Google is making the entire library of DEAD SEA SCROLLS available online! The project will grant free, global access to the 2,000-year-old text — considered one of the greatest archaeological finds of the last century — by uploading high-resolution images that are exact copies of the originals. The first photographs are slated to be online within months.
The scrolls will be available in their original languages, Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, and at first an English translation. Eventually other translations will be added, and Google's translation feature may also be incorporated. They will also be searchable. (photo: msnbc.com)
Now I know that this has little (if anything) to do with WEB DESIGN. However, it is an extraordinary event that will be appreciated by any serious student of the Bible, for a number of reasons.
Prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls by a Bedouin shepherd in a cave more than 50 years ago, the oldest manuscripts of the Hebrew Scriptures were from about the ninth and tenth centuries C.E. That meant that our oldest original Bible texts dated back to about 1,000 years after the last Bible writer died. Could we be confident that the transmission of God's Word down through the centuries had been accurate? That question was answered in the affirmative by the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, many of which date back to before the birth of Jesus Christ.
The Dead Sea Scrolls provide comparative information for the study of ancient Hebrew and the Bible text. Included non-scriptural manuscripts and fragments help us to understand the context of Jewish life during the time that Jesus preached. One of the most exciting discoveries is a complete manuscript of the book of Isaiah. It shows consistent use of the Tetragrammaton, יהוה, God’s holy name, Jehovah, in Hebrew.
The text of many of the Dead Sea Scrolls still needs closer analysis. New insights may yet be gained as Bible scholars have unlimited access to these valued manuscripts online.