JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Dead Sea Scrolls are now available online.
The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library, a free online library of the Dead Sea Scrolls, went live Tuesday.
The library, a collaboration between the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Google R&D center in Israel, provides access to high-resolution images of the scrolls, as well as additional data and background information.
The entire collection includes 900 manuscripts comprising about 30,000 Dead Sea Scrolls fragments. The first scrolls were discovered 65 years ago in the caves of Qumran in southern Israel’s Judean Desert.
It will take three more years for all of the scrolls’ fragments to be photographed and put online. The high-resolution images are making parts of the fragments that were not clear to the naked eye visible. The images are being scanned in a special Israel Antiquities Authority lab with equipment originally developed for NASA.
Currently about 4,000 scans of infrared photographs of the scrolls taken shortly after their discovery are available online, as well as 1,000 recent scans.
The library will make the fragments accessible to both scholars and the public.
The Israel Museum last year put five of its manuscripts online, also in partnership with Google.
The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library was funded with a major gift from the Leon Levy Foundation, with additional major funding from the Arcadia Foundation and the Yad Hanadiv Foundation.