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Ten Commandments Goes Digital: 2,000-Year-Old Manuscript Now Online Through Cambridge Library

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TEN COMMANDMENTS DIGITAL CAMBRIDGENASH PAPYRUS
One of the oldest known copies of the Ten Commandments is now available online through the Cambridge Digital Library. | Cambridge University Library

One of the oldest known copies of the Ten Commandments, a Hebrew manuscript 2,000-years-old, is the latest historical text to become part of the Cambridge Digital Library's online treasure trove, Reuters reports.

Before the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947, the document also known as the "Nash Papyrus" was the oldest known manuscript containing pieces of the Hebrew Bible, according to LiveScience. The document gets its name from an Egyptologist named Walter Llewellyn Nash who bought the invaluable text in 1902.

This is the first time the Ten Commandments has been released digitally, according to The Telegraph. Cambridge University published the document through its digital library.

"Because of their age and delicacy these manuscripts are seldom able to be viewed — and when they are displayed, we can only show one or two pages," university librarian Anne Jarvis said in a statement, according to LiveScience. "Now, through the generosity of the Polonsky Foundation, anyone with a connection to the Internet can select a work of interest, turn to any page of the manuscript, and explore it in extraordinary detail."

In addition to the religious texts archived along with the Ten Commandments, the library has also added to its collection the 10th century Book of Deer, which is believed to be the oldest surviving Scottish manuscript with the earliest examples of Gaelic writing, Reuters reports.

Launched in December of last year, the Cambridge Digital Library says it has already attracted tens of millions of hits to its website. A £1.5 million (about $2.4 million) lead gift from the Polonsky Foundation in June 2010 made possible the sophisticated technical infrastructure underpinning the digital library, the Library said in a statement.

This gift was one of the earliest and largest that the Foundation has given as part of its International Digitisation Project, which aims to make the world’s intellectual treasures freely accessible to a global audience. The Polonsky Foundation has also funded the digitisation of much of the content included within this latest release.

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