Thou shalt net: The Ten Commandments go digital

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DIGITAL versions of some of the most significant religious manuscripts in the world – including a 2,000-year-old copy of the Ten Commandments – have been released for the first time by Cambridge University.

It has published the documents through its digital library, which aims to make 25,000 historically important images freely available.

The latest release focuses on faith traditions – including important texts from Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism.

Academics say many of the manuscripts being made available are also of great political, cultural and historical importance.

The new additions include the Nash Papyrus – fragments of the commandments – and the Codex Bezae, a remarkable ancient copy of the New Testament.

A £1.5m gift from the Polonsky Foundation in 2010 has helped to meet the cost of the digital library.

University librarian Anne Jarvis said: “Cambridge University library preserves works of great importance to faith traditions and communities around the world.

“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.

“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.”