The Computer Keys' Scrolls

Closely held ancient documents are revealed through modern software

The Dead Sea Scrolls are modern archaeology's most important find in terms of understanding ancient Judaism and the origins of Christianity 20 centuries ago. But at least one-fifth of the material remains unpublished decades after the scrolls were unearthed near Jerusalem. The circle of abnormally secretive experts that was granted control of the documents has been infuriatingly slow in preparing them for publication and has refused to let other experts see them.

To break that logjam, two scholars last week issued the first of several unauthorized volumes of the secret scrolls -- cleverly using a computer- generated text. The editors are...

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