JERUSALEM, Sep. 26 (Xinhua) -- Israel's Dead Sea scrolls, the world's oldest biblical manuscripts, are now accessible online after the Israel Museum and Google launched a digitized version of the scrolls on Monday, allowing the viewer to translate them and zoom in on any of the verses.
Developed in partnership with Google, the scrolls' new website gives users access to searchable, high-resolution images of the scrolls, as well as short explanatory videos and background information on the texts and their history.
"The pictures have great resolution and you can zoom in on them and read verses as if time had not passed by through them," an Israel Museum spokeswoman told Xinhua Monday.
The project aims at bringing the history of Israel closer to the general public, both locally and internationally.
Five of the eight scrolls were uploaded into a website linked to museum's official site. One of the documents, the Great Isaiah Scroll, has been translated to English. A Chinese translation is in the works, as well, the spokeswoman said.
"We're working on translating the other four now," she said, " but right now users can also type a verse in English of the Isaiah scroll on Google and it will redirect them straight to the Hebrew verse in the scroll."
The five digitized scrolls include the Great Isaiah Scroll, the Community Rule Scroll, the Commentary on Habakkuk Scroll, the Temple Scroll, and the War Scroll.
"The scrolls are of paramount importance among the touchstones of monotheistic world heritage," Israel Museum Directors James S. Snyder, Anne and Jerome Fisher said, "and they represent unique highlights of our Museum's encyclopedic holdings. Now, through our partnership with Google, we are able to bring these treasures to the broadest possible public."
The scrolls, that date back to a period between the third and first century B.C., were found in cliff side caves high above the Dead Sea between 1947 until 1956. They are kept as a national treasure within a shrine whose roof resembles a cover of one of the clay containers they were hidden in over the millennia.