Two thousand years after they were written and decades after they were found in desert caves, some of the world-famous Dead Sea Scrolls went online for the first time on Monday in a project launched by Israel’s national museum and web giant Google.
The appearance of five of the most important Dead Sea scrolls on the internet is part of a broader attempt by the custodians of the celebrated manuscripts – who were once criticised for allowing them to be monopolised by small circles of scholars – to make them available to anyone with a computer.
The scrolls include the biblical Book of Isaiah, the manuscript known as the Temple Scroll, and three others. Web surfers can search high-resolution images of the scrolls for specific passages, zoom in and out, and translate verses into English.
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