Cameras digitize Dead Sea Scrolls

OCTOBER 22, 2008--In a crowded laboratory painted in gray and cooled like a cave, half a dozen specialists have embarked on an historic undertaking: digitally photographing every one of the thousands of fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

OCTOBER 22, 2008--In a crowded laboratory painted in gray and cooled like a cave, half a dozen specialists have embarked on an historic undertaking: digitally photographing every one of the thousands of fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls with the aim of making the entire file--among the most sought-after and examined documents on earth--available to all on the Internet. Equipped with high-powered cameras with resolution and clarity many times greater than those of conventional models, and with lights that emit neither heat nor ultraviolet rays, the scientists and technicians are uncovering previously illegible sections and letters of the scrolls, discoveries that could have significant scholarly impact. The 2,000-year-old scrolls, found in the late 1940s in caves near the Dead Sea east of Jerusalem, contain the earliest known copies of every book of the Hebrew Bible (missing only the Book of Esther), and apocryphal texts and descriptions of rituals of a Jewish sect at the time of Jesus. The texts, most of them on parchment but some on papyrus, date from the third century B.C. to the first century A.D. For more information, go to:http://www.nytimes.com

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