Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dead Sea Scrolls to go Online

It only took a couple of thousand years, but people the world over will soon be able to have a close-up look at one of the greatest archaeological finds of the last century. Earlier today Google and Israel's Antiquities Authority announced plans to collaborate on a project to make the Dead Sea Scrolls available both to scholars and the general public over the Internet.
(Credit: Michael Kappeler/AFP/Getty Images)

This is quite the big deal. A portion of the scrolls were first rediscovered in the late 1940s. But they have rarely been accessible to a wide public as issues over control prevented wide dissemination beyond a relatively small number of scholars.

Speaking with CNN, the IAI's director, Shuka Dorfman, said the project will help advance the state of biblical studies and further the understanding of Judaism and early Christianity. "We have succeeded in recruiting the best minds and technological means to preserve this unrivaled cultural heritage treasure, which belongs to all of us, so that the public with a click of the mouse will be able to access history in its fullest glamor," he said.

By the time the project gets completed - it's expected to last a couple of years - the last remaining barriers to mass public viewing will disappear - assuming that you've got an Internet connection, of course.

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