August 09, 2016


San Antonio, TX – Today, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) announced a $325,000.00 federal grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for St. Mary’s University. St. Mary’s will receive the grant through NEH’s Digital Humanities Implementation Grants program, which aims to support the implementation of experimental projects that have successfully completed a start-up phase and demonstrated their value to the humanities. Specifically, the funding will support St. Mary’s Jubilees Palimpsest Project, which uses Spectral RTI technology – an imaging technology invented at St. Mary’s – to reveal the previously-erased copy of Jubilees, the Testament of Moses, and an Arian Commentary on the Gospel of Luke that were once in the Jubilees Palimpsest manuscript. The manuscript’s parchment was erased to be used for a more orthodox text when the writings were deemed heretical in the fifth century.
“With its innovative work to uncover writings of the past, St. Mary’s will enrich our understanding of ancient people’s beliefs and how they affect our culture today,” said Rep. Castro. “This National Endowment for the Humanities funding enables the university to expand its leadership in manuscript imaging and share items of great religious and historical importance with scholars around the world. In the process of broadening our knowledge of the past, St. Mary’s is transforming the future of humanities research and showcasing the advanced scholarship happening right here in San Antonio.”
St. Mary’s faculty and students will travel to Milan, Italy to apply Spectral RTI technology to the Jubilees Palimpsest manuscript. The interactive images of those ancient books excluded from the Bible will be published online for anyone to study. St. Mary’s faculty and students will also use the NEH grant funds to train scholars and curators across the nation in the use of the imaging technology. 
“This grant will expand opportunities for our students to work at the forefront of innovations in the study of ancient Judaism and Christianity,” said St. Mary’s Associate Professor of Theology Dr. Hanneken. “I fully expect this grant project – and other projects using the technology we are developing – will lead to deeper understanding of the historical foundations of Christianity.”
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. NEH grants are highly competitive and involve a rigorous peer-review and selection process to ensure that the projects represent the highest level of humanities research and public engagement.
"NEH grants enable Americans across the country to have compelling humanities experiences that communicate the lessons of history and culture through books, films, websites, classrooms, museums, and libraries,” said NEH Chairman William D. Adams. “We are pleased to announce our most recent support of exceptional research, educational, preservation, and public programs projects in the humanities.”
More information about the Jubilees Palimpsest Project is available at