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Burned Hebrew Bible Scroll Becomes Readable For The First Time With The Use Of 'Virtual Unwrapping'

Burned Hebrew Bible Scroll Becomes Readable For The First Time With The Use Of 'Virtual Unwrapping'

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First Posted: Sep 23, 2016 03:31 AM EDT
Ein Gedi Scroll Fragment 2-Shai Halevi-IAA
The charred En-Gedi scroll, whihch was discovered in 1970, revealed verses from Leviticus. Israel Antiquities Authority שי הלוי/ Wikimedia Commons CC BY 3.0

A burned 1,500-year-old Hebrew scroll, which was discovered 45 years ago on the shores of the Dead Sea in Israel, became readable for the first time. The hidden texts reveal verses from the Book of Leviticus.

The discovery was possible through the use of "virtual unwrapping" and also involved analysis from experts in Israel and the United States. The scroll also referred to as En-Gedi scroll was believed to be burned in a fire that took place and ruined a synagogue in the year 600 AD. It was found in 1970, according to Fox News.


Brent Seales, a professor in the computer science department at the University of Kentucky said that they are reading a real scroll and it hasn't been read for millennia. He further said that many thought it was probably impossible to read.

Phnina Shor, the director of the Israel Antiquities Authority's Dead Sea Scrolls Project, also stated that the discovery of text in the En-Gedi scroll absolutely surprised them. She added that they were certain it was a shot in the dark, but the most advanced technologies have brought this cultural treasure back to life.

The researchers scanned the burned scroll using a micro-CT scanner then they digital unpacked the rolled scroll. Then, they sought experts in Israel for the analysis on the lines of Hebrew text.

Daily Mail shared the revealed texts from the charred Hebrew scroll. These includes phrases: 'If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, a male', 'without blemish he shall offer; to the entrance of the tent of meeting, he shall bring' and 'it is for acceptance on his behalf before the Lord. 'He shall lay his hand upon the head...'

Michael Segal, the co-author of the study and a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was amazed at the quality of the images. He said that they first thought that the scroll contains all the books of the Torah, but later realized it was part of Leviticus. He further said that the En-Gedi Leviticus scroll is the most extensive and important Biblical text from antiquity that has come to light.


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