The "Back to the Bible" Bible-reading marathon is back this year but at a special location—in the room where the Dead Sea Scrolls are on exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center. In addition to the Dead Sea Scrolls, a scroll containing the Ten Commandments has been added to the display.
This year, the reading begins at 10:00 a.m. on April 9. The reading from the Museum Center is being transmitted by Skype into Xavier’s Gallagher Student Center so the marathon can continue uninterrupted at Xavier.
The marathon began in 2009 when four Xavier students teamed up with Rabbi Abie Ingber, executive director of Xavier’s Center for Interfaith Community Engagement, to create a distinctive event on campus. During the marathjon, faculty, staff, students and community members read non-stop from Genesis to 2 Chronicles in 15-minute increments. In 2009, more than 100 people read in 27 different languages for 54 hours, including former Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk, who opened the event, reading in Latin; Inayat Malik, board member of the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati; and the late Dean James Diamond of Christ Church Cathedral.
Individuals sign up to read aloud publicly for 15 minutes in the language of their choice and from the Bible of their choice. The Xavier library provides a wealth of versions from which to choose. For information and to sign up as a reader, visit the Center for Interfaith Community Engagement’s webpage. Readers already confirmed include Doug McDonald, CEO of the Cincinnati Museum Center, and The Rev. Canon Joanna C. Leiserson, Canon for Spiritual Formation and Mission at Christ Church Cathedral.
The reading meets the mission of the Center for Interfaith Community Engagement, which strives to create and strengthen a sense of community among individuals of diverse faiths.
“The Ten Commandments are the most well-known and oldest texts in Biblical literature,” Ingber said. “It is an incredibly spiritual moment for us to begin reading the Bible in the presence of these ancient Bible scrolls. They have waited for this living moment as much as we have.”