While perusing the Internet today I saw a headline “Dead Sea Scrolls Now Available Online.” I clicked the link to see what it was all about and saw the headline “Dead Sea Scrolls: Now, as the new year approaches on the Hebrew calendar, anyone can view, read and interact with five digitized Dead Sea Scrolls, the most complete of the eight the Israel Museum has in its collection.”
The Dead Sea Scrolls were written between the first and third centuries B.C. and are the oldest known Biblical manuscripts in existence. The Scrolls were hidden in caves on the shores of the Dead Sea in 68 B.C. to protect them from the Roman Armies. They were unearthed again in 1947 and since 1965 they have been in the Israel Museum, available only to those who traveled abroad to see them first hand.
Now, with the help of Google, five of the eight Dead Sea Scrolls are available anywhere, any time. These five include the Great Isaiah Scroll, the only complete ancient copy of any biblical book in existence, the Temple Scroll, the thinnest parchment scroll ever found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, the War Scroll, popularly known as “The War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness,” the Community Rule, formerly called the “Manual of Discipline,” and The Commentary on Habakkuk, which interprets the first two chapters of the biblical book of the prophet Habakkuk.
The New Site allows you to view high definition digital pictures of The Scrolls, read the interpretation in English, and even leave comments for others to read and respond. Google has even helped to make The Scrolls “searchable,” meaning you can search phrases and results can show the exact Chapter and Verse.
My first thought was that I sincerely hope that they begin to use this resource in our schools as a way of teaching such a huge part of our history. Since Religion has been so severely taken from our schools (and I do not think it is a coincidence that the schools have gone down since then) I hope that people will be able to see this more as a piece of history than a Biblical teaching. Well done Google.