A small group of scrolls written in cryptic script stands out among the corpus of Qumran scrolls. These scrolls – some on parchment and some on papyrus – are highly fragmentary and difficult to read, with hundreds of tiny fragments preserving a few letters each.
Several codes are known, the most common of them designated ‘cryptic A’. This code was cracked by J.T. Milik in the 1950's, and most scrolls were initially read and published by Stephen Pfann in the 1990's. Several scrolls remain unpublished until this very day.
At the University of Haifa we run a project of re-reading the cryptic scrolls towards a new edition. The reading is based on new images of the scrolls, on advanced digital methods, as well as on new material reconstructions of the scrolls. The project is supported by the Israel Science Foundation. Collaborators are Prof. Nachum Dershowitz (Computer Science, Tel Aviv University) and Prof. Daniel Stökl Ben Ezra (EPHE, Sorbonne, Paris).