Overview: Green Scholars Initiative


The Green Scholars Initiative is the research arm of Museum of the Bible. A select group of senior research scholars from academic institutions around the world are conducting primary research on items from the Green Collection—one of the world’s largest private collections of rare biblical texts and artifacts—through the initiative. Leading experts in the fields of papyri and cuneiform; Aramaic, Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Egyptian and Ethiopic texts; Coptic, medieval, Middle Eastern, early Jewish and early American artifacts; illuminated manuscripts; and Christian tradition and spirituality participate in the research. These senior scholars oversee teams of established and young scholars who are pioneering new biblical discoveries.


Executive Director Michael Holmes, Ph.D., leads the global network of academics and student-scholars researching artifacts via the Green Scholars Initiative. A biblical manuscript authority and professor of early Christian writings, Holmes has spent more than three decades in higher education teaching on and researching New Testament texts.


The Green Scholars Initiative is addressing a two-fold need in biblical studies, equipping the next generation of scholars and researching a vast reservoir of primary sources.


Scholars from 60 participating colleges, universities and seminaries around the globe are involved with some 90 research projects on items in the Green Collection, many of which are unpublished.

The research initiative breaks the mold of traditional research paradigms by pairing students with established scholars for primary research on the collection’s biblical texts and artifacts. The initiative democratizes research as it redefines excellence in teaching and scholarship.

  • Senior Scholars oversee a research project area involving scholars from various institutions and their students.
  • Distinguished Language Scholars provide their expertise in their main language or unique scholarly competency.
  • Scholar-mentors work under the auspices of a Senior Scholar to conduct research and mentor undergraduate and graduate students (Junior Scholars), helping to enrich their education through direct access to primary sources in the Green Collection.


Hundreds of students have already participated in this initiative. During the past two summers, over 70 participating Green Scholars Initiative students and their mentors were selected for special intensive workshops at University of Oxford.

The Green Scholars Initiative is independent of any one academic institution of higher learning. It continues to grow domestically and internationally.



Two forthcoming book series from Brill Publishers will cover both the early Jewish texts and an assortment of early papyri. An international team of textual scholars will unveil research on ancient Hebrew manuscripts—including fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls and prominent early codices from the Green Collection.

The Green Scholars Initiative Series on Jewish Texts—the first book of which is set to be released in 2015—will feature in-depth examination of some of the world’s oldest and rarest biblical texts, including portions from the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, Jonah, Ezekiel, Micah, Daniel and the Psalms.



  • “Scholars at…universities worldwide are burrowing into rare texts from the collection and pioneering technology that enables them to bring out the ancient words in the most faded and printed-over manuscripts.” (USA Today, April 4, 2011)
  • “The Green Scholars Initiative recaptures for the 21st century the zest that fueled the Renaissance rediscovery of classical learning.” (John Wilson, Editor, Books & Culture)
  • “The Green Scholars Initiative is an innovative, forward-thinking way of putting the collection in the hands of experts and students. It is a revolutionary model. Whereas collections usually work for the benefit of the private owner or the institution and its personnel, the Green Scholars Initiative will democratize access to an invaluable resource." (Dr. Kyle Harper, Assistant Professor of Classics and Letters, University of Oklahoma)
  • “The Green Scholars Initiative is a unique program, making it possible for undergraduates to work on primary materials alongside world-class scholars. Whenever I speak about the Green Collection and the Green Scholars Initiative, people get excited. Most importantly, young people get excited. I see the program contributing significantly to a reversal of the recent decline in college students interested in theological studies. I greatly appreciate the global vision of the Green Scholars Initiative.” (Dr. Curt Niccum, Associate Professor of Bible, Abilene Christian University)
  • "The innovative Green Scholars Initiative breaks new ground by offering students an opportunity to conduct original research using rare artifacts from the Green Collection. I can think of no other research program in which, for example, a student can carry out serious research on a second-century fragment from Corinthians and publish the results." (Dr. Mark Roosa, Dean of Libraries, Pepperdine University)
  • “The Green Scholars initiative is a unique endeavor to bring museum-level research objects to the researchers who are most qualified to investigate them and to use them in teaching and the training of new researchers of the ancient and medieval worlds.” (Dr. Dirk Obbink, The University Lecturer in Papyrology, University of Oxford, and fellow and tutor of Christ Church College)
  • "[H]aving this unprecedented opportunity to work directly with ancient and medieval texts—classical literature, early biblical texts and Christian commentary—allows us to contribute to fulfilling our university’s mission in a distinctive way at the highest level." (Dr. David Lyle Jeffrey, Distinguished Professor of Literature and the Humanities Honors College, Distinguished Senior Fellow and Director of Manuscript Research in Scripture and Tradition, Baylor University)
  • “What an amazing opportunity for undergraduate students—to be able to do hands-on work on rare and important ancient manuscripts under the guidance of a Scholar-mentor! This year select students will get to work on Codex Climaci Rescriptus, an important manuscript for biblical studies. Who would have thought that would ever be possible for undergrads?” (Dr. Leonard Allen, Director, Abilene Christian University Press)
  • "The Green Collection is a wealth of biblical and ancient manuscripts and artifacts that will resource scholars and students for years to come, and will provide the general public a rich understanding of the Bible and its impact upon societies. We all owe the Green family a debt of gratitude for their efforts to share this wealth through scholarly initiatives, exhibitions, lectures and the future Museum of the Bible. It will be a force in bringing a global focus to the best-selling book of all time." (Robert Cooley, President Emeritus and Professor of Biblical Archaeology, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary)
  • “Past scholars in biblical studies have been known to acquire treasured documents and use these documents to advance their own careers. The Green Collection and the Green Scholars Initiative are intentionally stewarding treasured documents in shared ways—to advance scholarship and discernment of the Bible for the world.” 
(Dr. Marty Alan Michelson, Professor, Southern Nazarene University