Dr. James Prather, associate professor of computer science and Dr. Brent Reeves, associate professor of computer science, recently received a $48,000 grant as part of their ongoing participation in the research of ethiopic manuscripts.
They were informed of the grant’s approval on July 29.
Prather and Reeves are a working with THEOT (The Textual History of the Ethiopic Old Testament), a research project whose goal is to bring greater attention and understanding to Ethiopian manuscripts of the Bible.
Prather and Reeves are part of the data analysis team, who have been working to digitize the manuscripts collected by field researchers.
“THEOT is doing the hard work of taking the manuscripts and digitizing them and comparing them and doing data analysis on them to find how they are related to one another” said Dr. Prather.
By digitizing the manuscripts, THEOT hopes to make these previously neglected texts easier for Bible scholars to access. Dr. Curt Niccum, Associate Director of CSART, one of the lead researchers, stressed the importance of the project.
“The Ethiopian translation is one of the oldest translations that we have,” said Niccum, “and yet it is one of the least studied.”
Niccum added that he hopes the electronic database that Dr. Reeves and Dr. Prather are working on will become a useful tool for a wide range of scholars.
“Whatever we can do to develop a user-friendly interface with our data and tools online will provide a stronger legacy,” Niccum said. “It will allow the labor to produce more fruit.”
Dr. Prather and Dr. Reeves plan to use the grant to focus more on the project and potentially hire students to assist in the research.