Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Google The Internet Technology

Google Brings the Dead Sea Scrolls To the Digital Age 202

skade88 writes "Google has been working to bring many old manuscripts to the internet at high resolution for all to see. From their announcement: 'A little over a year ago, we helped put online five manuscripts of the Dead Sea Scrolls—ancient documents that include the oldest known biblical manuscripts in existence. Written more than 2,000 years ago on pieces of parchment and papyrus, they were preserved by the hot, dry desert climate and the darkness of the caves in which they were hidden. The Scrolls are possibly the most important archaeological discovery of the 20th century. Today, we're helping put more of these ancient treasures online. The Israel Antiquities Authority is launching the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library, an online collection of some 5,000 images of scroll fragments, at a quality never seen before.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google Brings the Dead Sea Scrolls To the Digital Age

Comments Filter:
  • Not interesting.... (Score:0, Informative)

    by Cute and Cuddly ( 2646619 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @08:04PM (#42332015)
    Rather than reading fables, I would prefer to see some of the manuscripts from Leonardo Da Vinci. Now, that would be something interesting and worth spending my time with!
  • by Kergan ( 780543 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @08:11PM (#42332081)

    More like bronze age, actually. Mideast bronze age ends 1200BC, as opposed to 600BC in Europe... Jewish scriptures changed tremendously during the Babylonian captivity, which indeed occurred around 600BC (it basically blended in ideas from Zoroastrianism, chiefly the ideas of angels, demons, hell, and basically morality and good vs evil; and its final written form got written around then), but the general ideas of judaism had been around for far older than the end of the mideast bronze age.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @08:12PM (#42332085)

    Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Nabataean

  • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @08:39PM (#42332271)

    To answer your question:

    "The easiest form of parochialism to fall into is to assume that we are smarter than the past generations, that our thinking is necessarily more sophisticated. This may be true in science and technology, but not necessarily so in wisdom."

    That quote is from the introduction to this brilliant essay: "Macaulay on Copyright"
    http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2002/4/25/1345/03329 [kuro5hin.org]

    > Hopefully, at some future point, we will evolve beyond such fables ...
    Stories will never go away. Why? What is the purpose of a story? To teach a moral -- it doesn't matter if the story historically happened or not IF you learn the lesson.

    Besides, the disciple Peter already commented on how scriptures should be used that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam continues to ignore:

    The allegorical nature of scipture:

    Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23 His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise.

    24 These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.

    The contradictions in the scriptures:

    For, according to the rule delivered to them, they endeavor to correct the discordances of the Scriptures, if any one, haply not knowing the traditions, is confounded at the various utterances of the prophets. Wherefore they charge no one to teach, unless he has first learned how the Scriptures must be used. And thus they have amongst them one God, one law, one hope."

    The prophets were sent to the spiritual immature minded:

    "Since, therefore, both to the Hebrews and to those who are called from the Gentiles, believing in the teachers of truth is of God, while excellent actions are left to every one to do by his own judgment, the reward is righteously bestowed upon those who do well. For there would have been no need of Moses, or of the coming of Jesus, if of themselves they would have understood what is reasonable."

  • by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @09:18PM (#42332551) Homepage Journal

    They also adopted Zoroastrian monotheism. Prior to this, Yhvh was the local tribal patron god, in a monopolar paganism. The term is henotheism.

  • by another_twilight ( 585366 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @10:44PM (#42333033)

    completely incorrect



    These words do not mean what you think they mean.

    I love systems that give rise to emergent behaviour at sufficient levels of complexity. I have no problem seeing the interactions of people as giving rise (having already started to give rise?) to something like this. I'm not sure if that's what you mean by a 'spirit of consciousness', but it's the most ... generous interpretation I can come up with.

    In any event calling that 'god' is ignoring the very different definition of that word that most people have and comes across as dishonest. I would be interested in a citation or link to what you are claiming as 'fact'.

  • by DSS11Q13 ( 1853164 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @04:02AM (#42334581)

    I also have a Master's degree in New Testament and Early Christianity from Harvard where I spent a lot of time studying them as well. I thought I would just repost what I did last year when slashdot ran an almost identical story. The questions that seem to arise when something like this is posted are perennial so I hope this answers some of yours or clarifies some things, and, as before, feel free to ask any questions you might have and I'll do my best to give a scholarly answer:

    It's taken this long to publish partly for bureaucratic reasons, but mostly because there are thousands of fragments that are basically shredded wheat that had to be put back together, reconstructed, translated, categorized, edited, and published. This was also around the time the State of Israel was formed, and the cluster**** that was caused a lot of delays and red tape.They have not been kept secret, they have been steadily published in the DJD series (Discoveries in the Judaean Desert) for the last 50 years as this tremendous task has been accomplished. As someone said above, yes people were not very careful with them by today's standards, people smoked around them, drank coffee, and used the handiest invention that had just come out-"scotch tape"- to piece them together. All that said, with the exception of fragments in private collections, the last of the Dead Sea Scrolls were published in the early 90's.

    This is not publishing anything new, or secret. It is being scanned and put online for the public, who doesn't have a clue what to do with them, can look at them. Scholars have known how to look at them, in the DJD, and in a half a dozen other widely available publications that have been around for decades.

    Facts the dilettantes have said in these comments that have made me [face_palm]:
    The Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS hereafter) were composed in Qumran, not Jerusalem. (some of the stuff is clearly copies of other documents that circulated elsewhere however)
    The Qumran community responsible for the scrolls existed between the 2nd century BCE and ca 70CE during the Roman war.
    There is nothing in the DSS about Jesus
    There are, however, certain strong affinities between things we find in the DSS and the New Testament, including the method of scripture interpretation, some apocalyptic ideas, as well as the stuff you would expect people with the same basic religion, ethnicity and geography to share
    There is nothing damaging or threatening to the modern religions of Judaism and Christianity. To be sure, the DSS are of tremendous importance for contextualizing their origin and telling us what life was like back then, but this is not a conspiracy to keep them hidden.

"So why don't you make like a tree, and get outta here." -- Biff in "Back to the Future"