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Dead Sea Scrolls: Artificial Intelligence sheds new light on their authors

An artificial intelligence-based paleographic project carried out by scholars in the Netherlands found a way to replace the human eye of with artificial intelligence.

Were generations of scribes training together some 2,000 years ago in the Judean desert? Were some of the manuscripts known as the Dead Sea Scrolls produced as a team effort by two or more scribes working side by side in Qumran? And how many authors are behind the corpus of artifacts whose unearthing is considered one of the most crucial archaeological discoveries of the 20th century?

An artificial intelligence-based paleographic project carried out by scholars at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands hopes to find answers to many of these questions and to shed unprecedented light on the communities behind the text.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are a corpus of some 25,000 fragments unearthed in caves by the Dead Sea in the 1940s and 1950s. The artifacts include some of the most ancient manuscripts of the Bible, other religious texts that were not accepted in the canon as well as non-religious writings.

This project represents the first attempt to replace the human eye of paleographers with an artificial intelligence analysis, as Prof. Mladen Popović, the head of the Qumran Institute of the University of Groningen, explained to The Jerusalem Post.

“The human eye is amazing and can see things that computer cannot see, but we cannot always realize what we're seeing, let alone explain what we're seeing, while the computer can quantify and give us the data.” he concluded. “The interpretation this data is on us.”

Dead Sea Scrolls are always very exciting to visitors to Israel, so any news regarding them is very interesting.

From an article in The Jerusalem Post Read the rest of the article here

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