Dead Sea Scrolls go online

2010-10-19 14:44

Jerusalem - Scholars and anyone with an internet connection will be able to take a new look into the Biblical past through an online archive of high-resolution images of the 2 000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls.

Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), the custodian of the scrolls that shed light on the life of Jews and early Christians at the time of Jesus, said on Tuesday it was collaborating with Google's research and development centre in Israel to upload digitised images of the entire collection.

Advanced imaging technology will be installed in the IAA's laboratories early next year and high-resolution images of each of the scrolls' 30 000 fragments will be freely accessible on the internet. The IAA conducted a pilot imaging project in 2008.

"The images will be equal in quality to the actual physical viewing of the scrolls, thus eliminating the need for re-exposure of the Scrolls and allowing their preservation for future generations," the Authority said in a statement.

It said that the new technology would help to expose writing that has faded over the centuries and promote further research into one of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th century.

The scrolls, most of them on parchment, are the oldest copies of the Hebrew Bible and include secular text dating from the third century BC to the first century AD.

For many years after Bedouin shepherds first came upon the scrolls in caves near the Dead Sea in 1947, only a small number of scholars were allowed to view the fragments.

But access has since been widened and they were published in their entirety nine years ago. A few large pieces of scroll are on permanent display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

  • Natas - 2010-10-19 15:57

    Awesome!! I love fairytales!!!

  • Brenda Woodward - 2010-10-19 16:11

    This is so fantastic....what a wonderful gift of heritage.

  • PierreS - 2010-10-19 16:15

    Way cool ! Word of Life online !

  • Willem Schutte - 2010-10-19 20:01

    This is awesome. Free Access to Information is always a good thing. In this case it's OLD information - but it's wonderful.

  • Val - 2010-10-19 21:16

    Excellent for good technology and giving the ordinary person the ability to read and see these things. thanks guys.

  • Jen - 2010-10-20 08:04

    This is incredible! I've always wanted a closer look at this collection, and did not think that would ever be possible unless I made a career of studying such documents. So excited! Can't wait!

  • Frank - 2010-10-20 10:11

    In the face of facts people still deny the truth. Good on you Google!

  • @Val and @Jen - 2010-10-20 10:15

    It is great that these ancient texts have been published on the web. However the everyday man will not be able to read any of it. Ancient Hebrew and the Hebrew spoken and written today are very different, very much like English, Greek etc. So while it would be great too look at, only scholars with references would be able to deduce what is written. Pity really....

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