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Garry Jost Presents at Regional Meeting

Dr. Garry Jost, religious studies faculty, gave a presentation at the West Coast Qumran Study Group in June 2014.

Sponsored by the University of Oregon, the meeting was hosted at Lewis and Clark College and George Fox University. This year's theme was Difficult Texts and Digital Tools. Most of the presentations concerned the fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the challenges they present, such as reconstructing the text when only several words and partial letters are extant.

With his colleague from George Fox University, Dr. Steve Delamarter, Dr. Jost presented Digitizing Ethiopian Manuscripts. The project transcribes and analyzes manuscripts written in Ge'ez, the ancient language of Ethiopia and the liturgical language of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The manuscripts date from the 14th through 20th centuries.

Dr. Jost presented the computer scripts that he wrote to do the following: calculate the percentage of agreement between each manuscript and each other manuscript; color code the values; generate a dendrogram (a tool from the field of statistics based on hierarchical clustering); determine which readings in the text are best able to identify a manuscript's family; determine the "family profile" for each manuscript; and identify which manuscript best represents each family.

Garry Jost is a faculty member in the Department of Graduate Religious Studies. He has worked with manuscripts of the Old Testament book of Obadiah and has recently started working on the Old Testament book of Ruth, together with Dr. Daniel Assefa of the Capuchin Franciscan Institute of Philosophy and Theology in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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