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The study of the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) in the twenty-first century stands on the shoulders of giants. Scholars in the first and second generations (roughly 1950–2000), with enormous diligence and more than a touch of brilliance, have made it possible for present-day scholars to pursue the study of the scrolls in advanced ways. This was facilitated by the full availability of the DSS corpus in various editions, by studying scroll fragments and producing new critical editions. This task reached what seemed like a closure in 2010 with the completion of the series Discoveries in the Judaean Desert and the ensuing celebrations. Nowadays, many scholars of the scrolls pay little attention to the actual fragments, relying instead on the masterful editions available in DJD or other editions that have been achieved since then. Yet, the deeper we delve into studying the editions, the more it becomes clear that work remains and that the original fragments cannot be left behind.

The importance of the fragments and scrolls as artifacts rather than mere “texts” was underscored in recent decades, with the strengthening of New Philology or material philology,1 and with the creation of a new theoretical field of digital scholarly editions.2 A discipline of “manuscript studies” has now been established and keeps drawing scholarly attention.3 Such trends are not new to the field of DSS study but are constantly changing, and should be kept in mind in current and future work.4 DSS scholars have been applying many material or “new” aspects into their work routine, but a full-length book depicting the entire protocol is still lacking. The present book is an attempt to help fill this lacuna.

Beyond the theoretical frameworks of material philology and digital scholarly editions, recent years have also seen innovations in the resources and the tools available for scholars.5 A central impetus for renewed editions of the DSS is supplied by the superb new images produced in the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library (LLDSSDL) (, operated by the Israel Antiquities Authority. This project, launched in 2011, has transformed the study of the scrolls, offering scholars an improved high-resolution view of new and advanced images, with useful bibliographic links. The launch of this project initiated a wave of material studies of the scrolls and brought forth numerous improved editions. The LLDSSDL joined forces with the lexical venture of the Qumran Wörterbuch (QWB), operated by the Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, which has assembled a massive amount of lexical and morphological information on the scrolls, analyzed and maintained by means of a robust and flexible database. These two datasets, together with associates, created the project Scripta Qumranica Electronica (SQE). The first aim of the project is to provide full access to the scrolls, both the images and the text.6 This will be achieved by means of a virtual working environment, whereby users will have access to the information and tools that will enable them to produce canvasses of scrolls and link them to the text of these scrolls. The methodological path depicted in this book is the path of SQE, which will be made available to users on the project’s website. Many of the methods described in the present volume were developed within the framework of SQE.

Our work on the treatise known as Instruction (or 4QInstruction, or Musar Le-Mevin, or otherwise) is one of the model editions created in the framework of SQE. Since one of our goals in this project is to address texts that present a variety of challenges, we chose Instruction because of its numerous codicological and textual problems. In terms of codicology, this is one of the most difficult compositions from Qumran; we will touch on the intellectual content only briefly in this book. We acknowledge that material aspects of Instruction have been studied by some of the most competent readers of scrolls: beginning with the edition by John Strugnell and Daniel Harrington, based on the first material reconstruction by Annette Steudel and Birgit Lucassen, through the achievements of Torleif Elgvin and Eibert Tigchelaar, and until the improved composite edition by Elisha Qimron. We nevertheless hope to break new ground, both for Instruction and for the scrolls in general. We dare say that almost every previously studied scroll may yield improved results if treated with new material and digital methods such as we are proposing in this book.

In the framework of SQE, James Tucker carried out work on the copies of Serekh Hayaḥad. This dissertation presents digital and material restorations of various scrolls using similar methods to those employed in the present book but at the same time differ from them by presenting a more strictly automated approach.7 This dissertation has reached us only after the completion of the present book.

Although using many kinds of software, the work presented in this book is not yet automated; it was carried out manually, requiring numerous hours of labor. In the plans of the project SQE, much of this work – such as locating images in the log or calculating the width of reconstructed columns – will be carried out by means of automated algorithms, rendering it truly “digital.”8 The current SQE platform ( offers the ability to perform some of the required functions using built-in applications, thus absolving the need to rely on commercial software or on complicated software that offers many unnecessary features for the scholar of the DSS.

With technology advancing at the blink of an eye, writing a book about technology is quite tricky. Today’s avant-garde will quickly become a mere antiquarian piece in hindsight. The pioneering book of Armin Lange from 1993 is instructive in this regard.9 In that book, Lange gave detailed instructions, step by step, on how to apply filters to images or to copy and paste the shapes of letters, using programs that are no longer in use today. Giving detailed instructions for working with, say, GIMP or Adobe InDesign, will make this book outdated within a decade or less. We thus convey the principles and methodology for carrying out the work without committing to any one specific software.

The present book offers general guidelines as well as methodological reflections on various aspects of the protocol explored herein, and will thus be useful for scholars as a means of controlling the work and monitoring its results. The book consists of two parts. The first part presents a protocol for studying and reconstructing highly fragmentary scrolls while emphasizing methodological issues derived from it. The second part applies the procedure to the rather meager fragments of 4Q418a (4QInstructione).10 This scroll is a worthy example for the suggested method, and indeed we suggest significant improvements to its reconstruction. In research carried out outside this book, we have applied the same method to other copies of Instruction, striving to reach a complete edition of this composition and its multiple copies. Work on other copies will be fully addressed in other publications, as well as in the comprehensive framework of SQE.11

Many of the elements of what is called here “a method” or “a procedure” are in fact common-sense practices that have been employed by previous competent editors of the scrolls. Digital or not, it is crucial to collect all images of a given fragment and examine them closely, as well as to make reliable estimates of column widths, etc. Scholars have been assembling scrolls and producing editions for many years, and many of them paid attention to the methodological aspects of their work, fleshing out the problems and the rules-of-thumb guiding them. Of special importance in this regard are the series of studies by Hartmut Stegemann on material reconstruction.12 Significant elucidation of the procedure in other aspects, not necessarily material reconstruction, appears in recent studies by Annette Steudel, Eibert Tigchelaar, Émile Puech, Torleif Elgvin, and Daniel Stökl Ben Ezra.13 The present book, however, seeks to present a systematized and detailed view of the protocol. Its aim and culmination are in the production of a digital canvas of the scroll under discussion, while also addressing the main methodological problems that are involved in the procedure.

The use of computerized tools in order to reconstruct scrolls is not new: scholars have been using such tools for a long time now. After a pioneering study by Armin Lange in 1993, many scholars adopted various computerized tools, including the lexical database of QWB.14 Not many of these scholars, however, reflected on the use of these tools in a systematic manner. A notable contribution in this respect was achieved by Bruce Zuckerman, who produced an unprecedented comprehensive discussion of many of these tools in several articles since 2004.15

What we consider new in our method is, first, the commitment to developing and documenting a comprehensive procedure that encompasses all elements of the reading and reconstruction. This procedure, we hope, will be accessible for lay scholars and may thus transform the field. While constructing it, we dealt with a series of methodological issues that required justification using experimental methods, as is done in the sciences. For example, one will find below a straightforward calculation of the margin of error incurred while operating the suggested protocol; the report of a scientific experiment about the validity of using custom-made fonts for reconstructing missing columns; an assessment of the validity of the Stegemann method for establishing the length of scrolls, and many more.

The main goal of the suggested method is to produce a digital canvas that contains the best images of fragments (after being read with the best technology), that is designed in accurately measured columns and margins, and is accompanied by text (drawn from parallels and set in custom font) around the fragments in a reliable way. Editions could be improved if all scholars provided a digital canvas for their scrolls. The suggested protocol concentrates on several aspects of the procedure: collecting and managing metadata on the scrolls (chapter 1); reliably enhancing the images and improving the readings (chapters 3–8); assembling scrolls on a canvas using graphic software (chapters 9–12); reconstructing lacunae and entire columns using verified methods (chapters 8, 9); and verifying and enhancing the techniques for material reconstruction (chapters 11, 12, 13). The innovations of the present book pertain particularly to the construction of the canvas and improving the method of material reconstruction accordingly. Other elements discussed here can be found in earlier studies and are included in order to provide a comprehensive and systematized protocol for working on fragmentary scrolls. We survey them here as follows:

Collecting metadata. This theme includes identifying all previous images for a given fragment and tracing the history of its discovery and preservation. The basic information for this procedure was initially collected in groundbreaking projects in the 1990s.16 A later study exemplifying the right procedure for a concrete scroll was produced by Eibert Tigchelaar in 2010.17 Various other resources of metadata have since then become available.18 In this book we call the scholars’ attention to the need of managing this vast metadata using standard means such as spreadsheets or other data-managing programs. In addition, we pay special attention to scrolls preserved in wads, both those in which the wads are recognized and those where wads may be suspected but not hitherto recognized.

Images and readings. The new multispectral images by the LLDLDSS set a new standard for imaging technology, alongside the high-resolution images of the Digital Dead Sea Scrolls project of the Shrine of the Book (, and the RTI techniques employed by the West Semitic Research project at the University of Southern California ( New technologies for image manipulation were employed in the recent volumes on the fragments from the Schøyen collection and from the Museum of the Bible.20 Yet the images of the PAM and IAA collections require additional preparation in order to be used in the reconstruction, like scaling them and separating them from the background. This book offers practical ways for scaling the fragments, removing the background, and digitally repairing them as preprocessing for the digital canvas. In addition, we draw the guidelines for using digital filters for improved viewing of the images.

Reconstructing lacunae and columns. We discuss various ways to fill lacunae by means of reconstructed words. A first method to do so is “letter cloning.”21 While this method is recommended for filling short lacunae, a more robust but less time-consuming method is required for reconstructing large stretches of text, even entire columns. A meticulous study was published in 1997 by Edward Herbert, suggesting “a battery of tools” for reconstructing biblical DSS.22 Herbert’s book discusses every detail of the edition work, from counting letters in a line, to assessing and comparing column widths, and to policies of using margins and vacats, while making ample use of statistics. This book is a commendable move forward inasmuch as it raises awareness to the numerous technical issues not sufficiently addressed in previous studies and to the factor of potential error, created by the gap between the expected reconstruction and reality. We have found, however, that Herbert’s methodology is too complicated to be applied by lay scholars and is thus limited as a model for future reconstructions.23 We propose using custom-made computer fonts. Based on an experiment reported in this book, we demonstrate that this method is cost effective, as it retains minimal error, while its time consumption is reasonable. Some automation of this process is within grasp, as described by Bronson Brown-deVost in Appendix 2.

Assembling scrolls on a digital canvas to enhance the material reconstruction. This aspect is in many ways the essence of the work presented in this book. When all fragments are placed on a canvas, with columns and margins accurately drawn around them and the text (when known) completed within the columns using a custom-made font, the reconstruction work can be truly achieved. Such work has been carried out by those scholars who implemented the Stegemann method for material reconstruction by means of scissoring out images of fragments and pasting them on semi-transparent paper, yet we offer ways to computerize the procedure. We present a prefiguration of this method here, using marketplace graphic software. The canvas can then be extrapolated to include entire columns otherwise unattested. Of special interest in this regard is the calculation of the potential margin of error, supplied below for the method of material reconstruction based on recurring damage patterns, as well as for the digital canvas in general.

Several aspects of advanced technological studies of the scrolls will not be addressed here despite recent advances in them. We shall not address any studies of material science, DNA, chemistry, and physics of the scrolls. Nor shall we discuss the technologies of advanced photography and imaging.24 This book is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion of scribal practices in the scrolls, although some innovations in that respect will be encountered. The book will focus almost entirely on leather scrolls, with papyri requiring a slightly modified methodology. Finally, the book will not involve advanced theory of textual editions, in particular digital scholarly editions. While the above noted aspects carry important implications for our field, they are not pertinent to the subject matter of the present volume.

1 The Stegemann Method Reconsidered

The present study carries out material reconstruction using the Stegemann Method. This method was not invented by Stegemann, since much of it is merely common-sense deduction from the available material data in a way known to papyrologists before Stegemann and independently of him.25 However, Stegemann was the one who standardized it and presented an expedient procedure to scholars of the DSS. He also produced his own reconstructions of exemplary scrolls, notably the Hodayot scroll from Cave 1.26 Stegemann instructed his students in this method, and many still make the pilgrimage to Göttingen to benefit from the instruction of Annette Steudel in it.27 After Stegemann’s first programmatic article in 1990,28 he and Steudel published several useful articles, introducing some updates to the method.29 We reproduce here the main steps (“practical techniques”) of the Stegemann method, as presented in his 1990 ground-breaking article.30

  1. Gather all parts of the scroll that clearly come from the top or bottom of a column.

  2. Gather all parts of the scroll that clearly show traces of the right or left margin of a column, the transition from one column to the next, or sewing seams.

  3. Take note of all uninscribed drylines or even vacat-lines and every indication of transitional devices within the text.

  4. Look for notes in the edition indicating whether a fragment was found on top of or beneath some other part of the scroll: if the scroll was rolled with the beginning of its text in the outer layers, a fragment on top of another belongs to the next layer to the left of it; if the beginning of the text was in the innermost layers, a fragment on top of another belongs to the next layer to the right of it. Correspondingly, reference to a fragment beneath some other parts of the scroll sheds light on its former position.

  5. Check the shapes of all parts and fragments of the scroll against one another, looking especially for corresponding points or shapes of damage. The closer the correspondences, the nearer these pieces may have been to one another in the scroll.

  6. Establish the average width of the columns. If there is no preserved evidence of column width, one may try to ascertain the limits within which a column of this scroll must have been written.

  7. Establish the number of lines in each regular column. If there is no preserved evidence of this kind, i.e., no part of the scroll preserving the lines of a column from top to bottom, one may calculate the minimum and maximum lines possible.

  8. Confirm the way the scroll was rolled when deposited in the cave. This is established by observing whether the distances between corresponding points of damage increase or decrease as one moves from right to left or vice versa.

  9. Check the general appearance of all remains of the scroll, whether there are groups of pieces more similar to one another than to others. They may have been close to one another in the former scroll.

  10. Check the distances between lines, the height of letters, the flow of ink, and the traces of the pen. They may have been somewhat different in various parts of the scroll.

  11. Arrange all parts and fragments of the scroll according to their forms, starting with the larger pieces and with piles of fragments that have similar shapes.

  12. Prepare a schematic drawing of the scroll with its sheets, columns, lines in each column, etc. according to the average and within the limits required by positive evidence from the remains.

The method was successfully applied by Steudel to 4Q177 + 4Q174, and more or less contemporaneously by Elgvin to 4Q422.31 In later years it was successfully applied to various other scrolls.32 Other scholars, however, abstained from the full application of this method in their reconstructions, due to what they perceive as the subjectivity of the method.33 For our present purposes, Elgvin has applied the method in his reconstruction of the copies of Instruction, while Tigchelaar refrained from using it in his comprehensive volume on the same scrolls.34 Annette Steudel and Brigit Lucassen presented a preliminary material reconstruction of the copies of Instruction, which was also sporadically mentioned in DJD XXXIV, but this attempt was not continued, and cannot thus be taken as a valid position about the configuration of these copies.

The pros and cons for using the Stegemann method are well-known to all sides of the debate. In fact, Stegemann himself acknowledged that the method relies on some measure of subjective factors and estimated its margin of error to be around 25%.35 For some scrolls the method is indeed inapplicable, with the fragments better left as they are. As indicated by Steudel in numerous presentations, much of the method’s reliability is derived from the control offered by trial and error; the result of the reconstruction procedure is not a certain reinstallation of the state of affairs, but rather a possibility that does not run counter to any other known datum about the scroll and its contents. The more checks and balances one offers in order to cross-check the material reconstruction, the more reliable the method becomes. As we learned when working on the copies of Instruction, there are several different constellations of scrolls, some of them boosting the advantages of the method while diminishing its drawbacks. For example, when working with a scroll preserved in wads like 4Q418a, applying the method is required, even compulsory, as the layers of each wad for a fact stood one above the other in sequential layers, diminishing the subjective factor to a minimum. In addition, if a scroll (like 4Q418a) also displays parallel text to that of other copies, the number of checks and balances for verifying the material reconstruction grows, rendering it more reliable.

In chapters 11–12 below we dwell on various elements of the Stegemann method. Qualifications of the method arise not so much from the problem of subjectivity, but rather from the new computerized tools available today, which often make it more accurate and reliable. In particular, what we add to the Stegemann method is concentrated in the following points:

  1. Improving the materials for performing the reconstruction. With the new multispectral images and the new methods available for digitally restoring fragments, the objects placed on the canvas are now improved vis-à-vis earlier reconstructions. In addition, corresponding damage patterns can now be traced and compared more easily using graphic software. In that respect, we also pay more systematic attention to pre-processing the images before placing them on the canvas.

  2. Improved ability for using parallel texts in the material reconstruction (in compositions whose text is relatively stable) as ancillary information to the method. The text is designed in special fonts prepared for every scroll, and cast in the layout of the given scroll. Once this task is done reliably – and we focus heavily in subsequent chapters on the methods for doing so – one may gain not only additional information for enhancing the material reconstruction, but also another control over it, verifying the reconstruction by means of trial and error.

  3. Calculating the margin of error of the method. Like any other scientific-material procedure, the method incurs a margin of error, which increases the more complicated the reconstruction becomes. For example, while the margin of error is comparatively small for every turn individually, the turns add up as one goes further away from the first reconstructed circumference. The figures, especially when accumulating across multiple actions, become rather significant, and should raise serious reflections about the way of using the method in order to minimize potential error. In Appendix 3 we produce a calculation of the potential margin of error for this method.

At the bottom line, Stegemann’s requirement to prepare a schematic drawing of the scroll is now achieved by means of a digital canvas. Our methodological chapters delineate the components of this canvas, both material and textual.

To sum up, in our work we embrace the Stegemann method for reconstructing fragmentary scrolls, while acknowledging its potential pitfalls and enhancing it in various means. We thus increase its computational value on the one hand, while adding checks and balances on the other hand. We offer a mathematical formulation of the potential margin of error resulting from this method, suggesting that in some cases the method would be too crude to rely on. We suggest ways for achieving better subject-matter for the reconstruction and enhance the assembly procedure by allowing a larger role for text in the reconstruction in various ways. The digital canvas is a means for a more accurate and advanced material reconstruction.

This book contains two parts. Part 1 conveys the protocol for reconstructing fragmentary scrolls: from the stage of collecting images and data, through the handling of images and reading the fragments, with the graphic and digital moves required for this purpose. Part 1 also presents the procedure for creating a digital canvas, from the level of the single fragment, the column, the sequence of damage patterns, through to the production of a complete canvas. A concluding chapter demonstrates the way to extrapolate from the canvas of one scroll on the reconstruction of other scrolls, in the case of a composition with multiple copies. Appendices to this part of the book discuss the margins of error that are expected to result from various stages of the protocol. These appendices employ mathematical formulations that may be challenging for many scholars of the humanities; it is recommended that scholars consult colleagues with the sufficient qualifications for estimating the margin of error in their work.

Part 2 of the book applies the protocol to one particular scroll. It opens with an introduction to the material study of Instruction and proceeds to a re-edition of the fragments of 4Q418a, and finally to a full material and digital reconstruction of this scroll in the form of a digital canvas. A final chapter then traces the way for a full reconstruction of Instruction based on the distinct copies.


The forerunners of this scholarly trend appeared in the late 1980s and early 1990s in the field of Medieval studies, central landmarks being: Bernard Cerquiglini, In Praise of the Variant: A Critical History of Philology, trans. Betsy Wing (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999); Stephen G. Nichols, “The New Philology: Introduction: Philology in a Manuscript Culture,” Speculum 65 (1990): 1–10. See a convenient recent survey by Matthew Driscoll, “The Words on the Page: Thoughts on Philology, Old and New,” in Creating the Medieval Saga: Versions, Variability and Editorial Interpretations of Old Norse Saga Literature, ed. Judy Quinn and Emily Lethbridge (Odense: Syddansk Universitetsforlag, 2010), 85–102 (also available at


Patrick Sahle, Digitale Editionsformen: Zum Umgang mit der Überlieferung unter den Bedingungen des Mediawandels, 3 vols. (Norderstedt: BOD, 2013); Matthew J. Driscoll and Elena Pierazzo, Digital Scholarly Editing. Theories and Practices (Cambridge, UK: Open Book Publishers, 2016); Elena Pierazzo, Digital Scholarly Editing: Theories, Models and Methods (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2015); Roman Bleier et al., ed., Digital Scholarly Editions as Interfaces, Institut für Dokumentologie und Editorik 12 (Norderstedt: BOD, 2018). Articles available at; Tara L. Andrews, “The Third Way: Philology and Critical Edition in the Digital Age,” Variants: The Journal of the European Society for Textual Scholarship 10 (2013): 61–76.


Alessandro Bausi (general editor), Comparative Oriental Manuscript Studies (Hamburg: Tredition, 2015). E-book available at; Liv Ingeborg Lied and Hugo Lundhaug, eds., Snapshots of Evolving Traditions. Jewish and Christian Manuscript Culture, Textual Fluidity, and New Philology, TUGAL 175 (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2017); Bradford A. Anderson, ed., From Scrolls to Scrolling: Sacred Texts, Materiality, and Dynamic Media Cultures (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2020); Anna Krauss, Jonas Leipziger, and Friedrike Schücking-Jungblut, eds., Material Aspects of Reading in Ancient and Medieval Cultures, Materiale Textkulturen 26 (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2020).


Mika Pajunen, “Perspectives on the Existence of a Particular Authoritative Book of Psalms in the Late Second Temple Period,” JSOT 39 (2014): 139–63; Eibert Tigchelaar, “The Qumran Jubilees Manuscripts as Evidence for the Literary Growth of the Book,” RevQ 26 (2014): 579–94; Matthew P. Monger, “4Q216 and the State of Jubilees at Qumran,” RevQ 26 (2014): 595–612; Matthew P. Monger, “The Development of ‘Jubilees’ 1 in the Late Second Temple Period,” JSP 27 (2017): 83–112; Matthew P. Monger, “4Q216: Rethinking Jubilees in the First Century BCE” (Ph.D. diss., MF Norwegian School of Theology, 2018),; Eva Mroczek, “Thinking Digitally about the Dead Sea Scrolls: Book History Before and Beyond the Book,” Book History 14 (2011): 241–69.


This introduction addresses a series of methodological issues, all of which stand in conversation with scores of previous scholarly studies. Since these issues will be addressed in detail in the following chapters, we limit the bibliographical references here to a minimum, focusing on items from the past decade.


For descriptions of the project see Bronson Brown-deVost, “Scripta Qumranica Electronica (2016–2021),” HEBAI 5 (2016): 307–15; Eshbal Ratzon and Asaf Gayer, “Scripta Qumranica Electronica – Electronic Resources,” in The Textual History of the Bible. Vol. 3: Dictionary of Textual Criticism, ed. Sidnie W. Crawford et al. (Leiden: Brill, forthcoming).


James M. Tucker, “From Ink Traces to Ideology: Material, Text and Composition of Qumran Community Rule Manuscripts,” (Phd diss., University of Toronto, 2021).


See for example Taivanbat Badamdorj, Adiel Ben-Shalom, and Nachum Dershowitz, “Matching and Searching the Dead Sea Scrolls,” in Proceedings of the 2018 IEEE International Conference on the Science of Electrical Engineering in Israel (ICSEE), (Piscataway, NJ: 2018), 1–5; Gil Sadeh et al., “Viral Transcript Alignment,” in Proceedings of the 2015 13th International Conference on Document Analysis and Recognition (ICDAR) (IEEE Computer Society, USA, 2015), 711–15, doi: 10.1109/ICDAR.2015.7333854. The following tool seems to be a promising platform for continuing this research: Benjamin Kiessling et al., “eScriptorium: An Open Source Platform for Historical Document Analysis,” in 2019 International Conference on Document Analysis and Recognition Workshops (ICDARW) (Sydney, Australia, 2019), 19, doi:; Maruf A. Dhali, Sheng He, Mladen Popović, Eibert Tigchelaar, and Lambert Schomaker, “A Digital Palaeographic Approach towards Writer Identification in the Dead Sea Scrolls,” in Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Pattern Recognition Applications and Methods (Porto: Scitepress, 2017), 693–702; Maruf A. Dhali, Jan W. de Wit, and Lambert Schomaker, “BiNet: Degraded-Manuscript Binarization in Diverse Document Textures and Layouts using Deep Encoder-Decoder Networks,”


Armin Lange, Computer-Aided Text-Reconstruction and Transcription: CATT Manual (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1993); Armin Lange, “Computer Aided Text-Reconstruction and Transcription (CATT) Developed with the Dead Sea Scrolls,” in New Qumran Texts and Studies, ed. George J. Brooke and Florentino García Martínez, STDJ 15 (Leiden: Brill, 1994), 223–32.


The words “protocol” and “procedure” are used here interchangeably.


See for example Eshbal Ratzon, “New Data for the Reconstruction of 4Q418a,” [Hebrew] Meghillot 14 (2019): 25–38; Asaf Gayer, “A New Reconstruction of the ‘Wisdom of the Hands’ Unit in 4QInstructiond (4Q418),” JSP 30 (2020): 60–73; Gayer, “New Readings and Joins in the Wisdom Composition Instruction,” [Hebrew] Meghillot 15 (2021): 21–44; Hila Dayfani, “Material Reconstruction, New Joins and Readings in 4Q415,” RevQ 33 (2021): 161–202.


The foundational presentation of this method is Hartmut Stegemann, “Methods for the Reconstruction of Scrolls from Scattered Fragments,” in Archaeology and History in the Dead Sea Scrolls: The New York University Conference in Memory of Yigael Yadin, ed. Lawrence H. Schiffman, JSPSup 8 (Sheffield: JSOT, 1990), 189–221.


Eibert Tigchelaar, “Constructing, Deconstructing and Reconstructing Fragmentary Manuscripts, Illustrated by a Study of 4Q184 (4QWiles of the Wicked Woman),” in Rediscovering the Dead Sea Scrolls: An Assessment of Old and New Methods, ed. Maxine L. Grossman (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2010), 26–47; Émile Puech, “Édition et reconstruction des manuscrits,” Henoch 39 (2017): 105–25; Torleif Elgvin, “How to Reconstruct a Fragmented Scroll: The Puzzle of 4Q422,” in Northern Light on the Dead Sea Scrolls, ed. Anders Klostergaard Petersen et al., STDJ 80 (Leiden: Brill, 2009), 223–36; Daniel Stökl Ben Ezra, Qumran: Die Texte vom Toten Meer und das antike Judentum, Jüdische Studien 8 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2016). The studies by Tigchelaar and Elgvin give a detailed account of the work on one particular scroll, while Stökl’s is a handbook giving a short and updated account of all aspects of DSS research, with special attention given to the reading and reconstruction.


Lange, Computer-Aided Text-Reconstruction; David Hamidović, “In Quest of the Lost Text: From Electronic Edition to Digital Edition of the Dead Sea Scrolls,” in Lire demain: Des manuscrits antiques à l’ère digitale, ed. Claire Clivaz et al. (Lausanne: Presses Polytechniques et Universitaires Romandes, 2012), 153–66; Michael Langlois, “Les manuscrits araméens d’Hénoch: Nouvelle documentation et nouvelle approche,” in Qoumrân et le Judaïsme du tournant de notre ère: Actes de la table ronde, Collège de France, 16 Novembre 2004, ed. André Lemaire and Simon C. Mimouni (Paris-Louvain: Peeters, 2006), 111–21; Tamar Lavee, “Computer Analysis of the Dead Sea Scrolls Manuscripts” (MA thesis, Tel-Aviv University, 2013); Torleif Elgvin, Kipp Davis, and Michael Langlois, eds., Gleanings from the Caves: Dead Sea Scrolls and Artefacts from the Schøyen Collection, LSTS 71 (London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2016), passim; Emanuel Tov, Kipp Davis, and Robert Duke, eds., Dead Sea Scroll Fragments in the Museum Collection (Leiden: Brill, 2016); Daniel Stökl Ben Ezra, “Interdisciplinary Perspectives from Material and Computer Sciences on the Dead Sea Scrolls and Beyond,” Manuscript Cultures 7 (2014): 92–103; Ingo Kottsieper, “Scientific Technologies,” in T&T Clark Companion to the Dead Sea Scrolls, ed., George J. Brooke and Charlotte Hempel (London: T&T Clark, 2019), 178–85; James Tucker and Peter Porzig, “Between Artefacts, Fragments, and Texts: An Analysis of 4Q266 Column i,” DSD 25 (2018): 335–58; Tucker, “From Ink Traces to Ideology.”


Bruce Zuckerman, “Every Dot and Tiddle: A Consideration of the Limitations of Computer Imaging for the Study of Dead Sea Scrolls,” in Double Takes: Thinking and Rethinking Issues of Modern Judaism in Ancient Contexts, ed. Zev Garber and Bruce Edward Zuckerman (Lanham: University Press of America, 2004), 183–96; Zuckerman, “The Dynamics of Change in the Computer Imaging of the Dead Sea Scrolls and other Ancient Inscriptions,” in Rediscovering the Dead Sea Scrolls: An Assessment of Old and New Approaches and Methods, ed. Maxine L. Grossman (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2010), 69–88. Online, updated, and interactive version:; Bruce Zuckerman, Asher Levy, and Marilyn Lundberg, “A Methodology for the Digital Reconstruction of Dead Sea Scrolls Fragmentary Remains,” in Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments in the Museum Collection, ed. Emanuel Tov, Kipp Davis, and Robert Duke (Leiden: Brill, 2016), 36–58.


Stephen A. Reed, The Dead Sea Scrolls Catalogue, SBL Resources for Biblical Study 32 (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1994); Emanuel Tov with the collaboration of Stephen J. Pfann, Companion Volume to The Dead Sea Scrolls Microfiche Edition, 2nd ed. (Leiden: Brill and IDC, 1995). Emanuel Tov, Scribal Practices and Approaches Reflected in the Texts Found in the Judean Desert, STDJ 54 (Leiden: Brill, 2004); Emanuel Tov, ed., The Texts from the Judaean Desert. Indices and Introduction to the Discoveries in the Judaean Desert Series, DJD XXXIX (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2002).


Tigchelaar, “Constructing, Deconstructing and Reconstructing.”


The project SQE spent numerous hours clearing out the log of fragments in the IAA records using both manual and automated procedures. In addition, the CS team at Tel-Aviv University has initially developed an algorithm for searching all available images of a given fragment through the enormous photographic log of the PAM and the IAA.


See Zuckerman et al., “Methodology for Digital Reconstruction,” 37–42.


Elgvin et al., Gleanings; Tov et al., Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments in the Museum Collection. Unfortunately, most if not all of these unprovenanced fragments were proven unauthentic due to the new technologies applied to them. See Kipp Davis et al., “Nine Dubious ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ Fragments from the Twenty-First Century,” DSD 24 (2017): 1–40; Torleif Elgvin and Michael Langlois, “Looking Back: (More) Dead Sea Scrolls Forgeries in the Schøyen Collection,” RevQ 31 (2019): 111–33.


For a definition and discussion of this method see Zuckerman et al., “A Methodology for the Digital Reconstruction,” 43–57. Earlier studies who used this method are quoted below, chapter 8.


Edward Herbert, Reconstructing Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Method Applied to the Reconstruction of 4QSama, STDJ 22 (Leiden: Brill, 1997).


See the well-balanced reviews by Emanuel Tov, review of Reconstructing Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Method Applied to the Reconstruction of 4QSama, by Edward Herbert, DSD 6 (1999): 215–20, and James VanderKam, review of Reconstructing Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Method Applied to the Reconstruction of 4QSama, by Edward Herbert, JBL 119.3 (2000): 558–60.


For both these issues see Kottsieper, “Scientific Technologies,” 178–85; earlier Jan Gunneweg, Annemie Adriens, and Joris Dik, eds., Holistic Qumran: Trans-Disciplinary Research of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls, STDJ 87 (Leiden: Brill, 2010). For the latter issue see Zuckerman, et al., “A Methodology for the Digital Reconstruction,” 37–42. For the technology used by the Leon Levy Library see Pnina Shor, et al., “The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library: The Digitization Project of the Dead Sea Scrolls,” Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies 2 (2014): 71–89.


This method is first mentioned by the great Egyptologist Ludwig Borchardt, “Bemerkungen zu den ägyptischen Handschriften des Berliner Museums,” ZÄS 27 (1889): 118–22. See also Richard Janko, “Philodemus Retartus: Progress in Reconstructing the Philosophical Papyri from Herculaneum,” Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy 7 (1991): 271–308; Janko, “Reconstructing (Again) the Opening of the Derveni Papyrus,” ZPE 166 (2008): 37–51; William A. Johnson, Bookrolls and Scribes in Oxyrhynchus (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004), 149–50; Holger Essler, “Rekonstruktion von Papyrusrollen auf mathematischer Grundlage,” Cronache Ercolanesi 38 (2008): 273–307.


This work was carried out in Stegemann’s dissertation (1963) but was completed and published much later: Hartmut Stegemann with Eileen Schuller, Qumran Cave 1 III. 1QHodayota with Incorporation of 1QHodayotb and 4QHodayota-f, DJD XL (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2009).


In our application of the method, we owe a debt of gratitude to the workshop Data, Vision, and Concepts organized by Bronson Brown-deVost and Peter Porzig in Göttingen, July 2016. The method was skillfully presented at that workshop by Annette Steudel and Peter Porzig. In this workshop we not only gained awareness of the method, but also learned some new developments and practiced them on exemplary scrolls. In that workshop we also benefitted from questions raised by Drew Longacre.


Stegemann, “Methods for the Reconstruction.”


Hartmut Stegemann, “Towards Physical Reconstructions of the Qumran Damascus Document Scrolls,” in The Damascus Document: A Centennial of Discovery, ed. Joseph M. Baumgarten, Esther G. Chazon, and Avital Pinnick (Leiden: Brill, 2000), 177–200; Annette Steudel, Der Midrasch zur Eschatologie aus der Qumrangemeinde (4QMidrEschata,b): Materielle Rekonstruktion, Textbestand, Gattung und traditionsgeschichtliche Einordnung des durch 4Q174 (“Florilegium”) and 4Q177 (“Catena A”) repräsentierten Werkes aus den Qumranfunden, STDJ 13 (Leiden: Brill, 1994); Steudel, “Assembling and Reconstructing Manuscripts,” in The Dead Sea Scrolls after Fifty Years: A Comprehensive Assessment, ed. Peter W. Flint and James C. VanderKam (Leiden: Brill, 1999), 1.516–34; Steudel, “Reading and Reconstructing Manuscripts,” in Brooke and Hempel, T&T Clark Companion, 186–91. The chain of Göttingen studies continues with: Reinhard Kratz, ed., Interpreting and Living God’s Law at Qumran. Miqṣat Maʿaśe Ha-Tora: Some of the Works of the Torah (4QMMT), SAPERE 33 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2020).


Stegemann, “Methods for the Reconstruction,” 205–06.


Steudel, Der Midrash zur Eschatologie; Torleif Elgvin, “The Genesis Section of 4Q422 (4QParaGenExod),” DSD 1 (1994): 180–96; and more comprehensively in Elgvin, “How to Reconstruct a Fragmented Scroll.”


Some recent examples are: Joseph L. Angel, “The Material Reconstruction of 4QSongs of the Sageb (4Q511),” RevQ 27 (2015): 25–82; Mika Pajunen, The Land to the Elect and Justice for All: Reading Psalms in the Dead Sea Scrolls in Light of 4Q381, JAJSup 14 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013); Eva Jain, Psalmen oder Psalter. Materielle Rekonstruktion und inhaltliche Untersuchung der Psalmenhandschriften aus der Wüste Juda, STDJ 109 (Leiden: Brill, 2014); Kipp Davis, The Cave 4 Apocryphon of Jeremiah and the Qumran Jeremianic Traditions: Prophetic Persona and the Construction of Community Identity, STDJ 111 (Leiden: Brill, 2004); Monger, “4Q216 and the State of Jubilees.”


Tigchelaar, “Constructing, Deconstructing, and Reconstructing,” 40.


Torleif Elgvin, “An Analysis of 4QInstruction,” (PhD Dissertation, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1997); Eibert Tigchelaar, To Increase Learning for the Understanding Ones: Reading and Reconstructing the Fragmentary Early Jewish Sapiential Text 4QInstruction, STDJ 44 (Leiden: Brill, 2002).


Stegemann, “Methods for the Reconstruction,” 199–200.

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