8th April 2005
I am amazed at the benefits of computer technology for studying the Scriptures. This was recently impressed upon me again while visiting with Marty Abegg, who was in town giving some special lectures on the Dead Sea Scrolls at Taylor University College (N.B. I will upload an MP3 of his public lecture, “Jesus in the Dead Sea Scrolls? Messianic Expectations at Qumran,” to my Public Lectures Page soon). Marty has done an amazing amount of work preparing a searchable database of the non-biblical texts from Qumran from which he assembled the now available Dead Sea Scrolls Concordance, Volume 1: The Non-Biblical Texts from Qumran (see my Annotated Guide to the DSS).
My own (very modest) foray into using technology in helping us study the scrolls — besides using Marty’s database with Accordance as well as other software packages — is in connection with 1Q12 (= 1QPs-c), a small scroll containing part of Psalm 44. When working with the official publication of the fragmentary scroll (DJD 1; Oxford, 1955), I decided to try to visually reconstruct some of the manuscripts using computer technology. In particular, using Accordance Bible Software, Adobe Photoshop, and Quark XPress, as well as some other imaging software, I was able to identify another fragment of this scroll. Unfortunately, while my identification is likely (IMHO), it will never be able to be confirmed visually with the orginal fragment, as it as been misplaced!
You can take a look at a brief write-up of my proposed reconstruction from my Software for Biblical Studies page. Any and all comments are most welcome! (And if you know where the original fragments are, please return them to the Shrine of the Book!)