Law Library Displays Ancient Roman Artifacts
photo by Matt Imbler
written by Justin Forsyth
The Howard W. Hunter Law Library is featuring a display of ancient Roman artifacts from the time of Jesus, including a Roman nail and spearhead, coins, women’s jewelry, and dice like those that could have been used in the casting of lots. The display follows the sequence of events from the arrest to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, providing powerful associations between scripture and the artifacts.
John Welch, the Robert K. Thomas University Professor of Law at the BYU Law School, organized the exhibit to supplement a course he is teaching this semester about Jewish, Greek, and Roman legal perspectives on the New Testament.
“Since this week is Easter, we are concluding the semester by studying the trial of Jesus,” Welch said. “I was going to take those artifacts into the classroom, but I thought the whole law school community should have the opportunity to enjoy them.”
This is not Welch’s first experience with organizing such an exhibit. As the editor of BYU Studies
, Welch was also one of the directors of BYU’s Masada exhibit
“I have long been interested in the material and cultural artifacts that help us visualize the world of the New Testament,” he added.
Kory Staheli, Director of the Howard W. Hunter Law Library, is delighted that Welch chose the law library as the place for his display.
“One of the missions of the law school is to teach the laws of men in light of the laws of God,” Staheli said. “How unique it is to see these here. In reality, that is why many students decide to come here.”
Alecia Richey, library secretary, and Andrea Howard, Serial Claiming Clerk, helped Welch set up the exhibit.
“It was really interesting to see how well preserved the artifacts were,” Richey said. “Handling and working with these items even for a short amount of time, we learned so much.”
Just one week before Easter, at the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Church leaders instructed members on topics relevant to Church membership. In the Sunday morning session, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland spoke of the events in Christ’s final week. He spoke of Christ’s teachings, betrayal and trial, and of His atoning sacrifice, suffering and resurrection. Of the betrayal, Holland mentioned the thirty pieces of silver that Judas received to show his arresters where Jesus could be found. “Never in the history of the world has so little money purchased so much infamy,” Elder Holland passionately observed.
“We have the visual here now,” Staheli said. “We can see how small those pieces of silver would have been.”
The Howard W. Hunter Law Library is open to the public. This display will be available until the end of April 2009. It is located on the library’s main floor.
Posted:April 09, 2009