I had the privilege of attending a lecture at SWBTS (where I am a Ph.D Student in Old Testament), where Bruce Zuckerman discussed recent developments in imaging technology and how those developments aided Dead Sea Scrolls research. You can find out more about Zuckerman here. This lecture was something I really wanted to talk about on the blog.

First off, you can read a little background here, as well as view some amazing photos. Zuckerman uses advanced photography techniques to allow the viewer control over the image, rather than the photographer. Let me describe what he does. First, the set up a traditional photography set up for documents. Then they take several images (over 30) of the same document, with a single point of light in various positions, then create a composite image of all of them. The software allows the user to move the light around so that they can best see the image the way they want to. One of the other techniques he demonstrated was called “specular enhancement”. He demonstrated it on several fragments from Qumran, including those owned by SWBTS.

click the image to view the source page

By using this technique he demonstrated that one could determine the grain of the leather, which allows scholars to determine if fragments fit together, or came from the same (originally) complete scroll. Using infrared images, Zuckerman demonstrated that one could often times achieve a more useful image (get a better look at the letters on the scroll) when the fragment is faded. In his demonstration he showed how he and his colleagues had found a small fragment which included text from both 1QDanA and 1QDanB, and because of this, they could conclude that the scrolls were stored together, and the ink had bled onto the scroll of 1QDanB at some point.

It was a very interesting lecture, and I highly recommend listening to him if you can. It was not a boring lecture, but entertaining.

If you are interested in digital workflow for bible study, check out this post.

If you are interested in other internet sites for Bible study, click here.

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