Dead Sea Scrolls Go Online!

Dear Commons Community,

The Huffington Post is reporting that some of the world-famous Dead Sea Scrolls went online for the first time yesterday in a project launched by Israel’s national museum and Google.

For those not familiar with the origin of these scrolls, they are considered by many to be the most significant archaeological find of the 20th century.  They are thought to have been written or collected by an ascetic Jewish sect (the Essenes) that fled Jerusalem for the desert 2,000 years ago and settled at Qumran, on the banks of the Dead Sea.  The hundreds of manuscripts that survived, partially or in full, in caves near the site, have shed light on the development of the Hebrew Bible and the origins of Christianity.  It has been speculated that Jesus Christ was familiar with the teachings of the Essenes.

The scrolls include the biblical Book of Isaiah, the manuscript known as the Temple Scroll, and three others. Visitors to the website can search high-resolution images of the scrolls for specific passages, zoom in and out, and translate verses into English.   The Antiquities Authority project is tentatively set to be completed by 2016, at which point nearly all of the scrolls will be available on the Internet.

A video explaining the project is available below.



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