Dead Sea Scrolls will go online

Ancient and modern communication technology come together, as the world’s oldest copies of the Hebrew Bible along with other texts from just before the time of Christ go online, where they will be more readable than ever:

The Dead Sea Scrolls, among the world’s most important, mysterious and tightly restricted archaeological treasures, are about to get Googled.

The technology giant and Israel announced Tuesday that they are teaming up to give researchers and the public the first comprehensive and searchable database of the scrolls – a 2,000-year-old collection of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek documents that shed light on Judaism during biblical times and the origins of Christianity. For years, experts have complained that access to the scrolls has been too limited.

Once the images are up, anyone will be able to peruse exact copies of the original scrolls as well as an English translation of the text on their computer – for free. Officials said the collection, expected to be available within months, will feature sections that have been made more legible thanks to high-tech infrared technology. . . .

Scholars already can access the text of the scrolls in 39 volumes along with photographs of the originals, but critics say the books are expensive and cumbersome. Shor said the new pictures – photographed using cutting-edge technology – are clearer than the originals.

The refined images were shot with a high-tech infrared camera NASA uses for space imaging. It helped uncover sections of the scrolls that have faded over the centuries and became indecipherable.

If the images uploaded prove to be of better quality than the original, scholars may rely on these instead of traveling to Jerusalem to see the scrolls themselves, said Rachel Elior, a professor of Jewish thought at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.. . .

For the last 18 years, segments of the scrolls have been publicly displayed in museums around the world. At a recent exhibit in St. Paul, Minn., 15 fragments were shown.

Shor said a typical 3-month exhibit in the U.S. draws 250,000 people, illustrating just how much the scrolls have fascinated people.

“From the minute all of this will go online, there will be no need to expose the scroll anymore,” Shor said. “Anyone in his office or on his couch will be able to click and see any scroll fragment or manuscript that they like.”

via Google to bring Dead Sea Scrolls online.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I could see this becoming an addictive past time for many, just googling these ancient texts. The nice thing is that the easier access to them will have the effect of demystifying them. No longer will it be easy for the Dan Browns of the world to reference dead sea scrolls without actually wrestling with what they are, and actually say. I’m still dumbfounded when I run into people who think the Dead Sea Scrolls somehow disprove the Bible.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I could see this becoming an addictive past time for many, just googling these ancient texts. The nice thing is that the easier access to them will have the effect of demystifying them. No longer will it be easy for the Dan Browns of the world to reference dead sea scrolls without actually wrestling with what they are, and actually say. I’m still dumbfounded when I run into people who think the Dead Sea Scrolls somehow disprove the Bible.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “No longer will it be easy for the Dan Browns of the world to reference dead sea scrolls without actually wrestling with what they are, and actually say.”

    Ha! Bror, I believe you have confused your own respectable intellect — including knowledge of not a few languages (though if you know Aramaic, I’ll be surprised) — with what the average person knows (to say nothing of what the average Dan Brown reader knows).

    I mean, try this statement on for size: “No longer will it be easy for the Dan Browns of the world to reference Jesus or the Scriptures without actually wrestling with what they are, and actually say.” Yeah, how’d that statement work out for you? Would you like to argue that people don’t have ready access to the Bible? :)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “No longer will it be easy for the Dan Browns of the world to reference dead sea scrolls without actually wrestling with what they are, and actually say.”

    Ha! Bror, I believe you have confused your own respectable intellect — including knowledge of not a few languages (though if you know Aramaic, I’ll be surprised) — with what the average person knows (to say nothing of what the average Dan Brown reader knows).

    I mean, try this statement on for size: “No longer will it be easy for the Dan Browns of the world to reference Jesus or the Scriptures without actually wrestling with what they are, and actually say.” Yeah, how’d that statement work out for you? Would you like to argue that people don’t have ready access to the Bible? :)

  • bunnycatch3r

    I’m still dumbfounded when I run into people who think the Dead Sea Scrolls somehow disprove the Bible.

    Disprove the Bible? I can’t imagine any circumstance which would disprove something received by faith.

  • bunnycatch3r

    I’m still dumbfounded when I run into people who think the Dead Sea Scrolls somehow disprove the Bible.

    Disprove the Bible? I can’t imagine any circumstance which would disprove something received by faith.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    tODD,
    O.K. I wrote that too early in the morning. Bunnycath3r has provided you with some gratuitous evidence.
    Bunnycath3r read 1 cor. 15.
    I don’t received the bible by faith, at least not faith alone sans evidence of its veracity. and I’m actually one that holds to a distinction of legomena and antilegoumena so…

    And no tODD, I don’t know Aramaic, though it hasn’t stopped me from trying to read those sections of Daniel written in that language. And the dead sea scrolls have a mixture of both Hebrew and Aramaic. the most famous people being a vitually intact copy of Isaiah which is in fact in Hebrew, a language my college transcripts tell me I know, and on my better days I can actually prove it to myself.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    tODD,
    O.K. I wrote that too early in the morning. Bunnycath3r has provided you with some gratuitous evidence.
    Bunnycath3r read 1 cor. 15.
    I don’t received the bible by faith, at least not faith alone sans evidence of its veracity. and I’m actually one that holds to a distinction of legomena and antilegoumena so…

    And no tODD, I don’t know Aramaic, though it hasn’t stopped me from trying to read those sections of Daniel written in that language. And the dead sea scrolls have a mixture of both Hebrew and Aramaic. the most famous people being a vitually intact copy of Isaiah which is in fact in Hebrew, a language my college transcripts tell me I know, and on my better days I can actually prove it to myself.

  • Joe

    I went to see the Scrolls when they were at the Milwaukee Public Museum last year. Prior the viewing them, Professor Jastram of Concordia Wisconsin gave a lecture on them. He worked on them as part of his Ph.D. work. His presentation was available online but I have not been able too find it today. It was very interesting, try to locate it if you can.

  • Joe

    I went to see the Scrolls when they were at the Milwaukee Public Museum last year. Prior the viewing them, Professor Jastram of Concordia Wisconsin gave a lecture on them. He worked on them as part of his Ph.D. work. His presentation was available online but I have not been able too find it today. It was very interesting, try to locate it if you can.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Jastram’s the man! He tried to teach me Hebrew when he was teaching at Concordia River Forest. Sometimes I think I can read it, too. I’m also very excited that these will be online. That’s great!

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Jastram’s the man! He tried to teach me Hebrew when he was teaching at Concordia River Forest. Sometimes I think I can read it, too. I’m also very excited that these will be online. That’s great!

  • Grace

    My husband, mother and I went to the see the “Dead Sea Scrolls” in San Francisco. It was an unforgettable day.

    The lights are dimmed, so the scrolls will be protected, … just viewing them, thinking of who wrote, inspired of God, left a lasting, joyous love for what God has done for us.

  • Grace

    My husband, mother and I went to the see the “Dead Sea Scrolls” in San Francisco. It was an unforgettable day.

    The lights are dimmed, so the scrolls will be protected, … just viewing them, thinking of who wrote, inspired of God, left a lasting, joyous love for what God has done for us.

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