Research at the Shrine of the Book Continues

Irene Lewitt, assistant director of the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem, visited Brigham Young University on June 20, 2007. Donald W. Parry, professor of Hebrew Bible studies, and Steven Booras from the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, hosted Ms. Lewitt during her visit. A portion of her tour included a demonstration of multispectral imaging. A luncheon sponsored by the Maxwell Institute was also held in her honor. The Shrine of the Book is a museum that houses many of the Dead Sea Scrolls, including the Great Isaiah Scroll and the Temple Scroll, and other significant archaeological findings. The famous Aleppo Codex, the world’s oldest Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), is also on display at the Shrine.

Previous to Lewitt’s visit, Parry and Booras scheduled travel to Jerusalem on July 6—13 to conduct research on the Great Isaiah Scroll at the Shrine of the Book and to make formal presentations explaining the technology of multispectral imaging to officials and employees of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), Israel’s official department that deals with archaeological discoveries, antiquities, and national treasures. Gene Ware, an emeritus professor of engineering and technology at Brigham Young University and multispectral imaging specialist accompanied them. Multispectral imaging is specialized photography using computerized technology and a special configured digital camera. The research conducted by Parry, Booras, and Ware included multispectral imaging on two columns of the Great Isaiah Scroll that have up until this time have been difficult to read.

The two formal presentations, collaboratively created by Parry, Booras, and Ware, and presented by Booras and Ware, regarding BYU’s international multispectral imaging efforts were directed to division leaders of the IAA, including Irene Lewitt and employees of the Shrine of the Book and to Pnina Shor, head of Artifacts Treatment and Conservation Department of the IAA and employees belonging to her division. Lewitt graciously conducted a personalized tour of the Shrine of the Book for Parry, Booras, and Ware. Days later Shor also conducted a private tour for the three BYU researchers, showing them many of the IAA’s holdings of antiquities and treasures.

During their trip, Parry and Booras also conducted a fireside for students of BYU’s Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies, focusing on their research with multispectral imaging, Isaiah Scroll research, and most significantly, on matters that pertain to the atonement of Jesus Christ.