to attend as second-year fellows. David Tucker and Becca McMartin will be attending the conference for the first time. Haley Kirkpatrick and Daniel Somboonsiri will be joining as second-year fellows.

Biblical Languages Chair Dr. Karl Kutz told his Hebrew students about the opportunity this winter and encouraged them to apply. McMartin, Kirkpatrick and Somboonsiri have assisted Kutz with two GSI projects, and Tucker has helped with one. Both projects focused on analyzing a never-before-seen Dead Sea Scroll fragment loaned to them from the Green Collection.

“These four are some of our best students, and I am delighted they have been selected,” says Kutz. “The invitation for them to participate speaks very highly of their skills and the quality of our program.”

McMartin says she waited on pins and needles to find out if she was chosen for the trip. When she heard the good news, she called Kirkpatrick, who had just received confirmation of her own acceptance. They screamed together in glee over the phone.

“This is almost unbelievable,” says McMartin. “Studying a Dead Sea Scroll fragment is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And everything we do in Oxford will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity too! It’s humbling, and it’s an honor.”

Kutz, who was invited to lead three sessions of a Logos Hebrew language seminar, will join his students in Oxford for five days. 


Daniel Somboonsiri (pictured) and Haley Kirkpatrick will attend the Logos Conference as second-year fellows.

“I am excited for them to have the opportunity to learn from other leading scholars in the field of textual research,” he says. “I am also glad they get to rub shoulders with other junior scholars from around the world who will become their peers as they continue in their studies and careers.”

As second-year fellows, Kirkpatrick and Somboonsiri will give presentations on the two GSI projects they have tackled. They’ll discuss the particular fragments they studied, how they analyzed them, processes in research they took and more. In addition to presenting their findings, fellows will also lead small group discussions. “Our schedule in Oxford is packed!” says Kirkpatrick. “Group discussions are a way for us to process the experience as it’s happening.”

Although the internship is a flurry of chapels, lectures, tours, discussions and tea times, Kirkpatrick hopes McMartin and Tucker can slow down to soak it all in. “My hope is that their experience in Oxford affirms for them how well God knows them and what he’s called them to do,” she says.

McMartin says they wouldn’t be going to Oxford if it weren’t for their teachers. “Our professors have accepted a huge responsibility by taking on GSI projects so that we could have this opportunity,” she says. “I’m so thankful for their investment in us.”

Kirkpatrick agrees. “I appreciate their emphasis on teamwork, and I appreciate recognizing and encouraging strengths in your teammates,” she says. “Our professors have a keen understanding of the language complimented by curiosity. They invite their students into the process. I still think we have the best Hebrew program in the country.”

Learn more about MU's Hebrew program.

MU’s Torah unrolls new learning opportunities for community

Comments Off Written on February 6th, 2015 by
Categories: Events, Press Releases, Students

Thursday dawned wet and dreary, but it might as well have been Christmas for MU’s Hebrew department. As soon as people filed into the JCA Student Center that morning, they saw the reason: A 16th-century Torah scroll lay partially unfurled on stage, offering the crowd an enticing glimpse into the rich history of biblical transmission work.

MU president Dr. Craig Williford commenced the Torah Dedication Chapel by introducing the donors, Ken and Barbara Larson, who had flown in from Florida that morning.

“We can feel your enthusiasm in the air,” said Barbara Larson. “We’ve been impressed by your faculty and students, and we’re excited for what this Torah will do for the school.”

The scroll, which is durable enough to be used frequently for decades to come, will provide countless learning opportunities for MU students.

“We intend to use the scroll as an object of study in and of itself,” said Biblical Languages Chair and Hebrew professor Dr. Karl Kutz. “We can learn about scribal work, the transcription process and more.”

MacKenzie Williams and Chad Woodward are two students who will benefit from using the Torah, and they expressed their gratitude to the Larsons during the dedication.

“Thank you for this opportunity to grow as a Hebrew community,” said Williams. “This means a great deal to me.”

The gift means a great deal to Kutz as well.

“You can imagine I’ve been anticipating this moment for some time,” he told the crowd. The scroll, he said, represents many things: history, centuries of faithful copying, transmission work, and the enduring faith of God’s people. But most importantly, he noted, it represents an appeal. “This Torah is an invitation to a relationship with the living God…an invitation to me and you,” he said.

After the dedication chapel, the scroll was swaddled in cloth, tucked into a padded suitcase and transported to Bradley Hall for a colloquium with Ancient Manuscripts Expert Dr. Scott Carroll.

Four long tables, each draped with a black tablecloth, lined the stage. As the Torah was carefully unrolled, it crackled and popped, creating stiff waves along the tabletops.

The 89-foot scroll, Carroll said, was composed somewhere in Eastern Europe during the Reformation. Constructing the parchment for such a Torah is no small feat — the artifact is comprised of 50 calf skins.Vegetable components were used for ink and goose feathers for writing. It took a scribe an entire year to create the manuscript. 

“If this Torah could talk to us, imagine what it could say and what it’s seen,” said Carroll. “It was preserved through the Enlightenment and the Holocaust. Through a wonderful turn of Providence, it’s in your community now.”

Listeners were invited on stage to get a firsthand look. Some gently touched the scroll's edges — smooth on top, suede on bottom. Others bent over the relic, iPhones poised. A few scanned the impeccably centered lines of text, their eyes searching for familiar passages.

Carroll then asked everyone to encircle the room so the scroll could be completely unfurled, a scene you might witness in some synagogues during the Jewish festival Simchat Torah. Young and old, seasoned Hebrew scholars and novices alike held the Torah together. It was the first time the scroll had ever been fully unraveled.

Hebrew student Thomas Belcastro was euphoric. “It’s beautiful,” he said. “When I came to Multnomah, I didn’t expect I’d ever be holding a 600-year-old scroll. I actually get to study it on Monday.” 

Koby Krikac: No Boundaries

Comments Off Written on July 1st, 2014 by
Categories: Students

koby_mainAsk Koby Krikac why he chose Multnomah and you'll get a threefold answer: "One, it has the best language programs; two, it’s a biblical university; and three, it’s in Portland, and Portland’s weather is awesome," he says.

That last reason might seem odd — especially coming from a Los Angeles native. But Krikac wouldn't have it any other way. "I love how you can watch the seasons change here," he says. "You see God's beauty everywhere."

The Greek major has big dreams, and MU is proving to be the perfect launching pad. The senior is set on one day translating the Bible into a different language and planting a church in France with his wife. Studying at MU has been the first step toward that goal.

"Multnomah gives you the opportunity to master biblical languages," he says. "I’m learning from scholars who are professionals in their fields, so I have no boundaries of how much I can learn. I can grow as much as I want to!" Krikac says he plans on being fluent in both Greek and Hebrew (his minor) by the time he graduates in December.

Studying the languages is hard work, but the opportunity has given Krikac a deeper appreciation for God’s Word. "Certain flavors and colors of the Bible come out more when you read it in a different language," he explains. "What I’ve learned has given the Word a new depth."

Living on campus has made Krikac’s experience at MU even better. "The community really is a family," he says. "You get to know people quickly, and there are opportunities to invest in others."

And when it comes to investing in his education, Krikac is happy he chose a school that values financial aid as much as he does. "MU definitely helps you where you are," he says. "The grants and scholarships really help you out, but the things you learn here are priceless."

Krikac admits that some might see Multnomah's small size as a negative. But he encourages everyone to look past the surface. "You get such a quality education here, but in an intimate setting," he says. "And you get such great one-on-one moments with your professors. Plus, MU makes it possible for you to get two majors in four years — why wouldn’t you do that? This place faithfully teaches the Word of God and prepares you for life."

Graduates Reflect on Years Well Spent

Spring term has now come to a close. Last Friday night graduates walked across the stage, accepted their diplomas and tossed their hats into the air in celebration. I sat down with several of our exceptional graduates from our college, graduate school and seminary to hear more about their experiences and the impact a Multnomah education has had on them. 


GradFall2014_3Name: Danae Cowan

Hometown: Sweet Home, Ore.

Majors: Bachelor of Arts

Favorite MU memory: “During a late-night study session with my roommate in Memorial Hall, we were struggling to stay awake. Every hour on the hour, without a word, we’d drop our books and run one lap around our dorm. By the second and third time, we were laughing so hard we couldn’t stop.”

Dream job: “I’d love to work with women who are hurting and are in need of healing.”

Favorite professor: Dr. Val Clemen, who taught her Gender in Ministry class. “I love the way she connected with her students. She has such a huge love for Jesus and her students.”

Local perks: “I went to the Portland Art Museum this year and loved it. I also enjoy just walking through the city and people watching.”

Lesson learned: “Multnomah is a place where I learned about grace.”


GradFall2014_4Name: Ethan Knudson

Hometown: Renton, Wash.

Majors: Bachelor of Arts

Favorite MU memory: One night during his junior year when he and his friends were playing soccer. “My friend Charlie said to us, ‘If I make this next goal, you have to copy me and do whatever I do next. Deal?’ He made the goal, and then we all had to run through the sprinklers, which had just come on. That was a fun night.”

Dream job: After earning a master’s degree in teaching, Ethan hopes to become a theology professor and team teach alongside his fiancée. “I want to be in a position that allows me to connect with students and mentor them.”

Favorite professor: Dr. Karl Kutz, his Hebrew professor. “He’s brilliant. He cares about the heart and soul care of each student. He prepares you to face tough questions and tough seasons in life.”

Local perks: Eating at Salt and Straw and food carts like Thai Garden. “I love going to Townshend Tea with my fiancée and reading.”

Lesson learned: “Being at MU has been the most life-defining experience I’ve had. I’ve learned to be OK with not having all the answers, whether it’s about theology or life in general. That’s been freeing and has allowed me to enjoy life.”


GradFall2014_2Name: Clarissa Smith

Hometown: Golini, Kenya

Majors: Bachelor of Arts

Favorite MU memory: “One night Danae Cowan and Kayla Thomas and I dressed up and went out to dinner in Portland. It’s was pouring rain. You should have seen us balancing umbrellas in our heels trying to find the restaurant. We had a blast. After dinner, we went to Fred Meyer and bought roses to bring to Oregon Health and Sciences University Hospital. While we were at Fred Meyer, our car broke down! After we got it running, we took the tram up to the hospital and delivered the roses to nurses. That was super fun. The women I’ve become friends with at MU are wonderful. Together we laugh, cry, go on adventures and share what God has been doing in our lives.”

Next job: She’s moving to China to teach English for one year. “Only the Lord could take a girl who grew up in a tribal village in Kenya and send her to the big cities in China to teach English.”

Favorite professor: Dr. Ray Lubeck, who taught her Old Testament and Biblical Theology class: “His ability to take big concepts and present them in a way that’s understandable and relatable is unique. He gives his students a curiosity to learn for the rest of their lives.”

Local perks: “I love going to Monty’s Café for chai tea or Palio’s for a late-night study session. Another favorite activity is going to get frozen yogurt at YoCream (frozen yogurt.) Also, the international food scene here in Portland is really good.”

Lesson learned: “To live my life with open hands.”


GradFall2014_1Name: Jason Cybulski

Hometown: Burlingame, Calif.

Degree: M.A. in Pastoral Studies/Christian Leadership

Favorite MU memory: Jason, who lives in married housing with his wife and two daughters, spoke highly of the Multnomah community. “There’s nothing better. It’s great to meet new people and live life together with our families.”

Next job: Teaching Pastor at Potter’s Hands in Tigard, Ore.

Favorite professor: “That is an unfair question. One of my favorites is Prof. Tom Schiave, who taught my Theology of Community in Ministry class. He took time away from academia to shepherd those of us who wanted to go into vocational ministry.”

Local perks: He and his family enjoy discovering new places to eat. “The food here in the city of Portland is great.”

Lesson learned: “It’s important to cultivate the mind of a scholar, but that’s not worth anything without a pastor’s heart that can shepherd people.”


GradFall2014_5 Name: Rie Doss

Hometown: Kyoto, Japan

Degree: Master’s in Divinity, Chaplaincy track

Favorite MU memory: Rie remembers the MU community fondly. “I enjoyed learning from my classmates.” The M.Div. program is so rigorous that Rie stressed the importance of the support she found at MU. “We encouraged each other.”

Next job: Chaplain Fellow at Portland VA Medical Center

Favorite professor: Dr.  Roger Troutmann, her advisor. “He was a great mentor — always there for me and very encouraging.”

Local perks: Hiking in the Gorge during the spring and summer and snowshoeing in the winter opened doors for her to enjoy God’s creation.

Lesson learned: “Trust in God. Keep working. At the beginning, I felt very scared. But I took one week at a time and one class at a time.”


Seminary Students to Join Leading Scholars at Oxford

Translating a never-before-seen Dead Sea Scrolls fragment is exciting enough. But when that fragment paves the way to an all-expenses-paid trip to Oxford, it brings learning to a whole new level.

Haley Cloyd and Daniel Somboonsiri have been selected to attend the Logos Conference, a two-week internship in Oxford sponsored by the Green Scholars Initiative (GSI). Only students working on GSI projects were invited to apply for the summer conference, where world-renowned academic experts will teach them history, theology and textual studies.

‘I felt like Charlie with the golden ticket’

OxfordPhotoCloyd has been working on MU’s GSI Dead Sea Scrolls project since last fall, and Somboonsiri began analyzing the fragment this spring. Biblical Languages Chair Dr. Karl Kutz, who directs this GSI project, told a few of his Hebrew students about the opportunity in January and encouraged them to apply.

Somboonsiri was shocked when he heard that he was chosen for the internship. “I felt like Charlie with the golden ticket in my hand,” he says. “It’s surreal.”

Cloyd was ecstatic when she received the news. “I’m so excited about the Bodleian Library — it has ancient manuscripts, a Gutenburg Bible and manuscripts written by C.S. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien!” she says. “And I’m excited to meet more Hebrew nerds from other schools.”

“I’m not surprised they were selected,” says Kutz. “They are both very capable. I’m very proud of them.”

Kutz will attend the second week of the conference, when professors and students work side-by-side with ancient manuscripts from the Green Collection. “I have a tremendous amount of gratitude to the Green family for their stewardship of the resources God has given them,” he says. “I’m looking forward to working on the projects with the students for most of the day. I enjoy the intense academic environment.”

Students from more than 60 schools in North America applied for the internship, and only 30 were selected. Five additional students who have already participated in the internship were chosen to serve as teaching assistants.

“I know we have a very quality program,” says Kutz. “I think it shows in our students by how well they read the language.”

‘Geek heaven’

OxfordStudent2A few years ago, Somboonsiri was doubtful he could excel in his Hebrew classes. “I thought learning the language was going to be the most daunting thing,” he says. “But Dr. Kutz’s curriculum doesn’t depend on rote memorization; instead, you understand how the language lives and breathes.”

This unique approach, coupled with supportive faculty, made Somboonsiri realize he could do more than he ever thought was possible. “The professors here are so passionate about Hebrew — it’s infectious,” he says. “I’ve been inspired to push myself in my studies thanks to their experience and guidance.”

Now all that work has paid off, and Somboonsiri can’t wait to reap the benefits. “I’m looking forward to the dinner chats with the scholars, especially the chats focused on apologetics,” he says. “We’ll get to hear from them about what it looks like to be a person of faith in the world of academia. To have the advice of people who have walked that path will be amazing.”

Somboonsiri plans to follow in their footsteps. After graduation, he wants to earn a Ph.D. and teach theology and Hebrew at a university. “My heart is to disciple people to be passionate about holistically living in Christ by participating in His redemptive mission in the world,” he says. “I would love to spend my life preparing people of the kingdom to live sacrificially as they bear witness to Jesus’ sacrificial love.”

In the meantime, he’s looking forward to representing his school at one of the world’s most prestigious universities. “Multnomah is small, but Dr. Kutz is very respected,” he says. “His language program is geek heaven. It’s the best in the country.”

‘A glimpse of the bigger picture’

OxfordStudent1Cloyd feels the same way. “Multnomah’s Hebrew program has a high level of scholarship, and the professors build that up in their students,” she says. “What’s really cool is that Dr. Kutz comes alongside you and shows you how to do things. He gets to know each student, and then tailors projects to fit the person.”

The individual attention and rigorous courses have given Cloyd a love for Hebrew that she couldn’t image life without. “Our professors encourage curiosity and investigating,” she says. “And you have to be curious to do research. Otherwise, it can get boring.”

Cloyd isn’t just passionate about the research — she’s invested in every word she’s studying. “The professors have given us a love for the Word, for knowing it well and for knowing its history,” she says. “To study the Bible well, you have to respect the saints who came before you and approach the book with humility.”

Like Somboonsiri, Cloyd plans to pursue a Ph.D. after graduation. Her time in Oxford will bring her dream of being a professor of Hebrew and Old Testament Studies closer than ever.

“There are the practical ways the internship will help me — it can go on my résumé, and it looks good,” she says. “But even more than that, it’s affirming that what I’m studying isn’t silly. It’s not just a hobby. And it’s not just something to pay the bills. I’m going to be able to do work that I love. This internship is just a glimpse of the bigger picture.”

Interested in finding out more about our Hebrew program? Check out MU's Biblical Hebrew page.

Have questions about MU's programs or enrollment? Send us a note. We'd love to hear from you. 

Listen to Dead Sea Scrolls Expert Via Live Stream

Dr. Robert Duke, who graduated from Multnomah in 1996, will present his research on the Dead Sea Scrolls at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 15. Michelle Peel-Underwood, director of Alumni Relations, provides details below.
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