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  1. Dead Sea Scrolls Mystery Solved?
  2. Discovery of the Scrolls
  3. The Race for the Next Dead Sea Scrolls, and Why We May Lose It
  4. Invisible Letters Discovered on Dead Sea Scroll Fragments

It is beautiful also because of that story we all know, about Moses and the burning bush, the bush that was not consumed. A rabbi recently, in a course, was saying about that fire, well, God knew how to be dramatic. But he didn't perceive what I see, and that fire itself, the word itself, the flame, is about love, as in to have a flame, about ire, as in anger, and about beauty, and something so amazing, because fire, IS so amazing in all its aspects.

In the matzah, the burnt portions I do see, a manuscript, deeply burned, and though I cannot read this, I do think of mtazoh itself this way. Thank you! The black Israelites and the lost tribes Perhaps the black letters represent the black Israelites and the lost letters represent the lost tribes. The black high visibility stands out in strong contrast to the surrounding white space, that enables the black to be seen.

Without the black there is no life and purpose : Reply. That was fantastic! Where Are the , Letters of the Torah? Your explanation is amazing and mind-blowing! Where did you get such a wonderful Jewish education? I'd like my daughters to got to school! Here's a great tip! Enter your email address to get our weekly email with fresh, exciting and thoughtful content that will enrich your inbox and your life. No Thanks. Subscribe Subscribe. Subscribe to Rabbi Y. Ask the Rabbi.

The Dead Sea Scrolls

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Dead Sea Scrolls Mystery Solved?

Event Directory. Greeting Cards. Halachic Times. Jewish Calendar. Judaica Store. Knowledge Base. SMS Shabbat Times. Yahrtzeit Lookup. Popular Tools:. Shabbat Times. Email Subscriptions. More Sites Today is Sat. Jewish Practice. Question: I have been told that that there are , letters in the Torah scroll, and I always understood this to be the case. Response: There are ,plus letters in the Torah, but as you noted, we often hear of the , letters in the Torah. Editor's Note:. Every Jewish child and adult should own a letter in a Torah scroll. Read more about how to do that at A Letter in a Torah Scroll.

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Discovery of the Scrolls

July 23, Jewish Identity. The Torah. On The Prophets and Scriptures. Judaism on Medical Ethics. Moshiach and the Final Redemption. The Court of Jewish Law. If the changes in water exposure are cyclic, the stress imposed could eventually lead to mechanical fatigue and fracture, this would be a feed forward mechanism in which collagen is further damaged and converts to gelatine. Because the collagen, gelatine and interface layers will absorb different amounts of water at the same RH, there will be a differential distribution of water at any given RH typically used in storage conditions; an alteration in the RH will cause the water distribution and the physical properties of the different components to change [ 26 ].

The effect that the disparity between water content of collagen and gelatine has on parchment stability is not clear, and needs to be resolved. Electron micrograph images of parchment surfaces show a delamination of a glassy surface layer of parchment that has separated in parts from the underlying core of the parchment. These fractures are possible representative of differential behaviour of layers and interfaces within the parchment document [ 27 ].

Percentage water content in parchment at varying RH. Therefore the key to determining the most appropriate RH for parchment storage, display and handling is to understand the range of RH that parchment can be exposed to before there is sufficient space between neighbouring collagen fibrils for them to unfold, and determine the relationship between structural changes and water content. Because parchments are composite materials understanding how water content affects the thermodynamic stability and the mechanical properties is challenging. At present, the recommended standards for storing parchment are based upon recommendations for water absorbent materials hygroscopic.

Summary of the RH range recommended in the literature. Weiner , et al. Schilling , et al , [ 34 ]. Hansen , et al. The DSS study by Schilling et al. This study found that the rate of water absorption was slowest and the volume change lowest in the degraded new control parchment samples. They also found that the rate of absorption and volume change were in the same order of magnitude in the DSS samples as gelatine samples used.

This indicates that in this RH range the parchment volume change was lowest, suggesting that equilibrium was reached. Although no evidence was provided in the study, it is possible to speculate that the difference in the amount of water absorbed and the RH when maximum water absorption was reached were the result of a difference in the proportions of collagen and gelatine between samples. Older parchments are often found to have larger proportions of gelatine because they have usually been exposed to damaging environmental conditions, such as UV light, for much longer.

These studies usefully show that there are changes in the physical properties of parchment artefacts at different RH and this may be caused by the proportion of collagen and gelatine present in the parchment. Therefore, these sample sets need to be augmented by further studies to generalise the case and be representative of the range of parchment artefacts in terms of manufacturing procedures, animal skins used or the type of post manufacture storage conditions.

In addition, techniques need to be developed to estimate the amount of collagen and gelatine in each sample and relate this to the physical changes observed at different RH values, although the properties of the structural components of parchment gelatine and collagen have been characterised in part by response to RH, there is a need to consider the spatial relationship of collagen and gelatine at a variety of length scales within each parchment.

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The study by Bowden , et al. The study found that the thermal peak area, which represents the temperature change of parchment when exposed to different RH, was related to the mass of the sample. The main finding provides evidence that the hygrometric change i. The results of this study show the thermal response method is suitable to demonstrate the response of parchment to RH change; however, it did not provide any specific guidance for setting environmental parameters for parchment.

Hansen et al. Hansen measured the load to break, energy to break, and percentage strain to break, with the aim of quantifying the amount of force needed to induce mechanical failure and showed how this changes with the amount of water held in a parchment. Hansen also measured the initial modulus and restrained force, with the aim of quantifying the resistance of parchment to structural alteration with respect to RH and therefore a change in the water content.

The initial modulus experiments made by Hansen is a measure of the parchment elasticity and are a direct measure of how the increase or decrease in water mediated bonds contributes to a change in the brittleness of the samples. This gives an understanding of which RH may alter a parchments physical properties and ability to resist structural deformations.

Hansen compared the results with a study conducted on leather [ 38 ], and made the same general conclusion that the techniques used were not sensitive enough to differentiate between the subtle disparities between samples. A more accurate measure of the mechanical alterations induced from a change in water content could be made by performing shear stress measurements. The shear stress is measured as the component of stress that is coplanar with a material cross section and is used to describe the stress state in which the shape of a material will change without any particular volume change.

The shear stress measurement would produce a clearer idea of the size of the stress imposed on a parchment from changing water content at different RH. Therefore the upper limit recommended by Hansen is not strongly supported by the work of Valentin and should be considered carefully. However, because the samples selected did not account for the large mechanical variation that may occur in orientation of collagen fibres within different parts of the animal hide and randomly sampled from parchment artefacts the variance in the data was too large to support strong conclusions.

While random sampling is valuable in highlighting variation in a parchment, it means that tensile measurements are more difficult to compare. Moving forwards, a more useful sampling method would have taken all the samples from the same region of the same parchment; this would have reduced the amount of variation between samples and improved the repeatability of the findings. There are two common elements of the studies discussed. Firstly, the data shows that there is substantial disparity between samples, thus indicating that consideration needs to be given to the variability of parchments within collections before appropriate storage conditions can be recommended.

Secondly, they show that the largest disparity is between new parchments and historic parchments, and in this respect, they provide evidence that the respective quantities of collagen and gelatine in a parchment will be the deciding factor for the most appropriate storage RH.

The Race for the Next Dead Sea Scrolls, and Why We May Lose It

The studies considered in this review show there is to date no conclusive scientific evidence to suggest a range of RH that is ideal for parchment storage, and an appropriate RH range cannot be made with certainty. What change in water content is required to induce a significant internal stress that affects the structural integrity of the collagen, and gelatine phases and the interface between them? Is water distribution even throughout the collagen, gelatine and interface phases, or does water have greater affinity toward one phase? Do fluctuations in water content affect the structural integrity of the collagen, interface, and gelatine phases, and if so, are rapid fluctuations of water content more harmful than slower fluctuations?

Further studies analysing the effects of RH on parchment artefacts need to take account of the complexity of the interface between collagen and gelatine. Understanding how each structural phase of a parchment object is affected by changes in RH, and how they interact with one another is crucial for determining appropriate environmental conditions for parchment storage. It is also necessary to consider if there is a particular facet of the parchment that, in terms of preservation, is more important. For example, because ink is applied to the surfaces of parchments, and penetrates inwards; a majority of the ink will more likely be contained in the surface gelatine phase of the parchment.

Since the collagen phase will be able to resist water changes at low temperatures [ 21 , 41 ], should we consider the interface and gelatine phases to be structurally more important, and focus research to determine which RH conditions best preserve these structural phases? Furthermore, it is important to consider which samples are most appropriate to model changes in water content. For instance, [ 36 ] found that artificially aged parchments were not comparable to historic parchments.

They report no correlation with regard to the amount of water taken up by the historical and artificially aged samples. This indicates that the mechanism of degradation of collagen is an important factor that needs to be considered when designing future studies, and artificially aged parchments may not always provide an adequate model for the behaviour of historical parchments at different RH. The most useful information obtained from the studies reviewed is that appropriate environmental RH conditions for the preservation of parchment artefacts are different for new and historical parchments.

This is most likely due to differences in the thickness and relative proportions of collagen to gelatine in a parchment artefact. It is has been assumed in the studies evaluated in this review, that the proportion of collagen to gelatine is always greater in new parchment than in historical parchment.

Although it is reasonable to assume that historical parchment will contain considerable proportions of gelatine, it is also possible that due to the manufacturing procedure, new parchment will also contain large quantities of gelatine, and this needs to be accounted for when selecting samples. The research evaluated has shown that the understanding of the effects of changes in RH on parchment structure is still limited. There remains a lack of clarity as to the most suitable parameters to measure when determining how parchment artefacts are affected by a change in RH and subsequently water content.

Furthermore, there is no single analytical technique that will provide all the answers and complementary analysis and interpretation from several techniques will be required. These results provide an appropriate starting point for future studies. This review has brought together experimental findings from several publications on the effects of RH on parchment. One of the most central features of the studies is the fact several different aspects of the parchment have been assessed and found to be affected by changes in RH.

For example, Weiner et al. This is important when considering appropriate storage conditions because it highlights that there are different facets within parchment that change with RH changes. Moreover, knowing and understanding these changes allows collection managers to make more informed choices when considering RH within their collections.

On a more practical level this review discusses the interaction of water with parchment and this is useful in the context of parchment conservation. However, with regard to conservation treatments it does bring forward the debate as to whether humidification above a certain level — which would allow perturbed collagen to unfold into gelatine - is appropriate to remove unwanted creases and folds. Likewise, exposing parchment to low RH causes a loss of elasticity and it might be useful to prevent the RH in reading rooms dropping below a certain value.

The authors would like to thank Nancy Bell of The National Archives for her valuable contribution to this work, and the Science and Heritage Programme for financial support. This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. Skip to main content Skip to sections. Advertisement Hide. Download PDF. Heritage Science December , Cite as. The effects of hydration on the collagen and gelatine phases within parchment artefacts. Open Access. First Online: 24 April Introduction Parchment artefacts are composed of collagen, its degraded form gelatine, varying minerals, lipids, and for documents inks and paints.

It is generally observed that in protein structures such as collagen, the absorption of water increases as a sigmoidal function of the RH [ 22 ] this typically indicates saturation phenomena and indicates that different levels of water-collagen interactions may occur.

Invisible Letters Discovered on Dead Sea Scroll Fragments

Moreover, in the gelatine structure, the characteristic sigmoidal change in water observed with increasing RH is no longer found. Table 1 The percentage water content in collagen and gelatine at varying RH. The preceding section describing parchment and its structural components collagen and gelatine has shown that the structural behaviour of parchment artefacts with changing water content will vary depending on the relative proportions of collagen and gelatine in the parchment object.

This has implications for setting environmental standards for the preservation of parchment artefacts because it means that not all parchment artefacts will react in a similar way, at the same RH. Compared to the new parchment, the observation was that historical parchment samples absorb less water over the RH range investigated, and medieval parchment samples absorbed more water. However, it remains unclear from either of these studies how much water was held in each of the collagen or gelatine phases of the parchment, this was due to the limitations of the analytical technique used. Table 2 Percentage water content in parchment at varying RH.

In the study by Weiner et al. Although it may be appropriate to model the hydration changes of collagen in parchment with those of tendon; given that they are both made of predominantly Type I collagen fibrils, it is not optimal to do so for a whole parchment artefact. Table 3 Summary of the RH range recommended in the literature.

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To understand how RH affects historic parchment artefacts and determine which RH range is most appropriate for parchment storage we need to consider the following questions: 1. If parchment is stored at a fixed RH, does it reach equilibrium? Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank Nancy Bell of The National Archives for her valuable contribution to this work, and the Science and Heritage Programme for financial support.

Appl Spectrosc.