Rare Ethiopian book finds its way home

Steve DelamarterOld Testament professor Steve Delamarter plays a part in delivering historic Psalter to museum

He's tracked down more than 900 rare books as the founder and director of the Ethiopian Manuscript Imaging Project, so Steve Delamarter knows a good book when he sees it.

Delamarter, professor of Old Testament at George Fox Evangelical Seminary, has handled his share of ancient manuscripts, but few could compare to the one he recently encountered: a Psalter that originally belonged to Emperor Menilek II (1844-1913), the king who united the separate kingdoms of modern Ethiopia in 1889 and modernized his country at the turn of the century.

The Psalter, owned by manuscript collector Gerald Weiner, is estimated to be worth $18,000. Weiner entrusted it to Delamarter for digitalization, and Delamater, at the request of colleague Getatchew Haile, proposed to Weiner that the book be donated to an Ethiopian museum dedicated to Menilek. 

Weiner agreed to the request, and in May Delamarter traveled to Ethiopia to deliver the precious find.

To read more about Delamater's discovery and subsequent journey, read the Oregonian's recent story.

A feature on Delamarter's work with ancient manuscripts appeared in the Spring 2005 George Fox Journal.