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A badly damaged ancient scroll, discovered in the burnt-out remains of a synagogue in En-Gedi, has been digitally unfolded to reveal the first two chapters from the book of Leviticus. Because the scroll was burned so badly (essentially only a charred lump remained), researchers had conserved the scroll until technology had advanced to the point where it might be readable. That day has arrived, as computer scientists from the University of Kentucky worked with scholars in Jerusalem to scan the scroll and use new software to virtually unroll it and translate the revealed text. Carbon-14 tests had dated the scroll to approximately 300 AD. Paleographic analysis of the style of writing used suggests a first-century date between 50-100 AD. The translated text of Leviticus is identical to that in the Masoretic text of the Old Testament. This makes the En-Gedi scroll the earliest copy of the Masoretic text, and bridges a gap in the history of Bible translation that had existed between the Dead Sea Scrolls and medieval copies the Old Testament.


Off-site Links:
- http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/2/9/e1601247.full
- http://www.wsj.com/video/scientists-reveal-biblical-text-from-ancient-scroll/FCF75BB3-682E-4099-B463-3234FD59EFF2.html
- http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/09/computers-decipher-ancient-hebrew-ein-gedi-scroll-bible-archaeology/
- http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/22/science/ancient-sea-scrolls-bible.html

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ABRT 28 | 8/1/2019