President Merrill J. Bateman recently announced the creation of the Brigham Young University Institute for the Study and Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts, which embraces BYUs Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) and the work of the former Center for the Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts (CPART).
FARMS will be the name under which the Institute undertakes projects, publications, and public relations and transacts business focused on topics and audiences associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said Daniel Oswald, executive director of the new Institute. The infrastructure of FARMSin publications, operations, development, and administrationnow provides the supporting infrastructure for the Institute.
The establishment of this Institute represents BYUs commitment to the preservation and understanding of religious texts, said President Bateman. Because of BYUs efforts, people of many religious traditions now have access to ancient records that were previously unavailable. With this new Institute, our hope is to increase access to many more of these rare documents.
The production of the Dead Sea Scrolls on CD-ROM, the Islamic Translation Series, and the image-acquisition and electronic publication pioneered by CPART are noteworthy examples of the work being done at BYU, Oswald said. The Institute will now be the university framework in which these projects find a comfortable and productive home.
The Institute will direct a number of projects that come under one of two major divisions: (1) the study of ancient scripture and related subjects (e.g., traditional FARMS research on the Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham, and early Christianity) and (2) the preservation, translation, and dissemination of ancient religious texts (e.g., the Dead Sea Scrolls and other Jewish texts and the Middle Eastern Texts Initiative).