Israel Travel News

Dead Sea Scrolls Online

Dead Sea Scrolls now available online

Even if you aren’t able to fly to Israel for the moment because of the ongoing pandemic (or any other reasons), you can explore the country’s historical treasures from the comfort of your own home.

Through a partnership from Google, the Israel Museum launched its project — the Dead Sea Scrolls online — on September 25, 2011. However, they are not placing these digitized scrolls in the public domain.

Five of the most complete Dead Sea Scrolls — which dates back to the first century, B.C. — can now be browsed on the Internet. Users can view the Dead Sea Scrolls, study, and appreciate the high-resolution images of the texts, which are quite extremely detailed. The Israel Museum also offers short informational videos and background information on the Dead Sea Scroll texts and their history. Anyone can view the Dead Sea Scrolls free of charge.

It is mind-boggling to think that these scrolls were written by ancient scribes, preserved in caves and are now living on the leading edge of 21st century technology.

old texts
The Isaiah Scrolls, which contain almost the entire Book of Isaiah

The Dead Sea Scrolls online project used special equipment to photograph the scrolls without causing damage. The Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) would scan the scrolls using NASA’s multi-spectral imaging technology to produce high-resolution images of the text. The scrolls can be browsed in fast loading high resolution images. You can access and search the Dead Sea Scrolls by chapter and verse and view the scroll together with translation and other scholarly tools. There is also an explanation about the digitizing project and about the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the issues involved with each of the scrolls.

Even for the non-scholars, it is fascinating to be able to look at the Dead Sea Scrolls from your own desktop, laptop, or smartphones. The Great Isaiah Scroll is one of the original findings from 1947 and is almost complete. It is exciting to be able to read the words of the prophet on such an ancient text.

As of 2012, there are five digitized reproduction of the Dead Sea Scrolls completed by the Israel Museum for the project: the Great Isaiah Scroll, the Commentary on Habakkuk Scroll, the Community Rule Scroll, the Temple Scroll, and the War Scroll.

Accessing the Dead Sea Scrolls On Line

Local media reports indicate that over one million hits to the Dead Sea Scrolls online were recorded in the first week of launch. Looking at the list of press reports from global news sources, it is easy to see why. On line visitors have come not just from many parts of Israel, but also from many countries around the world. The Bible is what drives people’s interest towards the Dead Sea Scrolls.

You would never imagine that a largely inaccessible treasure from the ancient era is opened to all. Now, virtually anyone with an Internet access can have a view at Dead Sea Scrolls — the oldest Bible known to humankind.

To access please see The Dead Sea Scrolls On Line

See also The Israel Museum

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