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The Internet Education

Dead Sea Scrolls To Go Digital On Internet 324

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the but-free-information-is-dangerous dept.
mernil writes to mention that the Dead Sea Scrolls are headed for the internet. The Israel Antiquities Authority, custodians of the scrolls, plan on digitizing the 900 fragments to make them available to the public via the internet. Unfortunately they are claiming the project will take somewhere in the neighborhood of two years to complete.
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Dead Sea Scrolls To Go Digital On Internet

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  • by gregbot9000 (1293772) <mckinleg@csusb.edu> on Friday August 29, 2008 @02:54PM (#24798749) Journal
    If they were smart they would have tied this release in with the Evangelion rebuild series.
    • To be fair, 2 years is probably less time than it took them to be transcribed initially. So after however many hundreds/thousands of years, we should be grateful that technology has advanced to a point where it takes 2 years instead of 10. Maybe by 2500 it will only take 1 year to transcribe them.

  • Edifying (Score:5, Insightful)

    by COMON$ (806135) * on Friday August 29, 2008 @02:54PM (#24798751) Journal
    So now are we going to get a bunch of jokes on how it takes 2 years to have good 'fakes' made? In my experience Sandlotters aren't typically very tolerant of Christian philosophy, or events.

    As a Rational Christian, I am excited about this material being released. Debates will be much more entertaining and edifying, with some good old material to validate certain arguments and invalidate others.

    Regardless of your Religious background, the dead sea scrolls are very important and to have them readily available for those who speak the language is exciting for many reasons.

    2 Years though, at least this shows you how seriously people take preserving historical documents like this.

    My big concern is over the principle that once these are made publicly digitally available, they will be easily tampered with. How are we going to be able to validate the good copies from the publicly tampered ones? From a technical standpoint is there anyway to protect things like this so the average Jo knows which is real and which is not?

    • Re:Edifying (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770) on Friday August 29, 2008 @02:58PM (#24798809) Homepage

      My big concern is over the principle that once these are made publicly digitally available, they will be easily tampered with. How are we going to be able to validate the good copies from the publicly tampered ones? From a technical standpoint is there anyway to protect things like this so the average Jo knows which is real and which is not?

      Ummm... as if it was more difficult when they were *not* on the net? Now you can just claim it says something else, in the future you have to do a pretty good photoshop job on it. And in any case, maybe like with all other information getting it from a source you trust?

      • by geekoid (135745)

        Yeah, his concern is pretty lame.
        There will still have the originals.

        • by Adriax (746043)

          Actually no, they're digitizing the originals using the same technique predicted by the movie tron. That's why it's taking 2 years, they've not quite perfected the technology.

    • by COMON$ (806135) *
      Oops Slashdotters got switched to sandlotters by my spell check, I guess that is what I get for using a different dictionary than my usual custom one...oh well enjoy.
    • by Ironsides (739422)
      Somehow, I doubt it is that hard to find copies. I came across photograph copies in my College Library the other day.
    • Re:Edifying (Score:5, Informative)

      by jeiler (1106393) <go@bugger@off.gmail@com> on Friday August 29, 2008 @03:15PM (#24799071) Journal

      My big concern is over the principle that once these are made publicly digitally available, they will be easily tampered with.

      Digital watermarking, digital signatures, heck, even a CRC checksum will go a long way to preventing forgeries. And if I'm not mistaken, these things will be on an "official" website somewhere, so if fakes start circulating it will be easy to point to the original.

      And I quite agree as to the importance--as a non-Christian who studies ANE culture, this is an exciting and important step.

    • Re:Edifying (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rtechie (244489) * on Friday August 29, 2008 @03:37PM (#24799371)

      So now are we going to get a bunch of jokes on how it takes 2 years to have good 'fakes' made?

      Nobody I'm aware of is claiming the Dead Sea Scrolls are not ancient documents.

      As a Rational Christian, I am excited about this material being released.

      Why? The Dead Sea Scrolls really say nothing, at least nothing positive, about Christianity. The Dead Sea Scrolls contain copies of some Old Testament works and works related to the Essenes, a Jewish Zealot group that vaguely resembled Christianity in some ways. If anything, the Dead Sea Scrolls weaken the arguments of orthodox Christianity by demonstrating that Christians were influenced by other Jewish reform movements as much as (or more) than Jesus.

      The Dead Sea Scrolls are of enormous importance to Jews as they contain the oldest know copies of the Torah (the first 5 books of the Old Testament). But for the most part, the copies of the Torah in the DSS strictly conform to the current translations of the Torah.

      Regardless of your Religious background, the dead sea scrolls are very important

      I'm not sure why Hindus, Jains, Budhists, Taoists, Native Americans, Neopagans, etc. should care.

      2 Years though, at least this shows you how seriously people take preserving historical documents like this.

      It's more likely due to he massive egos and arguments surrounding the DSS, and archeology in general. To this day, over 60 years since their discovery, not all of the DSS have been published.

    • by sm62704 (957197)

      So now are we going to get a bunch of jokes on how it takes 2 years to have good 'fakes' made?

      I welcome the jokes; humor and laughter is the only thing unique to our species.

      As a Rational Christian, I am excited about this material being released

      As am I, but it will be as enlightening to me as watching "Passion of the Christ" with subtitles turned off.

    • As a Rational Christian

      I think you misunderstand the essential nature of religion [wellingtongrey.net].

  • Patience (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29, 2008 @02:54PM (#24798755)

    You've waited this long ... what's another two years?

    What we need is for Google to develop an actual, physical spider that goes out and searches hard copies of documents for indexing.

  • by davidwr (791652) on Friday August 29, 2008 @03:01PM (#24798869) Homepage Journal

    Access to the Dead Sea Scrolls was carefully guarded for decades. Think proprietary database formats.

    Back in the '80s or '90s, a scholar published a very detailed index. It was so detailed that other scholars were able to reverse-engineer the text of the scrolls, breaking the data monopoly for those scholars who were only interested in the text on the scrolls rather than the scrolls themselves.

    Since then, the keepers of the scrolls have been much more, what is the work I'm looking for, open.

  • Confucius say "Now we can find out if the People's Front of Judea are a bunch of splitters."

  • front page? (Score:2, Funny)

    by apodyopsis (1048476)
    will they include the front page?

    you know, the bit that goes "to my darking Wendy, all names and places in this book are entirely fictitious and any resemblance to real.."
  • They aren't paper (Score:5, Informative)

    by Thelasko (1196535) on Friday August 29, 2008 @03:09PM (#24798979) Journal

    Unfortunately they are claiming the project will take somewhere in the neighborhood of two years to complete.

    Why will it take two years? Part of the problem is because they aren't made of paper. One of them is made of copper, [wikipedia.org] and most of them are made of parchament, [wikipedia.org] which is much more difficult to work with. Especially considering the age.

    • by kabdib (81955)

      Yeah. What's the MIME type for copper?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pz (113803)

      Unfortunately they are claiming the project will take somewhere in the neighborhood of two years to complete.

      Why will it take two years? Part of the problem is because they aren't made of paper. One of them is made of copper, [wikipedia.org] and most of them are made of parchament, [wikipedia.org] which is much more difficult to work with. Especially considering the age.

      My reaction to reading that it will take two years was: DAMN THAT'S FAST!

      These are fragments of documents, not full scrolls. And there are what, thousands of fragments? They ought to be handled in clean-room conditions (don't know if they will be). They are extremely fragile. Anyone who damages them will suffer the ire of thousands upon millions of people. Since any manipulation runs risk of damage, presumably you want to ensure that it gets done right the first time. That means lots of logistical pla

  • by thermian (1267986) on Friday August 29, 2008 @03:24PM (#24799197)

    'The Romans are bad'
    'So are any Jews who don't do what we do'
    'We don't like women'
    'Why is is so hard to get a damn bath around here'

  • on dvd, I don't understand why it takes two year to put them on the web. Are they adding something? do they need to redo it?

    • on dvd, I don't understand why it takes two year to put them on the web. Are they adding something? do they need to redo it?

      *citation needed*

  • I'm convinced all religions are the result of chieftain ancestors who suffered from OCD.

    OCD => useless rituals performed to prevent bad things from happening.

    Religion => useless rituals performed prevent bad things from happening.

    Now.. for the on-topic portion. This has to be a good thing. Access to Earth maps and astronomy images have yielded new discoveries by amateurs. http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/space/08/07/space.discovery/index.html?eref=ib_topstories [cnn.com] The same should happen here.

  • I saw them when they were in San Diego, a few months back. They're all musty and falling apart anyway. I say digitize them and then recycle the paper in to something more useful to people today... like a Vista how-to guide. Everyone wins.

  • It would be nice if the article also gave the web-link where these will be found as they get them online.
  • We might finally have an opportunity to understand why the catholic church had to kill so many people over the past two millenia ?

    ---I---CAN'T---WAIT---!

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990

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