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posted by janrinok on Wednesday July 22 2015, @05:04PM   Printer-friendly
from the I've-already-read-it-in-paperback dept.

A scroll that had been burnt to charcoal inside the Ein Gedi synagogue some 1,500 years ago has now been read for the first time, thanks to modern technology.

Ein Gedi is an oasis located on the western shore of the Dead Sea, where fresh water flows from underground year-round. Over the millennia, it has been home to various human settlements, including a Jewish village with a synagogue erected in the third century.

One of the additions to the synagogue, made in the fourth century, was a niche in the northern wall, which housed an ark, a receptacle to contain the synagogue's scrolls of Torah. The Torah is comprised of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy -- the first five books of the Bible.

An archaeological expedition to the Ein Gedi synagogue uncovered the ancient scroll in 1970 -- the oldest scroll discovered since the Dead Sea Scrolls were found between 1946 and 1956. The Dead Sea Scrolls, dating from between around 408 BC to 308 AD, however, were in good condition.

The Ein Gedi scroll -- carbon dated to the sixth century -- was not. It was burned and blackened into charcoal -- unable to be unrolled and deciphered.

[...]

"This discovery absolutely astonished us: We were certain it was just a shot in the dark but decided to try and scan the burnt scroll anyway," curator and director of the Israel Antiquities Authority's Dead Sea Scrolls projects Pnina Shor said. "Now, not only can we bequeath the Dead Sea Scrolls to future generations, but also a part of the Bible from a Holy Ark of a 1,500-year old synagogue!"


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  • (Score: 1, Funny) by krishnoid on Wednesday July 22 2015, @07:04PM

    by krishnoid (1156) on Wednesday July 22 2015, @07:04PM (#212440)

    Are these the same 'carbon dating' techniques that identify dinosaur fossils as being millions of years old? And these scientists think they can use this jiggery-pokery to authenticate the age of a piece of scripture? Ridiculous.

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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by pTamok on Wednesday July 22 2015, @07:24PM

    by pTamok (3042) on Wednesday July 22 2015, @07:24PM (#212446)

    Are these the same 'carbon dating' techniques that identify dinosaur fossils as being millions of years old? And these scientists think they can use this jiggery-pokery to authenticate the age of a piece of scripture? Ridiculous.

    I would be absolutely fascinated to know which carbon dating technique is used to identify fossils as being millions of years old, as radiocarbon dating, due to the half life of the isotopes concerned, works only up to to about 75,000 years before present.

    See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiocarbon_dating#Errors_and_reliability [wikipedia.org]

    There is more than one radiometric dating tchnique: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiometric_dating [wikipedia.org]

    • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Wednesday July 22 2015, @08:06PM

      by krishnoid (1156) on Wednesday July 22 2015, @08:06PM (#212458)

      Dang! At least I learned something, thanks.

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by meisterister on Wednesday July 22 2015, @08:33PM

    by meisterister (949) on Wednesday July 22 2015, @08:33PM (#212470) Journal

    Maybe a better application of the technology would be to determine the age of the phrase "jiggery-pokery"

    --
    (May or may not have been) Posted from my K6-2, Athlon XP, or Pentium I/II/III.