Dead Sea Scrolls Project Got Boost from E-mail

NEW YORK, NOV. 16, 2001 ( The technology of e-mail and laser printing speeded up the publication of complete volumes of the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls, one of the great archaeological finds of the 20th century, scholars say.

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The scrolls and fragments, providing insights into what the Hebrew Bible looked like 2,000 years ago, were discovered in caves between 1947 and 1956 on the shores of the Dead Sea and the decades since have been spent in painstaking research and conservation for their eventual publication.

Emmanuel Tov, editor in chief of a committee working with the scrolls, announced the publication of 37 large-sized volumes at a news conference Thursday in the New York Public Library, Reuters reported. He added that an additional 15 volumes were also ready for publication.

«Modern technology was very important to our team,» said Tov. «We decided to make the camera copies ourselves; e-mail was absolutely necessary and I could not have done this in 10 years without e-mail.»

The volumes of scrolls, translated from writings in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin dating from 250 B.C. to A.D. 70, were published by Oxford University Press under the title «Discoveries in the Judean Desert.»

Reading of the scrolls did not shake Judaism or Christianity as some scholars had anticipated, but there was debate over the years over why they did not mention Jesus Christ. Tov explained that it was probably too early for Jesus to appear in the literature.

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