Source: Googling the Dead Sea Scrolls
I told you all of the cool stuff was happening in Israel.
When I was in graduate school, my professor showed us a newspaper image that he found a bit ridiculous. It featured a scholar holding in one hand a tiny fragment of one of the Dead Sea Scrolls with a pair of tweezers and in the other hand a magnifying glass and lit cigarette.
The world has changed a lot since then.
Nowadays you no longer need to go to a research library or order expensive fascicles to see the Dead Sea Scrolls yourself. You can view them online at the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library.
The library does not yet contain all of the scrolls—the Great Isaiah scroll (1QIsaa) is not yet available for example—but what they have is better quality than previously released fascicles because the curators are using NASA technology to photograph each fragment, allowing them—and us!—to see details previously lost to time.
I recognize the majority of people coming to this page cannot read Ancient Hebrew (unless our demographics have changed significantly in the past week). Nevertheless, those of you who are familiar with Medieval manuscripts are aware of palimpsests, manuscripts that had the ink scraped off so that they could be re-used. This NASA technology along with the already existing infrared methods can be a huge boon for the study of Medieval—particularly early Medieval—manuscripts.
So what do you think, Lochmere? Is there an Ancient or Medieval manuscript you know of that you’d like a better look at? What other treasures kept in special libraries would you like to see online?