In November of 2009, four Xavier University students teamed up with Rabbi Abie Ingber, executive director of Xavier’s Center for Interfaith Community Engagement, to create a distinctive event on campus, which is being reprised this year, beginning April 9, with a special twist.
Back to the Bible is a Bible-reading marathon in which 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.
This year, reading will begin on April 9 at 10:00 a.m. in the room where the Dead Sea Scrolls are on exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center. A scroll containing the Ten Commandments was just added to the display. The reading from the Museum Center will be Skyped to Xavier’s Gallagher Student Center so that the marathon can continue uninterrupted at Xavier.
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, go to https://centerforinterfaithcommunityengagement.acuityscheduling.com/. 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.
Xavier’s Center for Interfaith Community Engagement strives to create and strengthen a sense of community among individuals of diverse faiths on campus, in Cincinnati and beyond.
“The Ten Commandments are the most well-known and oldest texts in Biblical literature,” says Ingber. “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.”