Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dead Sea Scrolls Online

One of Jerusalem's must see the Dead Sea Scrolls will now be available for the world to view online. Israel's Antiquities Authority has begun photographing the thousands of fragments and scrolls for the first time since the 1950s and it wants to put those new images on the internet for everyone to see. The Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem is where some of the Dead Sea Scrolls are on display.
The scrolls have fortunately survived a lot of damage and some are quite readable - if you can read Hebrew, but I am sure there are translations on line.
The Dead Sea Scrolls consist of almost 1,000 documents, including texts from the original Hebrew Bible. The scrolls were discovered between 1947 and 1979 in eleven caves in and around the Wadi Qumran (near the remains of the ancient settlement of Khirbet Qumran, on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea) in the West Bank. The texts are of great religious and historical significance, as they include practically the only known surviving copies of Biblical  made before 100 AD, and prove there was considerable diversity of beliefs and practices within late Second Temple period. They are written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, mostly on parchment, but with some written on papyrus.
Israel Antiquities Authority head of conservation Pnina Shor began this project as way of monitoring the scrolls to make sure they were being held in the right conditions. They are housed in the Israel museam with the distinctive encasing.
Surely any person who is interested in the Bible or in religious manuscripts written 2,000 years ago will really be touched by seeing the scrolls.That is when the idea expanded to put all of the images on the internet where they could be seen and studied by anyone who wanted.Professor Steven Fassberg is a scrolls expert from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and says every new letter show will be enlightening.
The Dead Sea Scrolls speak about something that happened or something that will happen in the future many say.The scrolls are incredibly fragile, with only four people in the world allowed to handle them.
This fantastic project will take up to five years to complete.

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