|Part of the Book of Genesis.
Photo by Shai Halevi, courtesy of
Israel Antiquities Authority
Back in 2011, a partnership between Google and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem launched the Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Project, which made five of the famous manuscripts available online, along with historical information, translations, and commentaries. Hot on the heels of the University of Cambridge releasing its Nash Papyrus and other ancient documents last month, the Israel Antiquities Authority has added to the wealth of primary sources on the web by again partnering with Google to digitize the entire collection of Dead Sea Scrolls and present them online.
From the official Google blog:
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. The texts include one of the earliest known copies of the Book of Deuteronomy, which includes the Ten Commandments; part of Chapter 1 of the Book of Genesis, which describes the creation of the world; and hundreds more 2,000-year-old texts, shedding light on the time when Jesus lived and preached, and on the history of Judaism.
The site displays infrared and color images that are equal in quality to the Scrolls themselves. There's a database containing information for about 900 of the manuscripts, as well as interactive content pages.
This collection contains not only early versions of Biblical texts and apocrypha, but also records of civic events, legal and personal papers, and artifacts found alongside the scrolls, all photographed in stunning detail. There is information about the discovery of the manuscripts, the languages and scripts they contain, the conservation efforts they have undergone. You can browse the archive by discovery location, language, or content, or search for whatever you like.
Even if you're not a scholar using these documents for study, they are well worth a look. The meticulous work that has gone into reconstructing them and making them available to the world is downright impressive.
Hat tip to Sari, who heard about this amazing project via Twitter.