DSS Software: Available Texts

This is the second post of a series in which I am reviewing the four major options for electronically accessing the Dead Sea Scrolls. The plan for this series is posted here

LogosBibleWorks, and Accordance all offer electronic Dead Sea Scrolls in the original languages and in translation. Brill also sells the Dead Sea Scrolls Electronic Library, vol 3. The DSS resources offered by these companies, however, are not all created equal—the coverage of the Scrolls in each platform varies, as well as the quality of the products.

In this post I will describe exactly which Dead Sea Scrolls are available on each platform. Along the way, I will also note instances where the product pages include typos or are unclear. At the end of the post I have included a table that summarizes which texts are available in each program.


BibleWorks does not have an electronic edition of the biblical DSS in the original languages. Here is what they do have:

Original Languages:

Qumran Sectarian Manuscripts (morphologically tagged)

Originally designed for Accordance, this module contains all the Hebrew/Aramaic non-biblical texts from Qumran. Non-biblical texts from other sites are not included. The description on the product page could, therefore, be a bit misleading:

The QSM contains all non-biblical manuscripts from what are commonly known as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Here, “Dead Sea Scrolls” is being used in the narrow sense, referring only to Qumran scrolls. Granted, the most important non-biblical texts are from Qumran, but the description could be more clear.

English Translations:

Dead Sea Scrolls English Translation Bundle: Biblical and Sectarian Texts

This bundle includes two modules: (1) a translation of the biblical DSS and (2) a translation of the Hebrew/Aramaic non-biblical texts from Qumran.

Both of these translations have been published in print, as well. The translation of the non-biblical texts is that of Wise, Abegg, and Cook (print edition). This is probably the most popular English translation of the non-biblical Qumran scrolls. The translation of the biblical DSS is Eugene Ulrich’s (et al.) The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible (print edition), the only available English translation of all the biblical DSS.


Logos offers three original languages DSS resources, including all the biblical DSS, and a few English translations.

Original Languages:

Qumran Sectarian Manuscripts (morphologically tagged)

Originally designed for Accordance, this module Includes all the Hebrew/Aramaic non-biblical texts from Qumran.

The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition (not tagged)

This is an electronic version of the second edition of The Dead Sea Scrolls: Study Edition (print version). It includes all the Hebrew/Aramaic non-biblical DSS from Qumran and an English translation. This product is not morphologically tagged, but one can set the transcriptions so that they scroll side by side with an updated edition of Florentíno García Martínez’s highly respected The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated.

Qumran Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls (morphologically tagged)

Despite the title, this database consists of fresh transcriptions by Stephen Pfann of all the biblical Dead Sea Scrolls, including Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek from, presumably, every site (i.e., Qumran and the other sites mentioned in this post). The implementation of this database is a bit unique and will be more fully discussed in the next post. This database also comes with a “Bible Reference Index,” a separate resource that lists which DSS are extant for each verse of the Bible. From the product page:

Fresh transcriptions of every biblical Dead Sea Scroll, including Greek fragments. The Logos transcriptions are substantially the same as those found in the DJD volumes, but are the result of a fresh, expert analysis that takes into account scholarly work done on the scrolls since the DJD volumes were published

As I see it, there are two issues with the description of this database on Logos’ product page:

  1. It would be helpful to know exactly which sites are included. Scrolling through the Bible Reference Index, I see that there links to DSS from at least Qumran, Naḥal Ḥever, Wadi Sdeir, and Wadi Murabaʿat.
  2. The product is mislabeled. It includes more than just the Qumran biblical DSS.

English Translations:

The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation

A popular translation of the Hebrew/Aramaic non-biblical DSS from Qumran by Wise, Abegg, and Cook (print edition), also available in BibleWorks, and Accordance.

The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition

This product is listed in the “Original Languages” section and the “Translations” section because it includes both. The translation is an updated edition of Florentíno García Martínez’s highly respected The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated.

The Dead Sea Scrolls in English

This is the 4th edition (1995) of Geza Vermes’ translation of the Hebrew/Aramaic non-biblical Qumran scrolls. First published in 1962, Vermes’ translation has become a classic. In fact, in subsequent editions it was incorporated into the Penguin Classics series. The most recent edition is the 7th, published in 2011.

The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

A translation of all the biblical DSS by Eugene Ulrich (et al.). The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible (also in print) is the only available English translation of all the biblical DSS.


Accordance offers all the Dead Sea Scrolls in the original languages, as well as English translations of all the biblical DSS and the non-biblical scrolls from Qumran. Accordance sells these resources individually and in various combinations. So I have included an extra “Combinations” here.

Original Languages:

Qumran Non-Biblical Manuscripts (morphologically tagged)

This module, available on each of the four platforms, was originally designed for Accordance and includes all the Hebrew/Aramaic non-Biblical texts from Qumran. Accessing this module in Accordance, one is sure to have the latest edition of these texts.

Dead Sea Scrolls Biblical Manuscripts (morphologically tagged)

All the biblical Hebrew/Aramaic Dead Sea Scrolls are included—from Qumran, Masada, Naḥal Ḥever, Murabbaʿat, etc. Two modules are included: one allows the user to display the biblical DSS in canonical order (DSSB-C), the other according to the manuscript numbers (DSSB-M).

You can read more about this product, including a glowing endorsement from Emanuel Tov, in The Dead Sea Scrolls Biblical Manuscript article.

Dead Sea Scrolls Greek Bible (morphologically tagged)

All the Greek biblical Dead Sea Scrolls are included. Like the Hebrew/Aramaic database, the DSS Greek Bible includes two modules: one that allows the user to display the text in canonical order (DSSGB-C), the other in manuscript order (DSSGB-M).

Judean Desert Corpus (morphologically tagged)

This module completes Accordance’s exhaustive DSS offerings, as it includes all the non-biblical, non-Qumran texts. Accordance’s Dead Sea Scrolls Resources page says that the texts can be displayed in canonical and manuscript order, but this is a typo by nature of the fact that the texts included are non-biblical.

Index of Dead Sea Scrolls Manuscripts

I could have listed this resource in a later post on secondary resources, but because Logos includes an index with their biblical DSS, I thought it only fair to include Accordance’s index here, too. From the product page:

An Index of Qumran and other DSS manuscripts, with description, paleography, dating, and bibliography, edited by Dr. Martin G. Abegg, Jr.

[UPDATE 9.16.14 to include the DSS Variant Database]

Biblical DSS Manuscript Variants

This module notes significant variants between MT and the biblical Dead Sea Scrolls. You can link it the module your biblical texts and have it follow you as you move throughout the Bible. There is nothing like this in another software. In this post, they explain:

The DSSB Variants Tool is not just intended to provide a list of variants, but a dynamic searchable database that is useful for scholarly research. This tool can be used in conjunction with biblical modules such as HMT-W4 and DSSB-C or any text that follows canonical order giving the user an immediate view of differences between the MT and the ‘biblical’ DSS. As a user scrolls through the biblical texts this tool will reveal true variations between these corpora for each verse in a separate pane or window.


Qumran Non-Biblical Manuscripts: A New Translation

This is Wise, Abegg, and Cook’s translation of all the Hebrew/Aramaic non-biblical Qumran scrolls, also available in BibleWorks and Logos.

The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible

The translation of all biblical DSS by Eugene Ulrich (et al.), also available in BibleWorks and Logos.


Dead Sea Scrolls Original Texts add-on with DSS Index

This package includes all the resources listed above in the “Original Languages” section, as well as the Index of Dead Sea Scrolls Manuscripts.

Dead Sea Scrolls English Translations add-on with DSS Index

This package includes all the resources listed above in the “Translations” section, as well as the Index of Dead Sea Scrolls Manuscripts.

Dead Sea Scrolls Non-Biblical add-on

This package is a combination of the non-biblical DSS resources in the original languages and in English translation.

Dead Sea Scrolls Biblical add-on

This package is a combination of the biblical DSS resources in the original languages and English translation.

Dead Sea Scrolls Complete add-on

This package includes all of Accordance’s DSS texts in the original languages and English translation, as well as a collection of monographs on the DSS that will be discussed in a future post on secondary resources.

Dead Sea Scrolls Electronic Library, vol. 3

Unlike the products listed above this is not an DSS add-on to a Bible software program. This is an integrated collection of electronic texts that runs within version 7 of WordCruncher software.

The first two volumes of this series are no longer sold by Brill. Volume 1 (1997) included images of all the biblical and non-biblical DSS available at the time. Volume 2 (1999) included all the Hebrew, Aramaic, Nabatean, and Greek texts from Qumran and a selection of texts from Wadi Murabbaʿat and Naḥal Ḥever. Volume 3 replaces and updates volume 2 with a couple additions and subtractions.

Volume 3 includes all the Hebrew/Aramaic non-biblical Qumran scrolls in the original languages with full morphological tagging and search capabilities, high-resolution images of all the texts included, as well as an inventory of Qumran texts that is a 2005 revision of Emanuel Tov’s original publication in DJD 39 (2002) 27–114. The transcriptions are, for the most part, from DJD. An English translation of each text is included from either DJD, Martínez, or Wise, Abegg, and Cook. In addition, a morphologically tagged Hebrew Bible is included, as well as a module that combines the Qumran non-biblical DSS with the Hebrew Bible for morphological searches across both corpuses.

According to both the editor of volume 3 and a WordCruncher representative, the biblical Qumran scrolls (texts and images) are being prepared now and will seamlessly integrate with the non-biblical scrolls. I got the impression from the WordCruncher representative that the biblical Qumran scrolls might be ready to go by November at SBL.


Note: On certain platforms the packages that include these texts come with additional resources that are not listed in this table—Logos’ biblical DSS includes an index of extant DSS for each verse of the Bible; some Accordance combinations include a very robust index of all the DSS with description, paleography, dating, and bibliography; the DSSEL includes high-res images, an index, and more.

In the next post, I will discuss how each platform allows users to display the texts, and I will comment on the quality with which each database has been implemented.

DSS Software: Necessary Background Information

This is the first post of a series in which I will review the Dead Sea Scrolls resources available in Logos, BibleWorks, Accordance, and in Brill’s Dead Sea Scrolls Electronic Library. I posted my plan for the series, but if you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to let me know in the comments. A little background information is necessary in order to understand the differences between the products offered by each company.


In the broad sense of the term, “Dead Sea Scrolls” is not synonymous with “Qumran Scrolls.”  Many of the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered at Qumran, but not all of them. In fact, fragments of scrolls were found in at least eighteen locations: Qumran, Wadi Daliyeh, Ketef Jericho, Khirbet Mird, Ain Feshka, Wadi Nar, Wadi Ghweir, Wadi Murabbaʿat, Wadi Sdeir, Naḥal Arugot, Ein-gedi, Naḥal Ḥever, Naḥal Ḥever/Seiyal, Naḥal Mishmar, Naḥal Ṣeʾelim, Masada, and Khirbet Qazone (Ken M. Penner, “Dead Sea Scrolls” in The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Books of the Bible, Oxford, 2011, pp. 173-192).

The number of scrolls found at the four main locations are as follows:

  • Qumran: about 1,050 scrolls
  • Wadi Murabbaʿat: 120 scrolls
  • Naḥal Ḥever: over 70 scrolls
  • Masada: 15 scrolls

(Peter W. Flint, The Dead Sea Scrolls, Abingdon Press, 2013, p. XX)


Most of the scrolls were written in Hebrew, about 130 in Aramaic, and 27 in Greek (Penner, 174).

Two Categories

Scrolls are typically categorized as biblical or “non-biblical.” Peter W. Flint explains,

The number of biblical scrolls available to scholars is 270, comprising 252 from Qumran and 18 from other sites… The grand total of biblical scrolls is 318, of which about 300 were most likely found at Qumran. About 48 (perhaps a few less scrolls are held by private parties and will most likely be ‘on the market’ in future years. (p. 74)

About 750 of the 1,050 Qumran scrolls are non-biblical. The scrolls discovered at Wadi Murabbaʿat are mixed bag, most of those at Naḥal Ḥever are “letters and legal documents of the second century,” and at Masada 8 of the 15 scroll fragments are non-biblical (see Flint, p. 9).

“Sectarian Scrolls”

The non-biblical scrolls are sometimes further divided into sectarian and non-sectarian scrolls. Flint states,

At least half of the nonbiblical scrolls, probably more, represent texts composed by the Essene (Yahad) movement. Containing the movement’s ideology or distinctive language, these are known as the sectarian scrolls… It is tempting to neatly divide the nonbiblical scrolls into sectarian and nonsectarian groupings, but in many cases this proves unworkable since identifying sectarian content and language is often not possible. (p. 105)

With this background in mind, the next post will look at which DSS texts are available in each platform.

Review of DSS Software

I have begun posting a multi-part comparative review of Dead Sea Scrolls resources in Logos, BibleWorks, Accordance, and Brill’s Dead Sea Scrolls Electronic Library. The current plan is to do 7 posts, one on each of these topics:

  1. Necessary background information
  2. Available DSS texts
  3. Interview: Ken Penner talks with Martin Abegg, the person behind all electronic DSS
  4. Displaying the texts
  5. Searching
  6. Lexica and Secondary Resources
  7. Final Thoughts and Critique

If you have any questions, suggests, or particular things you would like to see covered, feel free to let me know in the comments.

The Bible and the DSS in Logos Bible Software

For a limited time you can order an electronic edition of all three volumes of James Charlesworth’s (ed.) The Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls in Logos Bible Software for $99.95. Baylor University Press sells the hardcover edition of volume 3 for the same price. The Logos electronic edition is a great deal on a massive, high-quality collection of essays. These three volumes include over 1,200 pages of articles and almost 300 pages of bibliography and indices.
I’m frequently asked about how the Dead Sea Scrolls affect our understanding of the Bible, and this three volume set is one of the first places to which I point people. I’ll note just a couple articles from each volume. Volume 1 is subtitled “Scripture and the Scrolls.” If you are interested in the relationship between the DSS and the text of the OT, this volume will be helpful.  Frank Moore Cross writes on “The Biblical Scrolls from Qumran and the Canonical Text,” Sidnie White Crawford on “The Rewritten Bible at Qumran,” and J. J. M. Roberts has a very helpful article on “The Importance of Isaiah at Qumran.”

Volume 2, “The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Qumran Community,” focuses on the content of the Scrolls themselves and ways in which the Scrolls contribute to our understanding of the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha. These articles cover important themes in the Scrolls such as the “two spirits” (John R. Levinson), dualism (Elisha Qimron), the Qumran understanding of “messiah” (John J. Collins), “covenant” (Moshe Weinfeld), the liturgical calendar (Shemaryahu Talmon), etc.

Volume 3 moves to “The Scrolls and Christian Origins.” Charlesworth discusses the thorny issues of the relationship between the DSS and John the Baptist. He concludes, somewhat provocatively,

There seems no reason to doubt that the Baptizer adopted at least some of the teachings of the Qumranites. He probably inherited at least the interpretation of Isa 40:3, the concept of the Holy Spirit, a belief in the impending doom of the end of time, and the concept of the lost as a brood of vipers. (35)

Adela Yarbro Collins writes about “The Dream of a New Jerusalem at Qumran,” and Craig A. Evans surveys issues related to “The Synoptic Gospels and the Dead Sea Scrolls.” This highlights just a fraction of the contents, but as you can see the contributors are major players in their respective fields.

I do not prefer to read monographs in a digital format, (unless the price is too good to pass up). Reference works and collections of articles are a different story. It is not too difficult to read 20 pages at a time on a computer screen, and the benefit of having easy access to your books far outweighs the disadvantages of reading e-books. The key factor determining how often I use a book is accessibility. In the Logos version of The Bible and Dead Sea Scroll the references to Scripture and the Scrolls will be hyperlinked and the full text of each volume will be easily searchable.

FYI: Logos also sells the handy two volume Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition (Martínez and Tigchelaar), which includes both transcriptions and translations of the non-biblical texts.

Electronic Göttingen LXX On Sale

This sale is quite a deal. On Friday, 2/8/13, International Septuagint Day, Logos’s electronic Göttingen LXX will be available for $369. Use the coupon code LXXDay2013 at checkout. Every published volume is included. Even if you do not have a Logos base package, this is the sort of resource that would be worth purchasing as a stand alone product. Abram has the scoop. See his blog for a very nice review of the electronic version of the Göttingen LXX  in Logos and Accordance.
My Göttingen Logos Layout

Here is a screen shot illustrating how the Göttingen text and apparatuses can be displayed alongside BHS (click the images to zoom in):

Gottingen Layout
Gottingen Layout

In this layout, the Göttingen text is linked to both the apparatuses and the BHS text (notice the little orange and white “A” in the top left corner of each window). If I type in a verse reference (e.g. Gen 1:1) and hit enter, each window automatically jumps to that passage, even if it is in different Göttingen volume. For example in the screen shot above, I am in Isaiah 1:1. When I type in Genesis 1:1 and hit enter, this is what I see:

Gottingen Layout II
Gottingen Layout II

The Göttingen text and apparatuses immediately moved from Ziegler’s Isaiah volume to Wevers’ Genesis volume.  This is one of the many advantages of the electronic edition–seamless navigation through the entire series.

Fall 2011 in Review


Thursday morning I handed in my last assignment of the semester.

This was my first semester in the Old Testament PhD program at SBTS.  This program requires a couple years of class work before one starts writing. Halfway through the semester, I thought I might never write this post. Thank the Lord for helping me to persevere. A much needed “break” is now underway.

I participated in 4 seminars:

Graduate Research Seminar

Instructors: David Puckett, Marsha Omanson, Daniel Patterson, Paul Roberts

This was a three-day seminar at the very beginning of the semester in which we discussed research methods and the basic elements of communicating clearly in print. I posted about this earlier.


Instructor: Peter Gentry

This semester long seminar was a doozy–much work but extremely rewarding. Before the seminar began, we were to read and write reviews of three introductions to to the Septuagint. I chose the following:

  • Karen H. Jobes and Moisés Silva, Invitation to the Septuagint (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2000).
  • Natalio Fernández Marcos, The Septuagint in Context: Introduction to the Greek Version of the Bible (Society of Biblical Literature, 2009).
  • Jennifer Mary Dines, The Septuagint (T&T Clark, 2004).

As a class, we read Ecclesiastes 1-7 and Proverbs 1-5, comparing the MT and LXX line for line. It was very interesting to see the radically different translation techniques between the translator of Ecclesiastes and the translator of Proverbs.

As an introduction to papyrology, we worked through a couple Greek papyrus manuscripts of Psalms 36-37. It certainly took some getting used to, but within a week of working with the script, it wasn’t too difficult to make out.

Next, we spent some time learning to read the Göttingen apparatus, which initially seemed as enigmatic than the lacunae filled byzantine papyri. I used Logos’s Göttingen editions. I’m very happy to have the Logos electronic editions, but I did find several typos compared to the print editions. Also, I discovered that the Logos editions do not include the Kopfleiste. That’s a bummer, but I let Logos know that it’s missing, and they are suppose to be checking into this.

Finally, we got to spend some time in the collation books of Ecclesiastes, constructing an apparatus ourselves. Of all the cryptic documents we read this semester, none was more difficult to interpret than the collation books. Difficult, but not impossible. The class worked together well. To the people we sat beside in local coffee shops, as we worked together to get ready for class each day, I’m sure we sounded like we were speaking a foreign language (which we were part of the time!). It was such a blessing to walk through this material with Dr. Gentry. I’m so thankful for all the hard work he does for his students.

For the final project of this seminar, we were to turn in a paper elucidating some aspect of the translation technique in either LXX Ecclesiastes or Proverbs. In my paper, I tried to collect and discuss all the places in Ecclesiastes where the LXX translator clarified the Hebrew syntax. This meant reading the Hebrew and Greek of Ecclesiastes multiple times and taking copious notes. We’ll see how the paper turned out when I get it back from Dr. Gentry in the coming weeks.

UPDATE 7/19/12: I posted my paper here.


Instructor: Russell Fuller

This “seminar” was actually three classes packed into one. We went through all of Dr. Fuller’s notes on Aramaic grammar and read all the Aramaic in the Bible. Dr. Fuller’s approach to teaching semitic languages stresses morphology and the ability to create, not just parse, the forms. For me, this class was much more difficult than I expected. I’m thankful for it, but I’ve still got a lot of work to do if I’m going to be able to sight read biblical Aramaic. Most of my December and January will be spent working on this.  Next semester I look forward to taking targumic Aramaic with Dr. Fuller.

Here are the places in the Old Testament that are written in Aramaic: Genesis 31:47 (two words); Jeremiah 10:11; Daniel 2:4b-7:28; and Ezra 4:8-6:18; 7:12-26.

Old Testament Colloquium

Instructor: T.J. Betts

We met for a one full day, 9am-4pm, to discuss the Messiah in the Old Testament. Each of the Old Testament students took turns presenting one scholar’s view on the topic. I presented Michael Bird‘s take on messianisms in the Old Testament, based on his fantastic little bookAre You the One Who Is to Come?: The Historical Jesus and the Messianic Question.

One of the best memories of the whole semester was getting to listen to Jim Hamilton (For His Renown) and Peter Gentry “duke it out” over lunch. They had a lively debate over one particular aspect of Old Testament messianisms. I suspect the whole thing was staged for the benefit of the students sitting around them. I won’t soon forget that lunch.

Until Next Semester

The break has officially begun. Between now and the middle of January,  I will be reading as much Hebrew and Aramaic as I can and reading Miles Van Pelt’s grammars (Hebrew and Aramaic). A wise man once said, “the better one internalizes the fundamentals, the less stress one encounters in reading the text.”

I thoroughly enjoyed the Fall semester and look forward to several more.