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Martin Abegg, Ph.D.
Professor of Religious Studies; Director, MA Biblical Studies; Co-Director, Dead Sea Scrolls Institute
Martin Abegg was born in 1950 to Barbara and Martin (Jerry) Abegg in Peoria, Illinois. His mother was a housewife and sometime P.E. teacher while his father was a college professor and professional engineer. (Martin, Sr. retired from Bradley University [Peoria IL] in 1993 after 46 years, the last 22 as the university’s president.). Shortly after graduating from Bradley (BS in Geology, 1972), Abegg moved to Seattle, WA, to manage an industrial supply outlet and marry Susan Hemminger—whom he met while on a backpacking trip in the Olympic Mountains.
A Sunday School teaching responsibility in the late 70’s led to a few language classes and finally a degree from Northwest Baptist Seminary, in Tacoma, WA (MDiv 1983). After two years of teaching Hebrew at the seminary and one year of pastoring a struggling church on Vashon Island, WA, Abegg decided to pursue graduate work at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (1984).
At the Hebrew University Abegg became acquainted with the Dead Sea Scrolls. He registered for a class on the Septuagint (the ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible) in the fall of 1986, only to find that the professor, Emanuel Tov (current editor and chief of Scroll publication), had decided to investigate the biblical scrolls from the Qumran caves instead. Initial disappointment was overturned by Tov’s passion for the subject matter.
After returning to the States in 1987, Abegg completed his degree at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, OH (Ph.D. 1993). His dissertation was a critical edition of the War Scroll from Qumran Cave 1. It was during his studies at Hebrew Union College that Abegg began his collaboration with Professor Ben Zion Wacholder. The record of this partnership is the four volumes of A Preliminary Edition of the Unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls; the first of which was instrumental in breaking the publishing deadlock in the fall of 1991.
After a three year teaching stint at Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, IN (1992-95), Abegg moved to British Columbia where he was the Ben Zion Wacholder Professor of Dead Sea Scroll Studies at Trinity Western University in Langley, BC . He was co-director (with Peter Flint) of the Dead Sea Scrolls Institute at TWU.