For more information, please contact:

Ian Werrett, Ph.D.
Associate professor of religious studies
Director, Spiritual Life Institute

The 33rd Annual Spiritual Life Institute

Illuminated Manuscripts, Scribal Practices, and the Transmission of Scripture
July 6-10, 2015


Regardless of how one might feel about the concepts of biblical inerrancy and divine inspiration, one thing is absolutely true about the Bible: humans, and humans alone, have been responsible for writing, copying, and editing Scripture from the earliest of times down the present. Even the canonization of the Bible was the result of human activity and it is this process, along with such activities as textual illumination, marginal notation, and intercolumnar corrections that will be the subject of the 33rd annual Spiritual Life Institute. In particular, this program will contemplate the role of humanity in the production of Scripture and the various ways in which human agency is reflected in the scribal practices and the material evidence at our disposal.

The speakers for the 2015 Spiritual Life Institute come from a wide variety of backgrounds and areas of specialization. Dr. Hanna Tervanotko is a specialist in the Old Testament, Ancient Judaism and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Not only has she worked on an assortment of pre-canonical manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible, which display a high degree of textual pluriformity, but she also studied many of the non-canonical texts from Judaism’s Second Temple period. Dr. Stephen Delamarter has spent more than a decade directing the Ethiopian Manuscript Imaging Project and he has travelled to Ethiopia countless times to oversee the digitization of thousands of Ethiopic books and manuscripts. In addition to this, Delamarter has spent a considerable amount of time speaking with scribes in Ethiopia in an effort to learn more about their formal training, their practices, and their lifestyle. Finally, Dr. Katie Bugyis is an expert in medieval Benedictine texts and scribal practices. Focusing primarily on women religious, Bugyis has worked on liturgical documents and pastoral manuscripts from mediaeval England in an effort to understand the religious activities of Benedictine women.

Over the last 30 years, the Spiritual Life Institute at Saint Martin’s University has explored a wide range of topics that are meant to cultivate religious literacy, challenge preconceived notions, and shed light upon the spiritual journey. In this, the 31st annual meeting of the Spiritual Life Institute, an internationally recognized group of scholars will participate in a weeklong discussion on the history, beliefs and writings of Gnostic Christianity. This course fulfills the University’s General Education requirement for Religious Studies. For more information, please contact the program’s director, Dr. Ian Werrett.


(Please note that fees and tuition are subject to change)

Academic credit

RLS494: Spiritual Life Institute (3 semester credits)
Fee: $1,890

Saint Martin's University undergraduates receive three semester credits for the successful completion of RLS 494, which satisfies the General Education Requirement for Religious Studies. The requirements for those wishing to receive three semester credits include: attending all lectures and presentations, reading the required texts, participating in discussions, authoring a daily journal, and submitting a 3,600-4,500 word research paper.

Please visit Saint Martin's Summer Session for registration information.


RLS 094: Spiritual Life Institute (non-credit)
Fee: Approximately one half of the regular tuition fee.

For a reduced fee, students may attend the Institute without receiving academic credit. Students should inquire at the Office of Student Financial Services for an exact fee auditing schedule.

Please visit Saint Martin's Summer Session for registration information.

Continuing Education Certificate

CEC 080: Spiritual Life Institute (30 clock hour credits)
Fee: $200

Saint Martin's University invites those who are seeking continuing education credit to attend the Spiritual Life Institute for their own personal enrichment and spiritual growth. Participants are required to attend all lectures and presentations in order to receive their certificate of continuing education.

To register for continuing education credit, please use the Spiritual Life Institute registration form.

Daily Attendance Fee

DAF 080: Spiritual Life Institute
Fee: $40

For those individuals who are unable to attend the Institute in its entirety, Saint Martin's University now offers a daily attendance fee. This non-credit attendance option enables those individuals with busy schedules or prior commitments to participate on a level that works for them. Simply select the number of days that you would like to attend the Institute, submit your payment in advance, and participate on the days that suit you best.

To register for the daily attendance option, please use the Spiritual Life Institute registration form..


On-campus living is encouraged as an important part of Spiritual Life Institute. Residence halls are located in a peaceful, forested setting. Please contact the University director of residence life at 360-438-4299/4546 in order to make reservations for University housing. Note: Housing fees are billed separately from the Spiritual Life Institute program tuition.