The Soul · The Work

Sunday talk

Gary Price at InfoDocket has a piece out on the digitization of the epistles of St. Paul, from the University of Michigan’s 3D lab. There’s an iPad app you can download that shows the actual pages, along with a translation. Many pages are actually fragments – the “book” itself is actually 104 individual pages, only 30 of which reside at Ann Arbor.

So of course I downloaded the app. It’s very very cool if you like reading ancient texts, and it makes the difficult and tedious chore of deciphering a lot easier. Aside from the missing pages, and the fragments of pages, the writing itself is very rudimentary. Gary highlights this:

“This gives an idea of what it was like to read an ancient book, with no capitals, no spaces between words, and no punctuation,” explains Arthur Verhoogt, acting archivist of the library’s papyrology collection.

About a month ago, Google announced that it had digitized five of the Dead Sea scrolls, making them searchable. The website itself offers high-res images of the scrolls, as well as videos and background information provided by the Israel Museum and the city of Jerusalem.

I’m anxious to see the Gnostic Gospels brought online in this manner as well. To make these texts open to everyone, not just scholars who are lucky enough to be in their physical proximity, is what the web is actually for.

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