Suppression of Dead Sea Scrolls, anti-hacker mentality have more in common than you think

Control of information, more than any other issue, defines our ethics, societies and chance to improve


That's certainly the conclusion of other schools of Islam, who can quote verse and verbally flower with the best of them in arguing that any that keeps people away from the words in the Quran is sinful.

Either way, the lesson of the Dead Sea Scrolls – when they were written by outsiders denied entrance to the halls of power and during the 50 years since, when access to them was controlled by those who valued the power of telling other scholars "no" more than they valued the information they protected.

Don't Hack holy data, lest ye die

By now there are few surprises left in the Scrolls. Those there were managed to avoid popping any modern religions like a balloon. That could only be a risk if you believe the Dan Brown/ Da Vinci Code view of history as a stack of lies that will collapse if an earlier lie is revealed to be less truthy that it was supposed to be.

That doesn't keep anyone from an overexuberant sense of righteousness like the protesters who wanted a Swedish cartoonist killed for drawing Mohammed's face, keep Turkey from trying to ban YouTube from Turkey because of a single video considered to be insulting to the founder of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, or, you know, that whole putting-heretics-to-death thing both Catholic and Protestant Christians used to do. A lot.

Putting the Dead Sea Scrolls online isn't going to change anyone's beliefs any more than the rest of the convoluted history of how both Old and New Testaments were cobbled together over generations has shaken anyone's faith.

Most people don't have the language, historical or religious knowledge to read the scrolls, let alone contribute new interpretations to them. Lowering the bar to access makes it a lot more likely it will happen, though.

It will also give Google a little more credibility in the book-publishing industry – which still considers it a pirate for putting out-of-copyright books online, because publishers have learned nothing from what digital downloads have done to the physical-storage-medium-distribution business referred to as the Music Industry.

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