Researchers believe they have potentially uncovered some fascinating details surrounding the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to examine the Great Isaiah Scroll — one of the original fragments discovered in 1947 that is unique due to its contents being nearly complete — researchers at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands came to a fascinating conclusion: they believe two scribes wrote the scroll, according to the BBC.
"The ancient ink traces relate directly to a person's muscle movement and are person-specific," the researchers wrote in their paper. "[The] likely scenario is [one of] two different scribes working closely together and trying to keep the same style of writing yet revealing themselves, their individuality."
The identities of these individuals are unknown, but the research has certainly captured headlines in recent weeks.
Researchers, until now, hadn't noticed differences in the writing, as BBC noted. You might be wondering how experts came to this conclusion. It gets a bit scientific in nature, but the abstract offers an explainer of the finer details:
To this end, we use pattern recognition and artificial intelligence techniques to innovate the palaeography of the scrolls and to pioneer the microlevel of individual scribes to open access to the Bible’s ancient scribal culture. We report new evidence for a breaking point in the series of columns in this scroll. Without prior assumption of writer identity, based on point clouds of the reduced-dimensionality feature-space, we found that columns from the first and second halves of the manuscript ended up in two distinct zones of such scatter plots, notably for a range of digital palaeography tools, each addressing very different featural aspects of the script samples.
You can read the paper for yourself here. The researchers believe that this opens the door to understanding how scribes worked. Rather than a single scribe, this could mean there were multiple people working together and aiming to replicate one another's work and writing style.
This is the second time the Dead Sea Scrolls have made headlines in recent months. As Pure Flix Insider previously reported, archaeologists in Israel unveiled another stunning find in March, announcing that "dozens" of new Dead Sea Scroll fragments were found inside of a cave — the first such discovery in 60 years.
The Israel Antiquities Authority said that contents written in Greek from the Books of Zechariah and Nahum were found among the fragments, with experts noting that the scrolls were likely hidden during the Bar Kochba Revolt, a Jewish revolt against Rome that unfolded around 1,900 years ago.
These exciting fragments — which date back to the first century — offer what CBS News called "a rare window into the history of Judaism, early Christian life, and humankind." Read more about that here.
Featured Image: Lerner Vadim / Shutterstock.com
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