Israel’s Antiquities Authority and Google announced Tuesday they are joining forces to bring the Dead Sea Scrolls online. This is a huge announcement for historians, biblical scholars as well as you and me. This move will allow both scholars and the general public widespread access to the ancient manuscripts for the first time.
It seems that nothing is safe (in a good sense) from being Googled.
The scrolls will be available in their original languages, Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, as well as an English translation. Eventually other translations will be added. Being Google you will find that the scrolls will also be searchable. Isn’t that awesome.
The Dead Seas Scrolls were discovered by a lowly shepherd boy in a cave back in the 1940’s. They were found in and around more than 11 caves near the Dead Sea in the Judea Desert between 1946 and 1956.
The scrolls, which contain the earliest known copies of almost every book of the Hebrew Bible except for the Book of Esther, will complete their journey from ancient world to cyberspace with the help of new imaging technology. I’m sure the original scribes in their wildest dreams would never have thought of this.
For decades the scrolls were only accessible to a select few, and I mean a few. These selected few were in turn very restricted in their access. Now, the whole world will be able to read, scroll, research and search through the Dead Sea Scrolls, thanks to Google and their partners in this.
Antiquities official Pnina Shor said the project will ensure the original 30,000 fragments that make up the scrolls are preserved while broadening access.
“Anyone in his office or on his couch will be able to click and see any scroll fragment or manuscript that they would like,” she said.
I am very interested in this, as a Christian, I would love to scroll though the Dead Sea Scrolls, check out the translations, compare, do research. Fantastic.
But this also paves the way for other, important, old, inaccessible writings to be digitized and put onto the Information Highway.
Truly the internet is starting to fulfil its destiny. That is to provide the public with information and knowledge at the click of a mouse.
What do you think of this? Does it interest you? If not the Dead Sea Scrolls, then what about the process, idea, and technology?