New research suggests that the Great Isaiah Scroll (ca. 2nd century BC), the most famous of the Dead Sea Scrolls, was copied by two scribes, not a single worker, as previously believed. In a new study in the journal, PLOS ONE, researchers used a computer pattern recognition program that utilized artificial intelligence in order to detect letter differences and ink traces which were unique to each scribe. The program was able to identify patterns in the way letters were written that were beyond a human’s ability to see. The researchers concluded that there are two distinct halves to the scroll, written by two scribes, with the break at columns 27-29. Moreover, the similarity in the two sections suggests that the scribes were trying to match their styles and may have been trained in the same school. This technology could be used on other texts and will no-doubt illuminate the way ancient biblical manuscripts were produced.
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