Beginning in , the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration used digital infrared imaging technology to produce photographs of Dead Sea Scrolls fragments. On 18 December  the first output of this project was launched together with Google on the dedicated site Deadseascrolls. Scientists with the Israeli Antiquities Authority have used DNA from the parchment on which the Dead Sea Scrolls fragments were written, in concert with infrared digital photography, to assist in the reassembly of the scrolls.
For scrolls written on parchment made from animal hide and papyrus, scientists with the museum are using DNA code to associate fragments with different scrolls and to help scholars determine which scrolls may hold greater significance based on the type of material that was used. In partnership with Google, the Museum of Jerusalem is working to photograph the Dead Sea Scrolls and make them available to the public digitally, although not placing the images in the public domain.
After most of the scrolls and fragments were moved to the Palestine Archaeological Museum in , scholars began to assemble them and log them for translation and study in a room that became known as the "Scrollery". Some of the fragments and scrolls were published early.
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Most of the longer, more complete scrolls were published soon after their discovery. All the writings in Cave 1 appeared in print between and ; those from eight other caves were released in ; and saw the publication of the Psalms Scroll from Cave Their translations into English soon followed. Publication of the scrolls has taken many decades, and delays have been a source of academic controversy. The scrolls were controlled by a small group of scholars headed by John Strugnell , while a majority of scholars had access neither to the scrolls nor even to photographs of the text.
Scholars such as Hershel Shanks , Norman Golb , and many others argued for decades for publishing the texts, so that they become available to researchers. The majority of the scrolls consist of tiny, brittle fragments, which were published at a pace considered by many to be excessively slow. During early assembly and translation work by scholars through the Rockefeller Museum from the s through the s, access to the unpublished documents was limited to the editorial committee. The content of the scrolls was published in a 40 volume series by Oxford University Press published between and known as Discoveries in the Judaean Desert.
Tov's team had published five volumes covering the Cave 4 documents by Between and , Tov helped the team produce 32 volumes. The final volume, Volume XL, was published in In , researchers at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio , Ben Zion Wacholder and Martin Abegg , announced the creation of a computer program that used previously published scrolls to reconstruct the unpublished texts.
In the fall of that year, Wacholder published 17 documents that had been reconstructed in from a concordance and had come into the hands of scholars outside of the International Team; in the same month, there occurred the discovery and publication of a complete set of facsimiles of the Cave 4 materials at the Huntington Library. Thereafter, the officials of the Israel Antiquities Authority agreed to lift their long-standing restrictions on the use of the scrolls. After further delays, attorney William John Cox undertook representation of an "undisclosed client", who had provided a complete set of the unpublished photographs, and contracted for their publication.
The Supreme Court further ordered that the defendants hand over to Qimron all the infringing copies. Of the first three facsimile sets, one was exhibited at the Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition in Seoul, South Korea, and a second set was purchased by the British Library in London. The edition is strictly limited to 49 numbered sets of these reproductions on either specially prepared parchment paper or real parchment. The text of nearly all of the non-biblical scrolls has been recorded and tagged for morphology by Dr.
Martin Abegg, Jr. Brill in Parry and Emanuel Tov. High-resolution images, including infrared photographs, of some of the Dead Sea scrolls are now available online on two dedicated websites. On 19 October , it was announced  that Israeli Antiquities Authority IAA would scan the documents using multi-spectral imaging technology developed by NASA to produce high-resolution images of the texts, and then, through a partnership with Google , make them available online free of charge,  on a searchable database and complemented by translation and other scholarly tools.
The project is scheduled for completion within five years. The biblical manuscripts found among the Dead Sea Scrolls push that date back a full thousand years, to the 2nd century BCE. The discovery demonstrated the unusual accuracy of transmission over a thousand-year period, rendering it reasonable to believe that current Old Testament texts are reliable copies of the original works. Of the words in Isaiah 53, there are only seventeen letters in question.
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Ten of these letters are simply a matter of spelling, which does not affect the sense. Four more letters are minor stylistic changes, such as conjunctions. The remaining three letters comprise the word "light," which is added in verse 11, and does not affect the meaning greatly. It is important to note that differences were found among fragments of texts.
According to The Oxford Companion to Archaeology :. While some of the Qumran biblical manuscripts are nearly identical to the Masoretic, or traditional, Hebrew text of the Old Testament, some manuscripts of the books of Exodus and Samuel found in Cave Four exhibit dramatic differences in both language and content. In their astonishing range of textual variants, the Qumran biblical discoveries have prompted scholars to reconsider the once-accepted theories of the development of the modern biblical text from only three manuscript families: of the Masoretic text, of the Hebrew original of the Septuagint , and of the Samaritan Pentateuch.
It is now becoming increasingly clear that the Old Testament scripture was extremely fluid until its canonization around A. The conclusion, then, is that the Dead Sea scrolls have taken Biblical scholarship to a new era where much of what was previously believed can now be confirmed, and some of what was accepted as fact should now be reexamined so Biblical texts can correspond precisely with what was originally written. In conclusion, we should accord to the Masoretes the highest praise for their meticulous care in preserving so sedulously the consonantal text of the Sopherim which had been entrusted to them.
They, together with the Sopherim themselves, gave the most diligent attention to the accurate preservation of the Hebrew Scriptures that has ever been devoted to any ancient literature, secular or religious, in the history of human civilization Because of their faithfulness, we have today a form of the Hebrew text which in all essentials duplicates the recension which was considered authoritative in the days of Christ and the apostles, if not a century earlier.
And this in turn, judging from Qumran evidence, goes back to an authoritative revision of the Old Testament text which was drawn up on the basis of the most reliable manuscripts available for collation from previous centuries. These bring us very close in all essentials to the original autographs themselves, and furnish us with an authentic record of God's revelation. Albright has said, "We may rest assured that the consonantal text of the Hebrew Bible, though not infallible has been preserved with an accuracy perhaps unparalleled in any other Near Eastern literature.
The majority of the texts found among the Dead Sea Scrolls are non-biblical in nature and were thought to be insignificant for understanding the composition or canonization of the Biblical books, but a different consensus has emerged which sees many of these works as being collected by the Essene community instead of being composed by them. Small portions of the Dead Sea Scrolls collections have been put on temporary display in exhibitions at museums and public venues around the world.
The majority of these exhibitions took place in in the United States and the United Kingdom and from to in locations around the world.
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Many of the exhibitions were co-sponsored by either the Jordanian government pre or the Israeli government post Exhibitions were discontinued after due to the Six-days War conflicts and have slowed down in post as the Israeli Antiquities Authority works to digitize the scrolls and place them in permanent cold storage. The permanent Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition at the museum features a reproduction of the Great Isaiah Scroll, surrounded by reproductions of other famous fragments that include Community Rule, the War Scroll, and the Thanksgiving Psalms Scroll.
As a consequence, that part of the collection remained in Jordanian hands under their Department of Antiquities. In parts of this collection have been put on display at The Jordan Museum in Amman, to which they were moved from the Jordan Archaeological Museum. Arrangements with the Bedouin left the scrolls in the hands of a third party until a profitable sale of them could be negotiated.
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That third party, George Isha'ya , was a member of the Syriac Orthodox Church , who soon contacted St Mark's Monastery in the hope of getting an appraisal of the nature of the texts. After examining the scrolls and suspecting their antiquity, Mar Samuel expressed an interest in purchasing them. Almost all of the Dead Sea Scrolls collection is currently under the ownership of the Government of the state of Israel, and housed in the Shrine of the Book on the grounds of the Israel Museum.
This ownership is contested by both Jordan and by the Palestinian Authority.
The debate over the Dead Sea Scrolls stems from a more general Israeli—Palestinian conflict over land and state recognition. A planned exhibition in Germany was cancelled, as the German government could not guarantee a return of the scrolls to Israel . There are three types of documents relating to the Dead Sea Scrolls in which copyright status can be considered ambiguous; the documents themselves, images taken of the documents, and reproductions of the documents.
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This ambiguity arises from differences in copyright law across different countries and the variable interpretation of such law. In a copyright case Qimron v. In , the district court Judge Dalia Dorner ruled for the plaintiff, Elisha Qimron, in context of both United States and Israeli copyright law and granted the highest compensation allowed by law for aggravation in compensation against Hershel Shanks and others.
The court's ruling not only affirms that the "deciphered text" of the scrolls can fall under copyright of individuals or groups, but makes it clear that the Dead Sea Scrolls themselves do not fall under this copyright law and scholars have a degree of, in the words of U. Nimmer has shown how this freedom was in the theory of law applicable, but how it did not exist in reality as the Israeli Antiquities Authority tightly controlled access to the scrolls and photographs of the scrolls.
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