Scholar Technological Institute of Research, Inc.

in the news

SOURCE: Wave Newspaper, Los Angeles, California

Wednesday, September 14, 1988
Title: "IBM Grant Helps Scholars Solve Ancient Puzzles"
(Photograph of Carr included)
by Justin Fishbein, IBM Staff Writer

The West Semitic Research Project of USC recently received a grant of $2,000 from IBM to demonstrate how scholars use computers to solve the mysteries of illegible ancient manuscripts. The grant, from the IBM Fund for Community Service, was given to help in the preparation of the exhibition "Puzzling Out the Past: Making Sense of Inscriptions from Biblical Times." The exhibit shows a variety of techniques used by epigraphers--scholars who study and decipher ancient inscriptions--to read and decipher ancient texts from the biblical world.

Developing Photo Archives
The project is developing extensive photographic archives of the most ancient manuscripts and inscriptions from the world of the Bible, many of them fading or crumbling into dust, says the project director, Bruce Zuckerman, an assistant professor at USC. Computer imaging and enhancement--techniques NASA uses in sending images of distant planets back to earth--are employed to reveal ancient writings that have been obscured by time. At first Zuckerman didn't know how best to use this technology, so he sought volunteers.

That's how Firpo W. Carr and IBM got involved. Carr, a resident of the Lynwood section of Los Angeles [County] and an IBM customer-service coordinator with a passion for ancient Greek and Hebrew, read about the project and its need, and he volunteered to help out. Since then he has been consulting on computer-related issues and has written computer programs for the project. He sought from the company the grant to help develop the exhibit.

One of the toughest problems is that of a "palimpsest," a scraped-over document. Often in ancient times scribes would recycle the valuable leather vellum skins on which they wrote, by erasing--that is scraping off--the ink of one text and writing in its place the words of another. The problem then, according to Zuckerman, is trying to read the faint and nearly obscure traces of the more ancient text through the screen of the one place on top of it.

The exhibit, at the Dubin/Wolfe Exhibition Center of the Wilshire Boulevard Temple, 3663 Wilshire, Los Angeles, is open to the public from Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2.

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California
Saturday, October 22, 1988
Section: "Letters to the Times"
Regarding the Humanities versus the Sciences
from Firpo W. Carr

While I agree, in principle, with the thought that the humanities are not necessarily better or worse than the sciences, I cannot help but to conclude that the sciences are more reprehensible. No, not the laws of the universe (which include the laws of physics), but, rather, how those laws have been manipulated by men of "progressive" science.

I suppose you can call it "progress" when you compare the crude implements of war our earliest ancestors used with the indescribable weapons of destruction currently possessed by the superpowers. I suggest that the term "scientific progression" is synonymous with "social regression." I seriously doubt that mankind need fear that the music of Bach or Mozart, or the paintings and sculptures of Michelangelo will someday make our earthly home a lifeless, burned out cinder.

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California
Saturday, August 4, 1990
Section: "Southern California File"
(Photograph of Carr included)
by John Dart, Religious Writer

"It is unlikely that someone raised in a South-Central Los Angeles housing project would have this privilege," said Firpo W. Carr of Hawthorne. But Carr, 35, on leave from his customer service post with IBM, departed this week for a second visit to a Leningrad library to photographically record selected pages of documents important in studies of religious texts.

The facility is the Saltykov-Shchedrin State Public Library, where a team from USC and the Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center in Claremont two months ago photographed all 1,000 pages of the Leningrad Codex, the oldest complete manuscript of the Hebrew Bible. Negotiation to photograph that codex and other works in the vast collection, which have been rarely accessible to Western scholars, were begun years ago by the Claremont center.

Carr was able to get first crack at the codex in early 1989 after striking up a friendship with the library's manuscript section director, Viktor Lebedev. The American photographed 20 pages of the document, but the purposes and procedures differ from the Claremont-USC project. Carr is using an IBM system called Audio/Visual Connection, which holds promise for instructional and research uses.

Karie Masterson, a programmer/analyst with the UCLA Humanities Computing Facility, has been working with Carr. "We will take the videotape he gets, connect a television and VCR to a computer, then grab frames of the pages from the television and save them on hard disks," she said. The photographed images then can be viewed on a computer screen along with transliterations and translations of the same page to aid students and scholars. Because the images are put into computerized form, they could be transmitted over phone liens to other study centers as well.

Masterson said that among the manuscripts being filmed by Carr for UCLA is a partial copy of the Egyptian Book of the Dead held by the Leningrad library. In his six days at the library, Carr will also be photographing a 1,074-year-old partial manuscript of the Hebrew Bible and filling various scholarly requests, such as recording documents on church councils for medieval specialists at Stanford University.

With studies in ancient languages and a doctorate in computer science from Pacific Western University, Carr established his Scholar Technological Institute of Research in Hawthorne in hopes of introducing both scholars and lay people to techniques in the field.

SOURCE: Los Angeles Sentinel, Los Angeles, California
Thursday, November 7, 1991
Title: "South Central Scholar Studies Dead Sea Scrolls"
(Photograph of Carr included)
by Mikki Walker, Staff Writer

One would scarcely expect to hear the words "South Central" and "Dead Sea Scrolls" in the same sentence. And the coupling of computer technology with ancient biblical manuscripts seems almost incomprehensible. But after meeting Dr. Firpo Carr, 37, of Hawthorne, the correlations are suddenly quite clear.

Thanks to a grant provided by IBM to assist scholars in solving the mysteries of ancient biblical scripts, Carr, along with several scholars from USC were given the rare chance of developing extensive photographic archives of the oldest manuscripts and inscriptions from the Old Testament.On leave from his 10-year post with IBM, Carr, a biblical scholar with a doctorate in computer science, who speaks several languages, including Hebrew and German, left the United States in late 1989, headed for the Soviet Union to view the oldest, most complete manuscript of the Hebrew Bible, called the Codex Leningrad B19a.

After ensuing negotiations made with the Soviet Union via the Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center in Claremont, Carr was able to examine the slowly deteriorating 1,000-year-old scrolls at the Saltykov-Shchedrin State Public Library in Leningrad.

Since that time, Carr has taken a second hiatus to the Soviet Union where he was allowed to photograph sections of the scrolls. Prior to negotiations made between the library and the Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center in Claremont, Western scholars had rarely been given access to view the scrolls. But Carr established a friendship with the library's manuscript sections director and was eventually able to take color photographs of 20 pages of the priceless document.

Carr used an IBM system call Audio/Visual Connection, which promises to be instrumental in research and instructional purposes. Presently, the Manuscript Center maintains a set of the unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls photos. Eventually, Carr and other scholars involved in the study of the scrolls, hope to be able to provide public access to the scrolls via computer disks.

The first published result of the study will be available in Carr's new book entitled, The Divine Name Controversy. Meanwhile, Carr, president and founder of Scholar Technological Institute of Research, Inc. (STIR) continues to work closely with the Manuscript Center in Claremont and with theology and computer science scholars at USC and UCLA in hopes of providing computerized versions of the manuscript and other ancient texts to modern-day lay people and scholars.

SOURCE: Daily Breeze, Torrance, California
Friday, November 22, 1991
Title: "A Man of Letters"
(Photograph of Carr included)
by Verne Palmer, Staff Writer

Firpo Carr would like to revolutionize scholarly research. It's not the thing most kids dream of while growing up in housing projects, or anywhere else for that matter. But then very little about Carr is typical.

* For 10 years he was an up-and-comer at IBM, a trouble-shooter who solved computer mainframe problems for some of the company's largest customers.

* He speaks seven languages, including several that few people have ever heard of, such as Akkadian, Phoenician and Ugaritic.

* A Jehovah's Witness minister, he was an honored guest in the Soviet Union at a time when most church members there were being sent to Siberian labor camps.

* And he's the author of a new treatise on the proper pronunciation and usage of God's name.

As a result of all the above, but especially the recent publication of his book, The Divine Name Controversy: Vol. 1, the Hawthorne resident is the center of a flurry of publicity that has brought him invitations to appear on talk shows from Los Angeles to Leningrad.

The message board in his study reads like a multimedia who's who: KNBC-TV, KABC-TV, The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and World Report, Newsweek, The New York Times, KCRW, KFWB and KNX.

KTLA devoted its Nov. 3 "Pacesetters" talk show to him, "Prime 9 News" used him as a resident expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls, CBS will feature him on "Today's Religion" show the first week in December, and CNN is considering a profile. The funny thing is, all he wanted to be was a welder.

After graduating from high school in South Central Los Angeles, Carr went to work for Frito Lay bagging potato chips, followed by stints at Jack in the Box and McDonald's.

"I wanted to go to school, but I had to help out with the bills at home," the 37-year-old scholar says. "We weren't destitute, but we were definitely poor." Then, suddenly, there was no work, and in 1979, with the family hovering just above the poverty line, Carr got into a federal job-training program.

"They asked me what I wanted to learn, and I said welding," he recalls. "They said those classes were all full; the only thing open was computers. I tried to tell them that I wasn't smart enough, but they said not to sell myself short, to take the tests and see." He took them, passed and never looked back.

After finishing at the top of his class at Westchester's Control Data Corp., he was recruited by IBM, which paid his way through B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. programs in computer science and management. Through it all, however, his primary interest remained his religion.

His father, a Baptist minister, and his mother, a Jehovah's Witness, had instilled in him a deep faith and keen interest in the Bible. Unlike most Bible students, however, he wasn't content to rely on existing translations so during his university years he juggled computer classes with instruction in Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic. Later he added Latin, Phoenician, Akkadian and Ugaritic.

"I wanted to see for myself what the original texts said," he says. It was a quest that eventually would take him all over the world: to the Soviet Union and Scandinavia twice, and once each to Central America, the Middle East and several Western European countries.

In 1987 he became involved in an IBM grant project involving the use of computers to decipher an ancient Gospel text that had been erased and then written over. "We would work a full day for IBM and then spend four to five hours like mad scientists on rescuing this ancient text," he says. "It was fascinating." It also opened his eyes to the potential computers had for Biblical research.

The following year he began a double doctorate program at Pacific Western University in Bel Air in theology and biblical studies, going to school nights and weekends. He had long been struck by the fact that the vast majority of Bible translations substituted titles ("God" or "Lord") in the nearly 7,000 spots where God's name should have appeared.

"The use of God's name in the Bible has been one of the most hotly debated issues in biblical translation," he says. Part of the reason was that no one really knew for sure what it was. In ancient Hebrew manuscripts only the consonants of words were written. The vowels were spoken, but since Jewish tradition prohibited the speaking of God's name, they had long since been lost.

All that scholars were left with, in those few texts where the name did appear, were the letters "YHWH" and a lot of theories.

Breaking the Code
For his first doctorate dissertation (the basis for his book) Carr used a computer to sift through all the relevant vowel/consonant combinations found in Hebrew scripture. The computer eventually narrowed the list to "e" "o" and "a" or YeHoWaH (Jehovah in English).

"It wasn't that Yehowah hadn't appeared in biblical literature before," he says, "but now there is scientific proof as to its validity. It's more than an educated guess." To Carr, all of this is more than just an academic exercise.

"The Bible tell us to call upon God's name in time of trouble, and I think we're circumventing His intent and robbing ourselves of a magnificent gift when we don't do that," he says. "The whole purpose behind the book was to establish that name and to encourage future translators to use it."

The research for Carr's dissertations has taken him from Israel to study the Dead Sea Scrolls to the USSR's Saltykov-S[h]chedrin State Public Library, repository of the Codex Leningrad B19a, the world's oldest and most complete Hebrew Bible manuscript.

"I figured if it were God's will that I end up in a Siberian prison with my fellow Witnesses, so be it. It had happened to better men than [me]. I had encountered discrimination--both racial and religious--before. I wasn't looking to be a martyr; I just thought it was worth the risk."

In the Door
Getting in was another matter, however. "At the time the Russians were only allowing in scholars of very high caliber, people who were world famous," he says. But much to his surprise, his visa was approved almost immediately. Being black helped. "It got me in the door," he says. "It would have been embarrassing for them to turn away a black scholar."

But being able to solve a major glitch in the library's computer system got him even farther. It not only gained him access to the texts but the right to photograph them. His were the first such color photographs ever taken. If he has his way, future scholars won't have to run those kinds of risks or endure the delays that have embroiled ancient texts such as the Dead Sea Scrolls in controversy.

"I'd like to establish a futuristic electronic library where our most precious documents--things such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Leningrad Codex, the Magna Carta, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights--can be preserved and made available to any scholar or university student in the world," Carr says.

To make that possible he plans to photograph ancient texts and feed the images into a computer. Hard disks of the manuscripts could then be loaned, rented or sold to scholars. The image also could be transmitted over phone lines.

Document Details
Last year Carr quit his job at IBM and founded Scholar Technological Institute of Research, a non-profit organization of 15 scholars and computer specialists, and now is negotiating with the British Museum and the Saltykov-S[h]chedrin and Huntington libraries for the right to photograph selected documents.

"Scholars should have free access to these materials," he says. "I applauded the Hungtington's move to make its copy of the unpublished Dead Scrolls available. It's absolutely inexcusable that they've been held up this long."

Next year the two plan to travel to Europe and the Middle East to promote his book and to begin research on Divine Name Controversy II, the divine name as it's written on walls, buildings and clay tablets containing non-biblical literature.

"I'm an easygoing guy," Carr says. "I'm not looking to make waves or be the center of controversy or attention, but this is very important to me."

SOURCE: Daily Breeze, Torrance, California
Friday, November 22, 1991
(Supplemental article)
Bible scholar and author Firpo Carr will discuss "The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Politics Behind Them" Dec. 14 during a $100-a-plate fundraiser on behalf [of] Scholar Technological Institute of Research in Hawthorne. Setting for the 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. seminar and luncheon will be the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza in Los Angeles. Carr, author of The Divine Name Controversy, is founder and director of STIR, a non-profit institute dedicated to providing scholars wider access to biblical and other ancient documents through advanced technology. Other topics to be covered during the six-hour workshop include "The Bible and Advanced Computer Technology," "The Impact of the Scrolls and Other Biblical Documents" and "Famous Women Bible Translators."

SOURCE: The Current Black Man--Decade '90, Vol. II - Part 2
Release date: March, 1992
(Photograph of Carr included)
by James A. Goodson, Jr., Editor, Staff Writer

Firpo W. Carr was reared in a housing project in South Central Los Angeles. Then, his highest aspiration was to become a welder. Due to a strange twist of fate; today he holds a Ph.D., speaks 7 languages, has traveled the world, been written up in newspapers and appeared on television network talk shows.

In 1979, Carr was admitted into a federal job training program. But, the welding classes he wanted to enroll in were filled. It was recommended that he try to get in the only open classes, which were in computer technology; something Carr had no interest in nor did he think he was smart enough to master. However, [when] he took the entry test and passed, his life [took] on new meaning[,] [a]nd the world has a research scholar.

Upon graduation [from] Control Data Corp., he was recruited by IBM and worked there for 10 years as a trouble shooter solving computer mainframe problems for some of IBM's largest customers.

Carr's primary interest in religion was his basic purpose for becoming multilingual; he wanted to read the most ancient biblical texts for himself, rather than rely wholly on existing translations. That quest has taken him to the Soviet Union, Central America, the Middle East and to several European countries. To be permitted to view firsthand, study and even photograph some of the world's most ancient and priceless biblical text as the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Codex Leningrad B19a, is an enviable opportunity that most scholars are never granted.

Carr has authored two books, "A History of Jehovah's Witnesses: From a Black American Perspective" and "The Divine Name Controversy: Vol. 1". In the latter writings he has employed some of the latest in technology in computer imaging and enhancing, developed by NASA.

Recently, Carr resigned his position at IBM and founded Scholar Technological Institute of Research. He believes that lay persons and scholars everywhere should have access to the world's ancient and historical documents. And that they should not have to transverse the world to study them. His organization will be negotiating with museums, libraries and other holders of historical artifacts and manuscripts for the rights to photograph and feed images into computers using futuristic electronics and computer imaging, thus making them available and accessible on computer programs.

There is an apparent need to bring such technological documentation to bear on these ancient and priceless manuscripts, as they will continually fade and crumble and eventually be lost in the form they are now in.

SOURCE: Biblical Archaeology Review, Volume 18 Number 5
September/October 1992
Title (BARlines): "Firpo W. Carr Was First"
by Herschel Shanks, Editor, Staff Writer

The BAS-published book The Dead Sea Scrolls After Forty Years contains a color plate (5) and a black-and-white photo (p. 67) from the Leningrad Codex, dating to about 1008, the second oldest Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible. Bruce and Kenneth Zuckerman of West Semitic Research were properly credited as the photographers of those pictures, but we incorrectly identified them as the first to make these photographs available outside Russia. Actually Firpo W. Carr of Scholar Technological Institute of Research, Inc., in 1989 was the first foreigner to gain access to and photograph a number of items from the collection in the Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) state library. At the time Carr photographed, in color, the carpet page from the Leningrad Codex, preceding the Zuckermans by over a year in providing such photographs to the West.

SOURCE: Wave Newspaper, Los Angeles, California
Wednesday, October 21, 1992
Section: "Church"

Dr. Firpo W. Carr, a Hawthorne resident, has announced the completion of his self published book, "A History of Jehovah Witnesses: From A Black American Perspective."

The 478-page book details the African-American history of the organization. The book includes chapters on "Jehovah Witnesses and Black Muslims"; "Why Isn't There A Black Man on the Governing Body?"; "Blacks and the Watch Tower Society--The Early Years"; "Jehovah's Witnesses and Racial Integration"; and "Black History--As Told by the Watch Tower Society."

Carr, a full-time pioneer minister with Jehovah's Witnesses for 15 years, currently teaches computer science courses at UCLA Extension and is completing his doctoral work in theology, with an emphasis on Biblical studies. He has also been featured on television talk shows such as "Pacesetters" and "Today's Religion."

SOURCE: Voice & Viewpoint News, San Diego, California
Thursday, November 5, 1992
Title: "Pyramid Bookstore Presents..."
Nov. 13 -- Dr. Firpo Carr, author of "A History of Jehovah's Witnesses From A Black American Perspective." (See below.)

SOURCE: San Diego Monitor News, San Diego, California
Thursday, November 12, 1992
Title: "Dr. Carr Speaks On Jehovah's Witnesses
From A Black Perspective"
Section: Editorials

What do Jehovah's Witnesses and the Black Muslims have in common? Does being a member of Jehovah's Witnesses present the best lifestyle for African Americans?

Firpo Wycoff Carr, Ph.D., [and] author of A History of Jehovah's Witnesses: From a Black American Perspective, discusses these questions and more this Friday, November 13, 1992 at Pyramid Bookstore.

Dr. Carr is a scholar, educator, and computer science engineer who has done extensive research in theology with an emphasis on Biblical studies. This 2 hour sessions begins at 7:00 p.m. at Pyramid Bookstore, located at 220 Euclid Avenue, Ste 100, in the Euclid Plaza.

SOURCE: Voice & Viewpoint News, San Diego, California

Thursday, November 19, 1992
Title: "Dr. Carr Speaks Again at Pyramid Bookstore"

Like a good book--you never want it to end. Dr. Firpo Wycoff Carr, Ph.D., author of "A History of Jehovah's Witnesses from a Black American Perspective," led a discussion so interesting that patrons of Pyramid Bookstore highly requested a return visit for Friday, November 20.

Dr. Carr is a scholar, educator and computer science engineer who has done extensive research in theology with an emphasis on Biblical studies. This 2-hour session begins at 7:00 p.m. at Pyramid Bookstore, located at 220 Euclid Avenue, Ste. 100, in the Euclid Plaza.

SOURCE: Press-Telegram, Long Beach, California
Saturday, January 9, 1993
Title: "Bible scholar beat odds of ghetto life"
(Photograph of Carr included)
by G.M. Bush, Staff Writer

Growing up in the notorious Nickerson Gardens housing project in South-Central Los Angeles, he never dreamed that one day, as a biblical scholar, he'd be the first person to discover a rule in ancient Hebrew writings regarding God's name. Nor did he imagine that one day the Soviet government would let him become the first Westerner to examine and photograph one of the world's very oldest Bibles, a privilege denied even the foremost religious scholars of that now-defunct nation.

And it's unlikely that he ever gave much thought to being the first to apply the latest in computer technology to the study and preservation of some of the oldest religious texts on earth. But by one of those strange twists of fate, Firpo Wycoff Carr has been able to do all that, and along the way, examine the Dead Sea Scrolls, learn a host of ancient languages, write three books on religion, and escape the almost inevitable consequences of being born a black male in an urban American setting.
Hard lessons
Carr, now 38, was one of 10 children. Of the five boys, only two graduated from high school, and he was the only one to go to college. But all of his brothers have been incarcerated, and all have been shot or stabbed. His oldest brother, Howard Colbert, was murdered.

A computer science engineer and UCLA extension instructor, Carr said he was able to learn from his sibling's experiences. "I love my brothers dearly," he says. "My brothers are all sharp. They just wanted to do things their own way, and I saw that that led them to places I wouldn't want to go--prison, for example."

So after high school, he went to the University of San Francisco and obtained a bachelor's degree in information systems management. The to the University of Redlands for a master's in management. Then to Pacific Western University for a doctorate in computer information science. Today, Carr, who lives in Hawthorne, is a doctoral candidate in the field of theology and biblical studies.
Devoted Witness
Carr says his greatest influences growing up were his parents, Baptists-turned-Jehovah's Witnesses who now live in Alta Loma. Their religious interests led him along a similar path, and he has been a full-time pioneer minister with the Jehovah's Witnesses for 15 years.
"The Jehovah's Witnesses are among one of the most misunderstood religions in the world," he says. But, he explains, "they're the ones that come closest to emulating the early Christians." His wife, Cynthia, whom he met at Kingdom Hall, is also a Jehovah's Witness.

When he was about 18, Carr's religious interests led him to begin collecting Bible translations, and today he has more than 100. The "hobby" aroused his interest in the languages of the Bible. In 1975, he began studying biblical Greek at the Claremont School of Theology. Four years later, he took up Hebrew, also at Claremont. Since then he has become a student of Latin, Aramaic, Ugaritic, Akkadian and several other Near Eastern and European languages.

"I didn't set out to be a biblical scholar," he recalls, "but once I got started, my interest mushroomed." Soon he was "consumed" by a desire to get to the root and core of the written word on religion.
'Elated' by discovery
His passion for learning ancient tongues was helped along by retired UCLA Professor Stanislav Segert, whom Carr calls "the guru" of those languages. The Hebraic biblical rule Carr discovered, in March 1990, concerns the vowel sound in the last syllable of words such as "Jehovah."

"There does not exist a root word in the language of biblical Hebrew that ends with WH (VH) that does not have an 'a' as its middle vowel," he says. Carr recalls being "elated" when he made the discovery. But questioning his find, he immediately went to his texts to try to disprove the thesis. He spoke with other scholars. One suggested the word "Nineveh," but that is not a root word, Carr says. He was right.

Going to Russia to study what he calls "the oldest, most reliable and complete Old Testament in the world" was something of a coup in itself. For decades, the ancient tome had been locked in a Soviet vault in the Saltykov-Shchedrin State Public Library in what was then Leningrad. "They allowed me to study it very closely and photograph it in color," Carr says.

Buttressing his claim is a note in the September/October 1992 issue of Biblical Archaeological Review: "Firpo W. Carr of Scholar Technological Institute of Research, Inc., in 1989 was the first foreigner to gain access to and photograph a number of items from the collection in the Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) state library." The publication says he preceded other scholars by more than a year "in providing such photographs to the West."
Scrolls pioneer
Another trip took Carr to Israel to examine the Dead Sea Scrolls, leather and papyrus manuscripts of great antiquity. They were discovered in 1947 in the caves of Qumran on the shores of the Dead Sea. Carr is the only African-American scholar who has had what he calls "the privilege" of studying the documents and fragments of both the published and unpublished 2,000-year-old documents.

From 1980 to 1990, Carr worked as an engineer for IBM. He quit to help form a nonprofit company know as STIR, for Scholar Technological Institute of Research. The company got its seed money from an IBM grant. STIR applies state-of-the-art computer technology to preserving, deciphering and photographing ancient and often deteriorating religious texts.

"I saw the ubiquitous computer meeting the No. 1 best seller of all times," he says, "and I wanted to be there when that happened." Lately, Carr has concentrated his efforts on completing his third book, "The Divine Name Controversy, Volume II." Others are "The Divine Name Controversy" and "A History of Jehovah's Witnesses: From a Black American Perspective."

When he's not busy working or studying, Carr turns to the World Book encyclopedia, his "recreational reading." He also enjoys shooting hoop at local basketball courts.

Firpo Wycoff Carr was named after an Argentinean boxer, Luis Angel Firpo, "the wild bull of the Pampas" and one of Jack Dempsey's victims. Carr's middle name was given to him by his father who believes that people with strange middle names will make their mark on the world.

Carr has a few goals. One is to be a positive force for his 12-year-old daughter Danielle. Similarly, he holds himself up as an example for poor ghetto kids everywhere. He knows what he's talking about. He lived in the Nickerson Gardens from the age of three until he was 17. His brothers were all gang members, and for a while, he ran with a gang started by his younger brother called the Baby Fleas.

"No matter where you come from, from the depths of despair and poverty, you can pull yourself up, regardless of the odds. I'm living proof of that."

SOURCE: Press-Telegram, Long Beach, California
Saturday, January 9, 1993
Title: "Witnesses went to bat for freedom"
by Joy Thompson, Religion Editor

You've probably seen them walking through your neighborhood in pairs and small groups. You've probably peered through your blinds or curtains and watched them approach your door. You may have even opened your door to them a few times and taken copies of their publication--the Watchtower.

You know them as Jehovah's Witnesses, and regardless of how you feel about their door-to-door evangelism, the religious denomination fought hard to win the right to knock on your door. According to Firpo Carr, the Bible scholar and Jehovah's Witness featured on today's Religion page [see article below], the Witnesses had to defend their right to evangelize door to door before the U.S. Supreme Court in the late 1930s and '40s.

After the arrest of several of its members, the denomination hired Hayden Covington as their lead attorney. Covington won an impressive 43 cases of free speech and religion before the high court. "The Jehovah's Witnesses opened the way for all in the name of Jesus Christ," Carr said.

Los Angeles Attorney Barry Fisher agreed that Covington's successes for the Witnesses had a far-reaching impact. "Historically, the Witnesses have been at the forefront of litigation that ultimately resulted in establishing important First Amendment rights for all Americans," Fisher said in an interview. Those rights include freedom of the press and freedom of religion, he added.

Witnesses preach from door to door, Carr explained, because that is how Jesus and the apostles preached. And while the Witnesses have been extremely active in the courts, they don't vote or participate in politics. Witnesses believe that God will eventually establish the ultimate government here on Earth because the other governments "simply haven't done the job," Carr said. "Witnesses don't vote or participate in politics because it's basically like putting a Band-Aid on an AIDS victim."

Carr expounds on these and other aspects of the Witnesses in his new book, "A History of Jehovah's Witnesses: From a Black American Perspective." The book, published by Stoops Publishing, will be available in February, Black History Month.

So if you've had a religious experience, and you just want to run out, knock on doors and tell people about it, remember the hard knocks the Witnesses took to get to your doorstep--and be grateful for religious freedom in the United States.

SOURCE: Wave Newspaper, Los Angeles, California
Wednesday, April 20, 1994
(Photograph of Carr included)
from Wave News Services

Author Firpo W. Carr will appear on "Mysteries of the Ancient World," a CBS-TV special set to air at 9 p.m. April 28. His new book "Are Gays Really Gay?" discusses male homosexuality from sociological, scientific and theological viewpoints, including an analysis of every mention of homosexuality in the Bible.

SOURCE: Pasadena Star News, Pasadena, California
Friday, February 10, 1995
Title: "Blazing a trail for history"
(Photograph of Carr included)
by Jeff Ponce, Staff Writer

It's not everyday that you get to meet a modern Indiana Jones. But Firpo W. Carr, sans bullwhip and pistol, could fit the mold. Originally from South-Central Los Angeles, Carr has combed the earth to search for hidden codes in ancient manuscripts.

He was at the Africana Store in Plaza Pasadena yesterday to sign copies of "Search for the Sacred Name," a chronicle of his 1989 trip to the former Soviet Union to view the oldest, most complete manuscript of the Hebrew Bible: the Codex Leningrad B19a. About 200 people were there to have Carr sign their books.

Carr, a biblical studies scholar with a doctorate in computer science, said he used an IBM computer to examine the scrolls, which are located in the former [city] of Leningrad. "I was the first to get to see them," he said. "The Soviets wouldn't allow their own scholars to see them, nor Jewish or American scholars as well."

Carr said he was able to go where others have failed because he was able to market his IBM background to help Soviet officials with their computer problems. He also got his foot in the door with help from colleagues who had studied there. "Ironically enough, being black helped as well," he said. "They wanted to give the impression that they were not like the United States government in regard to its treatment of the black race."

Carr said since his work, other researchers have been able to photograph the pages for study. With this project behind him, one of his next projects is to visit different museums around the world and photograph artifacts for a virtual reality-like gallery. Meantime, Rowland Luckett, a Los Angeles-based colleague of Carr's, praised Carr's ability to uncover manuscripts in an effort to answer some of history's questions.

"Unfortunately, what happens between battles that are either won or lost, is that we distort history and write myths," said Luckett. "It's good that we have people who research for the truth and let history speak for itself."

Others like Gora Sowa, Africana store owner, called Carr a "modern-day trailblazer."

"It's useful to our community because it provides new perspective to our religious order," he said. "Which is something that I didn't know about until I read his book."

SOURCE: Pasadena Star News, Pasadena, California
Thursday, November 9, 1995
Title: "A demon speaking truth?"
(Readers' Letters regarding Louis
Farrakhan and the Million Man March)
by Firpo W. Carr

Minister Louis Farrakhan is a self-proclaimed instrument of God because, as he states, he speaks the "truth." Well, whether we "like it or not," he did "testify" to the truth during the Million Man March on that historic Monday, Oct. 16. Scripturally speaking, truth can emanate from a sinister source. An example of this occurred in the days of the apostle Paul. A demon-possessed girl spoke truth with reference to Paul and his missionary companion, Silas.

According to the paraphrased Living Bible, Acts 16:16-17 says: "One day as we were going down to the place of prayer beside the river, we met a demon-possessed slave girl who was a fortuneteller, and earned much money for her masters. She followed along behind us shouting, 'These men are servants of God and they have come to tell you how to have your sins forgiven.'"

Make no mistake about it, Paul, Silas and the writer, Luke, were indeed "servants of God" bearing truth. Even so, when the servant girl "testified" to this truth, it did not in any way lessen the fact that she was possessed of a demon. Speaking truths would give the girl and her masters credibility, deceiving others into thinking that everything they spoke was truth.

Is this Farrakhan's tactic? Is Farrakhan attempting to deceive others with his truth?

Philosophically speaking, critics of Louis Farrakhan are often guilty of committing the fallacy of ad hominem ("attacking the man, not the argument"). Calling Farrakhan a black racist and anti-Semitic doesn't less[e]n the veracity of statements he made during his Million Man March sermon.

In short, what are we to conclude with reference to Farrakhan as a truth bearer? This: Although truths may have crossed his lips, this in and of itself doesn't validate his "anointing" by God. Is Farrakhan a wicked man with a rotten heart? Ultimately, whether you're Jew or Gentile, those religiously inclined know that only God, the estimator of hearts, can make that final call.

SOURCE: The L.A. Watts Times, Los Angeles, California
Thursday, March 6, 1997
Title: "Webster's laced with racism, says researcher"
(Photograph of Carr included)
by Donal James, Staff Writer

The rhythmic phrase, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me," has long been a defense mechanism for mean-spirited conversations. But, according to Dr. Firpo W. Carr in his new book, "Wicked Words: Poisoned Minds...Racism in the Dictionary," published by Scholar Technological Institute of Research, Inc. (S.T.I.R.), words can, and do hurt, especially when defined by "Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary."

At a recent book signing, held at Eso Won Bookstore, Carr revealed his amazing discovery about words found in the dictionary to a group of more than 100 interested readers. Carr's book, which sold out in 15 minutes, was the result of several years of studying, examining and cross-referencing every word listed in Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary.

Carr concluded that several English dictionaries in America and Great Britain carefully defined words with bias, inaccuracy, and flagrant racism, all done with silky-smooth subtlety. "I was stunned by what I found in these dictionaries," Carr stated. "Numerous words were defined with subtleties yet they were dehumanizing and degrading to black people. Black people were even referred to as animals in some instances."

Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, according to Carr, defined the word "black" as having dark skin, hair, and eyes...of or relating to a group or race characterized by dark pigmentation; of or relating to the Negro race...or relating to the Afro-American people or culture...dirty, soiled...characterized by absence of light...thoroughly sinister or evil; wicked...indicative of condemnation or discredit...connected with or involving the supernatural and the devil...very sad, gloom or calamitous...marked by the occurrence of disaster...characterized by hostility or angry discontent.

The same dictionary defined "white" as: free from color...of the color of new snow or milk...of the color white...lustrous...being a member or a group or race characterized by reduced pigmentation and usually distinguished from person belonging to groups marked by black, brown, yellow, or red skin coloration...of relating to, characteristic of, or consisting of white people...marked by upright from spot or from moral impurity; innocent...marked by the wearing of white by the woman as a symbol of purity...not intended to cause harm...favorable, fortunate.

Carr pointed out that the definition of "white" is indicative of all things being positive, while the word "black" is synonymous with negative descriptions. Carr's book listed other examples of racist laced definitions found in the dictionary including gorilla: believed to be the name of an alleged African tribe of hairy women; octoroon: a person of one-eighth Negro ancestry.

"Shouldn't this definition be a white person with one-eighth Negro ancestry?" Carr asked, during his speech following the first part of the book signing. More than 95 dictionary definitions were found and questioned by Carr as inaccurate including, coon: a raccoon; Negro usually taken to be offensive. "Make no mistake about it, the term does not usually offend black people; it always offends black people," Carr said. The tern black nationalist: a member of a group of militant blacks who advocate separatism from the whites and the formations of self-governing black communities. Did you notice the word "militant?" asked Carr, again seeking to emphasize a point with the audience. "This word isn't used at all for groups like the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, or skinheads. The definition in certain dictionaries doesn't give us a hint that these groups are violent!"

Carr also discussed how the dictionary defined black English held to be spoken by American blacks. He stressed that the term black English does not say some blacks, but implies all blacks. "Why single out this racial type of English"? asked Carr. "While Chinese-Americans speak non-standard English, the dictionary doesn't define 'Chinenglish,' or Korean-Americans' non-standard English as 'Korenglish,' or Mexican Americans' non-standard speech as 'Spenglish,' or Japanese-Americans English as 'Janpenglish,' or Italian-Americans' as 'Itenglish.'"

Born in Watts, where he attend Locke and Jordan High Schools, Carr showed an early interest in etymology (the study of root words). After high school he earned a bachelor of science degree in Information Systems Management from the University of San Francisco, a master's of arts in Management from the University of Redlands; and holds two Ph.D. degrees, one in Computer Information Science and the other in Biblical/Religious Studies from Pacific Western University.

Presently, Carr teaches at UCLA Extension and the University of Phoenix, and has authored four additional books: "The Divine Name Controversy, Vol. 1"; "A History of Jehovah['s] Witnesses: From a Black American Perspective"; "Are Gay's Really 'Gay'?--[A Sociological, Scientific, and Theological Analysis]; and "Search for the Sacred Name"...[Regarding the] writing [of] his latest book, Carr reveal, "This type of book was long overdue. People, especially African Americans, need to be aware of the racism that is in America, and that exists in certain books. It's important that people know how wicked words of racism from the pages of several dictionaries have been planted in our minds."

According to Robin Watson, an attendee at the book signing, "His book is a must read on the subliminal ways that racism exists in this country. Added John Mason, who purchased Carr's book, "This brother has gotten to the core of how tricky racism is and how it is even present in our dictionary. Imagine, that very book that we consult to give us functional meanings to words, has been son insulting and degrading to black people."

SOURCE: Publisher's Preface for Publication of Leningradensis
[Codex Leningrad B19a]
Released: 1998

It is a source of pride for the Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center, and West Semitic Research, along with the University of Michigan, to offer the world of biblical scholarship this facsimile edition of Leningradensis, the oldest complete Hebrew Bible in the world. A microfilm copy of the Codex which has been used for the printed editions of Biblia Hebraica (1937) and Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (1967/1977) has existed for over sixty years. A facsimile edition of the Codex using the available films was published by Makor Press in 1970. Even so, it was clear that the Codex should be rephotographed using the latest technology.

Dr. Harold Scanlin, of the American and United Bible Societies, early in 1988 suggested we mount a project to do just that. Our trusties, Professor David Noel Freedman and Professor Astrid Beck of the University of Michigan, soon thereafter urged us to use our relations with the Saltykov-Shchedrin State Public Library in Leningrad, now The Russian National Library in St. Petersburg, to start conversations with contacts there about rephotographing the Codex.

We had had acquisitions contacts with officials at the Leningrad library since October of 1981, but entertained little hope of getting their permission to go in and is our understanding that no foreign photographer or team had been allowed to do such work in their collection.

Then came Soviet Chairman Gorbachev's policy of Glasnost and the window of opportunity we needed. A colleague at Claremont, Professor Fred Warner Neal, a sovietologist at the Claremont Graduate School, who frequently travels to that part of the world, approached the authorities at the Leningrad library on our behalf and initiated conversations about the possibility and feasibility of such a project. Professor Michael Klein of the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem, who is editor of the Cairo Geniza fragments of the Palestinian Targum, knew the academic and library situation in Moscow and Leningrad and was a great help to us in mapping strategy. Firpo Carr of IBM, who had worked with Bruce Zuckerman on a couple of projects and knew Leningrad and the Library, made a friend of the Director of Oriental Manuscripts in the Library, Dr. Victor Lebedev, and talked with him about our intentions. Carr returned to assure us that there was lively interest in the project and provided us with valuable insights into the needs and situation of the Library.

For a decade starting in 1988 Dr. Firpo Carr was the subject of many newspaper articles in connection with his work as President of Scholar Technological Institute of Research, Inc. Most of these articles are listed chronologically below. STIR Inc. is mentioned at least 10 times throughout these articles.