Biblical Archaeology Review 18:4, July/August 1992
Dead Sea Scrolls Research Council: Fragments

Reconstructing the Scrolls Byte by Byte

By Michael T. Shoemaker

Biblical scholarship entered the computer age more than 20 years ago, when the computerized analysis of texts began. Only more recently have computers been used on the Dead Sea Scrolls. This kind of computer use may have reached its zenith in the work of Ben Zion Wachholder and Martin G. Abegg, both of Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, who are reconstructing the texts of the unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls from a concordance compiled more than 30 years ago (see “BAS Publishes Fascicle Two of DSS Transcripts,” in this issue).

With the advent of computer-imaging systems, however, the field of Dead Sea Scroll research has moved beyond such conventional data-processing applications. Computer imaging allows photographs to be converted into electronic images that can be stored in a computer and displayed and manipulated on the screen. The electronic storage of photos, in combination with a CDROM (disks with enormous memories, similar to the audio CDs that are so popular now), means that some day a single disk with all the Dead Sea Scroll photos may be available.

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