In 1997, Dr. Robert Johnston arranged with Dr. James Charlesworth of
Princeton Theological Seminary for us to image several fragments of the
original cache of Dead Sea Scrolls, which were discovered near Qumran
in 1947. The original scrolls were purchased by Mar Athanasius Samuel,
who was the Syrian Orthodox Archbishop in Jerusalem in 1947. He kept
several fragments and bequeathed them to the Syrian Orthodox Cathedral
in Teaneck, NJ, where they were in the custody of Father John Peter
Meno. The fragments are encased between sheets of glass and thus may
not be imaged using ultraviolet light.
We took Bob's first-generation Kodak DCS-100 digital camera to the library of the seminary. The resolution of this camera is only 1280 ×1024 8-bit monochrome pixels (1.3 Megapixels), which limited the size of the area that could be imaged. Father Meno brought the fragments from Teaneck. As shown in the images, portions of the parchment in each fragment were darkened by damage and difficult or impossible to read. Happily, the reflectance of the darkened parchment increases as the wavelength is increased. By using an infrared-transmitting filter (centered about approximately 800 nm) over the camera lens, the contrast of the text in the damaged region is restored.
Click on each icon for a larger image:
Father Meno and Jim Charlesworth examine one of the fragments of the
Dead Sea Scrolls. Dr. Charlesworth points to the darkened region of the
Roger Easton's Home Page