home
RSS
Digitized Dead Sea Scrolls to be available online
October 19th, 2010
02:03 PM ET

Digitized Dead Sea Scrolls to be available online

Editor's Note: CNN's Kevin Flower brings us this story from Jerusalem.

In an ambitious application of 21st century technology to a first century wonder, the Israel Antiquities Authority and internet search giant Google announced a plan Tuesday to digitize the Dead Sea Scrolls and make the entire collection available to the public online.

The authority's general director, Shuka Dorfman, called the project a milestone that will enhance the field of biblical studies and people's understanding of Judaism and early Christianity.

"We have succeeded in recruiting the best minds and technological means to preserve this unrivaled cultural heritage treasure, which belongs to all of us, so that the public with a click of the mouse will be able to access history in its fullest glamour"

Made up of 30,000 fragments from 900 manuscripts, the Dead Sea Scrolls are considered by many historians to be one of the most important archaeological finds ever made.

The ancient manuscripts, made of leather, papyrus and copper, were first discovered in 1947 by a nomadic shepherd in a cave near the Dead Sea. In the years that followed, more scroll fragments were located.

Dating back over 2,000 years, the scrolls reveal details about the development of Judaism during the Hellenistic period and shed light on the relationship between early Christian and Jewish religious traditions.

The project will employ the latest in spectral and infrared imaging technology to scan the thousands of scroll fragments into one large database.

"This is the ultimate image of the scroll you can get," explained project manager Pnina Shor as she showed reporters an example of the imaging. "It presents an authentic copy of the scroll that, once online, there is no need to expose the scrolls anymore"

Conservation of the ancient manuscripts is a major concern for the Israel Antiquities Authority, which recently began limiting photography of them. Flawed preservation and display practices in decades past had, in some cases, "catastrophic" consequences, Shor said, and the authority decided it needed to create a new active image record that would spare the manuscripts from further degradation.

The entire collection of Dead Sea Scrolls was photographed in 1950s, but access to the photos and the documents themselves has been limited. Only four conservationists are allowed to handle the scroll fragments and scholars are limited in how much time they can spend studying them in person.

Google, with its high-powered search and translation services, will help catalog the mass of material, but the internet heavyweight says the project is not for profit and not exclusive.

"I can envision scholars or other companies contributing their own technologies so as to get some additional value over the data " said Yossi Matias, Google's head of research and development center in Israel.

The Israel Antiquities Authority has raised $3.5 million to fund the project, and project managers say the first images could be online within months.

Matias said it is too early to detail how the scrolls will be displayed online, but he assured that "the idea is an open platform and an open approach"

See more images of the scrolls here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Israel • Israel • Judaism • Middle East

soundoff (253 Responses)
  1. Sarah asher

    Don't you all see? this has the majority of all readers arguing. that's how satan gets in, by causing confusion and conflict. what was meant to be a good thing and inspire people to believe and have faith is being desecrated, shunned and put down because the world is full of hate, lies and deception. dont let yourself become so jaded by all of this. read the word (bible) for yourself before you voice your unfounded opinion. may god be with us all and may the truth shine through.

    October 19, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  2. Truthspeak

    The Urantia book. . . the religion of Jesus not about Jesus.

    October 19, 2010 at 8:07 pm |
    • Frank

      The Urantia Book is New Age channelled crap. Who knows what those people were communicating with.

      October 19, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
  3. Ashmic

    Why is it that NO ONE is translating these

    October 19, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
  4. KRISTENN

    WHAT BUSH JR AND HIS GOPhers GAVE US AND THE WORLD WAS AN ECONOMIC TSUNAMI. THE EFFECTS WOULD BE FELT FOR MANY MORE YEARS.

    MUCH LIKE A NATURAL TSUNAMI, NO NE CAN STOP IT. IT WOULD STOP WHEN THE FORCE BEHIND IT STOPS, HOPEFULLY BEFORE IT REACHES THE SHORE AND DESTROY HOMES AND PEOPLES.

    WELL WE ARE PAST THAT. THIS TSUNAMI HAS DESTROYED PROPERTIES AND PEOPLES ALONG ITS PATH AND WOULD CONTINUE TO DO SO IF THE REPUBS WOULD CONTINUE BLOCK EVERY INITIATIVE THAT THE PRESIDENT AND THE DEMOCRATS TRY TO DO TO SAVE THIS COUNTY AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

    THE GOPhers NEVER LEARNED TO WORK COOPERATIVELY WITH THE DEMOCRATS WHO ARE TRYING TO SAVE THIS COUNTRY AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. THE REPUBS DO NOT CARE ABOUT THIS COUNTRY CALLED USA. THEY ALWAYS LIKE TO PLAY POLITICS. DO YOU OBSERVE THAT THEY ALWAYS VOTE PARTRY LINE?

    THEIR PHILOSOPHY IS LIKE HENRY KISSINGER.

    WHEN ISRAEL WAS AT THE POINT OF TOTAL ANNIHILATION BY THE NEIGHBORING ARABS, PRIME MINISTER GOLDA MAER CALLED KISSINGER FOR HELP. TYPICAL REPUBS RESPONSE WAS “I COULD CARE LESS IF YOU ARE WIPE FROM THE FACE OF THE EARTH.”

    HAVING BEEN A REPUBLICAN MYSELF, IT DIDN’T USED TO BE THAT WAY UNTIL REAGAN AND BUSH SR. POISONED THE MINDS, SOULS AND SPIRITS OF THE REPUBLICANS.

    REAGAN WAS THE BIGGEST CON-ARTIST IN HISTORY AND BUSH SR STUDIED UNDER HIM. IT IS REPORTED THAT SINCE BUSH SR TOOK OFFICE AS VICE PRESIDENT, 27 TRILLIONS DISAPPEARED FROM THE US TREASURY.

    October 19, 2010 at 8:03 pm |
  5. Bet

    We humans keep on trying to search for the truth outside in material proofs or books when in fact It resides in our core even before the bible was written, versioned, or the dead sea manuscripts were written. So look within.Know yourself.

    October 19, 2010 at 7:47 pm |
  6. john

    Ever wonder why the word of god is called the living word of god? Inspired by god through man, to tell a story........

    October 19, 2010 at 7:41 pm |
  7. W. E. Gutman

    The Dead Sea Scrolls confirm the Jewish roots of Christianity. Jesus was born a Jew. He lived as a Jew and died a Jew. Christianity did not become an"official" religion until 325 BCE when it was so proclaimed at the Council of Nicea. This is not an issue for Jews or Judaism, but rather for Christians who would rather forget that Jesus wanted to open Judaism to the Gentiles, not create a new religion. His "apostles" and scribes throughout history distorted and subverted his message.

    October 19, 2010 at 7:35 pm |
  8. Clark1b

    these prove that the Old Testament is the same today as they were when the Dead Sea Scrolls were written. And thus the Muslim argument that Jews and Christians have altered the Old Testament falls apart.

    October 19, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Before the dead sea scrolls can be used to validate any other religious docu-ment(s), they would have to be proven reliable themselves. In other words, one set of silly myths cannot be used to substaniate another set of silly myths, other than to show that man invented many similar myths long ago, and unfortunately has not let go of them yet. THERE ARE NO GODS – NOT EVEN JUST 1 – NO SATAN EITHER...

      October 19, 2010 at 8:00 pm |
    • Truthspeak

      Ace is half fight. The dead sea scrolls can't be used to prove the validity of the old testament. That's just lazy thinking. But Ace is wrong to think that simply by disproving religion or mythology that it disproves the existance of God. All it proves is people are stupid, religious AND non-religious. God cannot be disected by his own creations. That's just crazy

      October 19, 2010 at 8:54 pm |
    • Raison

      @Truthspeak

      Yet you attempt to do so with all the words attributed to "God" and "Jesus"....did he give you the ability to reason to test you?

      October 19, 2010 at 10:45 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Truthspeak

      I do not believe in a god of any kind or number. I am not interested in proving that god does not exist.

      October 20, 2010 at 2:02 am |
    • Truthspeak

      @Raison You make absolutely no sense. Are u high?

      October 20, 2010 at 11:13 am |
    • Raison

      @Truthspeak

      I'm sorry you did not understand my words. Let me try a little harder....

      If you use words attributed to "God" and "Jesus" to explain his every thought and intent, which you could not possibly know, then you are trying to "dissect" the both of them, especially when you "interpret" the meanings of their "words".

      Does that help?

      October 20, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  9. Kevin E

    Following Jesus Christ is the only true way to live life. The closer I get to Jesus, the better my life gets!!! Nothing from this world can give you that peace and joy and strength Jesus can 🙂

    October 19, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  10. Loogin

    This is old news. Like, really old.

    Just saying...

    October 19, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
    • Tony

      Really? Where were the scrolls published and available before?

      October 20, 2010 at 8:48 am |
  11. dennis huckeba

    JESUS IS REAL! HE IS GOD! HE IS COMING BACK! A MAN WITH AN EXPERIENCE IS NEVER AT THE MERCY OF A MAN WITH ONLY AN ARGUMENT! PRAISE HIM! HALLELUJAH! GLORY TO GOD! OBEY ACTS 2:38! IT'S IN THE SCROLLS!

    October 19, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  12. jefffbo

    Want to hear something scarry, a good hunk of it is missing ...

    October 19, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
    • ahcrap

      Want to hear something even scarier , what is this thang ?

      October 19, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
    • jefffbo

      even scarier than that, I am starting to read PArrots post...lol !

      October 19, 2010 at 7:27 pm |
    • ahcrap

      lol !

      October 19, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
    • jefffbo

      Ah , ha ha ha

      October 19, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
    • jefffbo

      Thats weird, I lost my head.

      October 19, 2010 at 7:31 pm |
    • ahcrap

      Nah ! They dont allow avatars in this strange place.

      October 19, 2010 at 7:32 pm |
    • jefffbo

      I'm getting outa here !

      October 19, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
  13. PARROT

    THE JEWS FOUND A NEW SOURCE OF INCOME.....!!

    October 19, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  14. woody

    Looking at these online will be like looking at an antique online and paying for it sight unseen. Many people have lost their entire savings to a fake. Man will use anything to bring you around to their point of view.

    October 19, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
    • Tony

      Thanks for the warning.

      October 20, 2010 at 8:51 am |
  15. ourGodisLove

    :

    October 19, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  16. Mel

    The dead sea scrolls Pre Date the texts of the Bible. For those that have believed in translational modifications, the Dead Sea Scrolls prove and fortify the integrity of the translations.

    From a Prophecy standpoint, there were 22 Scrolls of the book of Isaiah. One of which was perfect. This particular scroll foretells the coming of Jesus Christ via carbon dating. The script which was written hundreds of years before Jesus Christ validates the Prophecy contained within.

    For the believer, the undeniable. For the non believer, the unbelievable.

    October 19, 2010 at 7:10 pm |
    • Child of God

      Thank you for this very succinct posting. Truth lives forever, Jesus is the truth the way and the life. May The Lord bless you.

      October 19, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
    • Raison

      @Mel
      Your difficulty in understanding what constltutes evidence is understandable, yet I would ask you to study it for our sake.

      October 19, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
    • Mel

      Raison, it is really very simple. The scrolls pre date the coming of Jesus both in prophecy and carbon dating. Of course an individual that does not understand who is being described in Isaiah would not see the relationship. In short, he was described and then he came fulfilling that which had been written some 300 years prior. Then add to that, the eroneous belief that the scriptures themselves had been modified into current day form, and we find that they are in fact trustworthy and true.

      October 20, 2010 at 12:54 am |
    • Raison

      @Mel

      My words stand as written. Please do not read into my words what I did not even come close to saying.
      I have posted enough on this blog to show my position on evidence. I am not making issue out of the scrolls, for they are merely the words of men like yourself. If the translations were good in some places, then that proves nothing about the original assertions of those words.
      It just means that the scrolls are interesting, not proof of God's existence. Now do you get where I am coming from?
      If not, would you please read a few of my "tl;dr" posts – the huge ones where I ramble on?
      I am seeking "God" and do not seek him in the words of men, for we all have shortcomings where perception is concerned.
      k?

      October 20, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
    • Mel

      After reading some of your comments in regards to delusion, it became apparent to me that you are trying to speak for all of mankind in history terms of the words of God and his inspiration. That is a very bold brush stroke of which you cannot validate or invalidate and extremely presumptuous. If you, were to have the Lord appear or speak to you, who would you tell and expect them to believe you in any way? Speak for your self, those things which you know for yourself, and not for the entire history of mankind.

      Humility and a sincere seeking of the Lord will provide an experience unique to each who aspire.
      Thus...John 14: 15 " If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will bec in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”

      In other words, for some, if they do not seek, the will not see. For a door does not open unless knocked upon.

      October 21, 2010 at 12:49 am |
    • Raison

      @Mel
      Well, I have not been accused of being presumptuous in a while, so thanks. 😀
      I see you sort of half-concede the point, and will not ask any more of your limited faculties at this time.
      Thank you for responding and have a nice day. 8)

      October 21, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  17. Rodney

    Interesting. I haven't read the bible, and have no desire to. But I may take a look at this.

    October 19, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
    • Frank

      You haven't read the Bible and don't want to but you want to read this? Yeah, that makes a whole lot of sense.

      October 19, 2010 at 10:22 pm |
  18. sss-666

    will it be translated to other languages?

    October 19, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
  19. Amunaka

    Now will this be in the fiction or non fiction section ....

    October 19, 2010 at 7:03 pm |
  20. A R

    nothing compares to seeing these in person. it's incredible.

    October 19, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
1 2 3 4 5
Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.