Endowment to establish TWU as North American Centre for Septuagint Studies

The family of the late Professor John William Wevers, Th.D., pioneer Septuagint scholar at the University of Toronto, has donated $400,000 to endow the Septuagint Institute at Trinity Western University. This gift marks one of the University’s most significant single donations in recent years.

The Septuagint Institute, to be renamed the John William Wevers Institute for Septuagint Studies, will serve as the flagship for raising the additional funding needed to establish the John William Wevers Chair in Septuagint Studies.

“Under the leadership of the institute’s Director, Dr. Rob Hiebert, the discipline of Septuagint Studies constitutes a spike of excellence for TWU,” said TWU President, Jonathan S. Raymond, Ph.D., following the receipt of this donation. “Endowed chairs make possible the assurance of excellence in research and scholarship for the University. This initiative in particular fits TWU’s mission and commitment to excellence in biblical scholarship.”

Dr. Raymond recently met the Wevers family. “Their appreciation for Rob Hiebert, a former student of Dr. Wevers, was clear and obvious. Their trust in his leadership of the institute is underscored by their generous gift in Dr. Wevers’ name. We remain grateful.”

“This gift represents the passing of the torch,” says Hiebert. “Professor Wevers inaugurated a Septuagint Studies program at the University of Toronto in the 1950s, a program that unfortunately no longer exists. This generous donation reinforces the link that was forged between him and TWU and serves to perpetuate his scholarly legacy.”

In 2008, Dr. Wevers donated his personal library – some 3,000 volumes – to TWU. This unique and important collection, now housed in TWU’s Norma Marion Alloway Library, has proved to be an invaluable resource for the study of ancient biblical and related texts.

“The Septuagint Institute is one of TWU’s premier research institutes and at the very core of the identity of the University,” says Dean of Research, Elsie Froment, Ph.D., “We are delighted that Rob has carried on the work of Professor Wevers and attracted a nucleus of scholarship here.”

Since its creation in 2005, the Septuagint Institute has sponsored two international conferences, published a volume of scholarly essays, and spearheaded the establishment of specializations in Septuagint studies in two of TWU’s graduate degree programs. Future goals include involvement in the development of a Ph.D. in Biblical and Theological Studies with a specialization in Septuagint Studies and continued growth as an international hub for research.

The Septuagint is the Old Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. It is an important witness to the Jewish understanding of those Scriptures in the three centuries before the time of Jesus, and it is the version that the authors of the New Testament frequently used when quoting from what came to be known as the Old Testament. The Septuagint Institute, which was established at TWU to promote research on this early Bible translation, involves the largest group of specialists in this discipline at any academic institution in the country: Rob Hiebert, Ph.D.; Larry Perkins, Ph.D.; Dirk Büchner, Ph.D.; and Canada Research Chair in Dead Sea Scrolls Studies, Peter Flint, Ph.D.

Update: April 18, 2011

Congratulations and comments from the global academic community

What wonderful news. Congratulations! .... it's a great coup and wonderful for the future of the field.

Robert A. Kraft
Professor of Religious Studies, Emeritus
University of Pennsylvania

Impressive!!! Giving thanks to Professor Wevers' family I congratulate the Institute... He was (is) a great man.

Maria Victoria Spottorno
Profesora de Investigación (Research Professor)
Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales. CSIC

Congratulations, Rob, this is great news, and your university is a very worthy place for this Institute.

Emanuel Tov
Department of Bible
Hebrew University
Jerusalem, Israel

Congratulations on receiving the donation for the Septuagint Institute! All the best in your endeavours.

Ehud Ben Zvi
Professor of History and Classics
University of Alberta

Many congratulations indeed! It is wonderful news - a most generous donation, a fitting memorial, a truly supportive university, and, on your part (Rob), a tremendous achievement. It is a very well deserved reward for what I know have been many years of devoted labour. I am sure that the existence of a dedicated, prestigious and adequately funded institute will secure the continuation of the current worldwide flowering of Septuagint Studies. Long may it last.

Tessa Rajak
Professor of Ancient History Emeritus
University of Reading
Senior Research Fellow
Somerville College, Oxford

Bénédicte and I would like to congratulate you with the new elan of the TWU Septuagint Institute.

Professor Hans Ausloos
Chercheur qualifié F.R.S.-FNRS
Faculté de théologie
Université catholique de Louvain (UCL Belgium)

Professor Bénédicte Lemmelijn
Director of the Centre for Septuagint Studies and Textual Criticism
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (K.U.Leuven) (Belgium)

Many congratulations on securing this donation. It will ensure the continuing study of the LXX in Canada and beyond.

Professor Timothy H. Lim
Chair in Hebrew Bible & Second Temple Judaism, School of Divinity
Director of Research
University of Edinburgh

Warm congratulations on the receipt of this wonderful endowment! I already have my eye on students to send your way, and I will tell them all about this as they will be very excited as well. It is very exciting news not only for Trinity Western but also for biblical studies in our part of the world generally.

Harry O. Maier
Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Studies
Vancouver School of Theology

Congratulations on this honor celebrating your accomplished work and solid achievements. And thanks for working to preserve the name, dignity, and achievements (and library!) of our beloved pioneer, John. I'm glad TWU realizes the importance of this and supports it. Best wishes as you work to make Septuagint studies flourish.

Eugene Ulrich
O'Brien Professor of Hebrew Scriptures
Department of Theology
University of Notre Dame


Well, here we are, the Institute renamed after our Septuagintal father and grandfather respectively, and a John William Wevers chair in the making! As it happens, the Canadian Septuagint tradition began sixty years ago this year, when in 1951 Professor Wevers commenced his teaching career at the University of Toronto. But the baton has now been passed decisively to Trinity Western University. Warm congratulations, Rob. You did very well indeed and clearly have the confidence of your institution. And with you as joint-editor in chief of the Society of Biblical Literature Commentary on the Septuagint (SBLCS) series at a reinvigorated Institute, the future of Septuagint Studies in Canada looks brighter than ever. Great news indeed!

Albert Pietersma
Emeritus Professor of Septuagint & Hellenistic Greek
University of Toronto