PROVO, Utah BYU President Merrill J. Bateman recently announced the creation of the BYU Institute for the Study and Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts in an effort to strengthen "the important research and preservation of religious texts being done at BYU."
"Because of BYU's efforts, people of many religious traditions now have access to ancient records that were previously unavailable," said Elder Bateman of the Seventy. "With this new institute, our hope is to increase access to many more of these rare documents."
The new institute will bring together BYU's Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), the Middle Eastern Texts Initiative and the Center for the Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts (CPART).
Each BYU organization has completed noteworthy projects during recent years. The production of the Dead Sea Scrolls on CD, the Islamic Translation Series and the image-acquisition and electronic publication pioneered by CPART are examples of this work, said Daniel Oswald, executive director of the new institute.
"The institute will now be the university framework in which these projects find a comfortable and productive home," he said.
FARMS will still be the name under which the institute undertakes projects and publications focused on topics and audiences associated with the Church, he added.