Israel, Google to bring Dead Sea Scrolls online

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

JERUSALEM - Israel and Google have joined forces to put the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest surviving biblical texts, online, Xinhua reported.

The scrolls, housed at the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem since 1967, are the oldest-known surviving manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible, dating back to the Second Temple period.

Written on parchment in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, they are traditionally identified with the Essenes, an ancient Jewish sect, and are considered one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th Century.

The first scroll fragments were discovered in 1946 by Bedouin shepherds in a cave on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, about 60 km south of Jerusalem.

A statement from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and Google said Tuesday the collection - 30,000 fragments comprising 900 manuscripts - will be photographed in its entirety for the first time since the 1950s.

Several foundations have pledged generous funding to the current project. The collection will initially be documented with cutting-edge imaging technologies to form a digital library.

Google’s R&D centre in Israel will then upload the images on the internet and accompany them with data bases, including transcriptions and translations in several languages.

“We are establishing a milestone connection between progress and the past to preserve this unrivalled cultural heritage which belongs to all of us, so that the public with a click of the mouse will be able to freely access history in its fullest glamour,” IAA director Shuka Dorfman said in statement Tuesday.

Filed under: Religion

will not be displayed