Dead Sea Scrolls go online, thanks to Google, Israel Museum


The Dead Sea Scrolls are a popular draw whenever
fragments of the ancient manuscripts are displayed at museums around the
world. Now you can get a close-up glimpse of the scrolls with a few
keystrokes on your personal computer.

Google and
the Israel Museum in Jerusalem have partnered to launch a new website — — that allows the public the ability
to examine the Dead Sea Scrolls in fine detail. The site provides
searchable, high-resolution images of the scrolls, plus explanatory
videos and background on the foundational texts.

initiative is part of the Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Project between the
museum and Google. The museum has so far digitized five scrolls in its
collection — the Great Isaiah Scroll, the Community Rule Scroll, the
Commentary on Habakkuk Scroll, the Temple Scroll and the War Scroll.

Dead Sea Scrolls remain a controversial subject. Some Palestinian
officials believe that the scrolls were illegally obtained by Israel
when it annexed East Jerusalem in 1967. In 2007, the San Diego Natural
History Museum hosted a selection of the scrolls in a six-month show
that was a popular draw.

Discovered between 1947
and 1956, the scrolls are attributed to an isolated Jewish sect,
referred to in the scrolls as “the Community,” whose members settled in
Qumran in the Judean desert.

In the past, Google has launched similar online initiatives with other museums through the Google Art Project.


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