ACU Humanities has another Top 5 scholar

For the second year running, ACU has scored one of five coveted places in the ABC’s Top 5 Humanities Scholar Program, a national program to engage leading early-career researchers with a broader public.

Historian and theologian Dr Gareth Wearne, from the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, has been named one of the 2019 scholars.  Dr Wearne works on the Dead Sea Scrolls, which include our earliest copies of the Bible, and their implications for modern social, ethical, and religious discourses.

A recent multimillion-dollar collaboration between the Israel Antiquities Authority and Google for their digitisation, has meant all interested parties now have free and unrestricted access to the Scrolls online. Dr Wearne is using this access to explore the diversity of thought and interpretative practices reflected in the Scrolls especially in the texts that eventually formed the Jewish and Christian Bibles.

“By making efforts to consider the ancient origins and historical development of current interpretative practices, we are better able to recognise the steps and missteps which are taken in attempts to interpret the Bible and bring it into discussions on contemporary social issues (e.g. sexual ethics or freedom of speech), and to identify often unacknowledged influences on our thought,” he wrote in his application.

More than 150 academics applied for the ABC Top 5 scholars program this year. It offers early-career researchers a two-week residency at ABC RN, learning from the nation's leading journalists and broadcasters to communicate their ideas and develop outstanding content across radio, television and online.  This is only the second year of the Humanities program and last year Dr Benjamin Moffitt, from the National School of Arts, was chosen to share his work on populism.

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Arts and Academic Culture) Professor Michael Ondaatje said the selection of two ACU scholars among the 10 chosen so far by the ABC was a testament to the University’s growing strength in humanities and social sciences.

“In the recent Research Engagement and Impact assessment, Historical Studies at ACU was ranked equal first in Australia, and there are plenty of other bright spots in the core liberal arts disciplines.  ACU is being noticed as a serious player in the HASS sector and the challenge for us will be to build on recent momentum to strengthen our profile into the future,” he said.

Gareth Wearne

Image above: ACU historian and theologian Gareth Wearne.

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