Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Five Dead Sea Scrolls Online in High Resolution

Google and the Israel Museum are beginning to fulfill their promise to make the Dead Sea Scrolls available online. The first installment includes five scrolls:

  • Great Isaiah Scroll
  • Community Rule Scroll
  • Commentary on Habakkuk Scroll
  • Temple Scroll
  • War Scroll

The Jerusalem Post explains that readers can search the Isaiah Scroll in English:

The Isaiah Scroll was also translated line by line, allowing viewers to search in regular search engines in English for specific phrases or verses in the scrolls. A verse-by-verse Chinese translation will be finished shortly, as Bible scholarship is extremely popular in China, said Israel museum officials.

The article also describes the digitization process:

Ardon Bar Hama, a freelance photographer and one of the world’s premier experts in photographing ancient texts for online viewing, used a $50,000 camera that exposed the scrolls to the light for 1/4,000th of a second. Ben Hama’s camera shoots at a resolution of 1,200 megapixels, in comparison, a good personal camera shoots at about 12 megapixels.
Google utilizes cloud computing to store to the giant images, allowing people to browse the scrolls from their cell phones. Users will also be able to highlight their favorite verses and post them to their Twitter or Facebook pages, or to comment on verses through the site in an international dialogue.

The full article is here or you may go directly to the scrolls at the Israel Museum website. Prepare to be impressed.

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