Scrolls Database Unveiled at Scholarly Venue

The Maxwell Institute is pleased to announce The Dead Sea Scrolls Electronic Library Revised Edition 2006, published in cooperation with Brill Academic Publishers. Updated under the editorship of Emanuel Tov, who leads an international team of Dead Sea Scrolls editors, the searchable electronic database boasts exciting new features.

The CD-ROM program allows users to view high-quality images of the scroll texts along with their Hebrew or Aramaic transcriptions and their translations into English. Each of the more than 1,300 scroll images has been reprocessed for improved legibility and tagged with labels and numbers for easy reference. Based on Donald W. Parry and Emanuel Tov’s comprehensive Dead Sea Scrolls Reader (see Insights 25/2/2005 for a report), the database contains new and updated translations as well as a morphological analysis of each Hebrew and Aramaic word, identifying its root and part of speech and also providing a concise English translation.

The improved database was demonstrated at last year’s annual meetings of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature. Participants were impressed with its coverage and search capabilities. Since then, the database has undergone further refinements in preparation for its unveiling at this year’s AAR/SBL meetings in Washington DC in November. “Scholars have been enthusiastic about the revision of this database and have been anticipating its release for several years,” said CPART director Kristian Heal.

“Anyone using the CD-ROM will be able to access texts, images, and reference materials quickly and efficiently,” reports Brill’s catalog (www.brill.nl). “The combination of a powerful text search engine and sophisticated image-manipulating software will enable scholars and students unparalleled research possibilities.” Because the database utilizes a Unicode-compatible version of BYU’s WordCruncher software, users can cut and paste material from the database into their word-processing programs.

The database currently features all of the nonbiblical material (some 500 Hebrew and Aramaic texts) found in 11 caves near the ancient site of Qumran in the Judean desert from 1947 to 1956. The next phase in this ongoing project will add the biblical material, for a total of some 900 texts with accompanying images, transcriptions, and English translations.

The newly revised Dead Sea Scrolls Electronic Library is being marketed primarily to libraries, research institutions, and academics and is available through the academic publisher E. J. Brill (search on the title in the catalog section at www.brill.nl).