Fragment From 'Unknown' Dead Sea Scroll Revealed With Space-Age Imaging

04 May, 2018, 07:19 | Author: Sherry Houston
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Discovered between 1946 and 1956, the Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 972 ancient manuscripts dating back to 2,000 years ago. The imaging technique resulted in the discovery of new letters and words and may even indicate the existence of additional manuscripts.

Fragments of a possible new manuscript of the Dead Sea Scrolls have been identified thanks to a technology specifically developed by NASA for this research, reported researchers from the Dead Sea Scrolls Unit at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Experts have used NASA imaging technology to reveal "hidden script" invisible to the naked eye in the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, unearthed in the Judean desert in the 50s. He examined a few dozen fragments that were discovered in "Cave 11" near Qumran, and was excited to discover traces of ink on many fragments that initially appeared blank.

'What was exciting about this particular fragment is that I could tell that the handwriting was not identical to other fragments of this type of script, ' Mr Ableman told Israeli news outlet Haaretz.

Although only a few letters survived in these small fragments, sometimes this was enough to reconstruct the text.

The fragments were presented on Tuesday at the worldwide conference - The Dead Sea Scrolls at Seventy: "Clear a Path in the Wilderness". Due to the fragmentary nature of the evidence, however, these reconstructions can not be confirmed with certainty, but remain highly likely.

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The newly discovered texts have been identified as belonging to the books of Deuteronomy, Leviticus, and Jubilees, also known as the Lesser Genesis.

The scrolls were found by shepherd Muhammed Edh-Dhib as he searched for a stray among the limestone cliffs at Khirbet Qumran on the shores of the Dead Sea in what was then British Mandate Palestine - now the West Bank.

One is from the Temple Scroll, while another has been identified as belonging to the Great Psalms Scroll.

What's written on the fragments includes directions for conducting temple services, a shorter version of Psalm 147:1, and text written an ancient script called paleo-Hebrew that couldn't be attributed to any known manuscripts.

The findings provide further insight into how Judaism was practiced during a historically loaded period when Israelites clashed with the Roman Empire almost 2,000 years ago and hint at the existence of a completely unknown manuscript. This raises the possibility that it belonged to a still unknown manuscript.

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